How Does Apple's 'Panther' Stack Up?

Sure, it's not Windows. But some say Apple's paving the way for where Microsoft will go with its 'Longhorn' client in 2005. We run down the feature list and interface look and feel to find out.

Panther boasts a redesigned Finder interface aimed at simplifying file access. This version of the interface includes a number of elements initiated in Apple's iTunes music software.

Finder windows take on an appearance similar to iTunes, complete with brushed-metal motif. The left side of the new Finder window is occupied by a Places sidebar, which provides shortcuts to storage and servers, as well as iDisks, volumes on Apple's remote storage service. The lower portion of the Places sidebar serves as a customizable launcher for folders and documents and applications. When the new Finder window is resized to smaller dimensions, the sidebar scales dynamically.

While the new layout is a dramatic change, users can choose to remove the sidebar and revert to the classic format by clicking a button at the upper-right of the window. However, the new interface is consistent throughout the system, appearing in Open and Save dialog boxes.

In addition, Finder windows gain the Action button, which brings up contextual menus for files and folders, a function currently available via a key combination.

View: View Full Review and screenshots of Panther

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