Steve Jobs demoed some exciting features last year that are coming in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, but one of the most fundamentally cool that might have been overlooked is Core Animation. While it certainly isn't quite a feature that us end users can directly click on and use, it is an entirely new set of user interface paradigms and tools Apple has developed for 3rd parties to build into their apps (i.e. - stuff we will be able to see, click and and say 'wow' to). Since Apple has been putting developer builds into the hands of people that need them, some of the most notable of these devs have announced Leopard-only versions of their apps, including Allan Odgaard (TextMate), Wil Shipley (Delicious Library) and Gus Mueller (FlySketch and also VoodooPad). Citing various reasons for going Leopard-only, Core Animation has remained one of the constant but underestimated factors for diving into Leopard and not looking back.
To help explain more of just what is so interesting in Core Animation, Wired's Scott Gilbertson has just written up a great piece elaborating a bit more on just how much Core Animation will change how user interfaces in both Mac OS X and 3rd party apps are thought about and designed. Gilbertson includes a few choice quotes from notable 3rd party developers, and even manages to point out that, in a few ways, the so-called 'Delicious Generation' might have been a little ahead of their time by experimenting with animation and new forms of UI.
Gilbertson's article is a great read for anyone who can't wait until Monday to get another peek into how much potential Leopard holds for changing the face of computing and user interfaces as we know them.