Apple recently seeded Select and Premier level developers with a new build of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the first substantial revision released to developers since Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in early August. The build, 9A283, shows the maturity the operating system has reached since the first build, 9A241, arrived in developers' hands more than two months ago. Build 9A283 offers no significant features that have not already been documented by Apple. Many applications and components of Mac OS X have not even been touched since build 9A283, according to their version numbers, although Mail, Safari, and iChat have seen several newer builds. Stickies sees a version bump from 5.2 to 6.0 (it's currently at 5.1 in Tiger), although nothing discernible has changed with the application, at least judging by its appearance and features.
Other minor tweaks have taken place throughout the operating system since build 9A241: iCal has finally done away with the brushed aluminum interface, for example, and the List view in the Finder now displays items on top of alternating colored lines for easier reading. A new System Preference pane has emerged, Parental Controls, allowing for far greater restrictions and controls than previous Mac OS X versions. Also new is a "Guest User" account option that makes it easy to share your Mac with friends. Similar to Safari's "Private Browsing" feature, when logging out from the Guest User account all information and settings are restored to default.
Stability is where most of the improvement can be seen in build 9A283. Whereas it was often difficult to use build 9A241 reliably on a day-to-day basis without applications crashing, the new build held up much better. New features, like Spaces, also seems to work much better now (Spaces also gets its own tab in System Preferences, instead of being a footnote to Expose). Mac OS X 10.5 is slated to ship in Spring 2007.