It seems as if Apple has given all it’s current user base their Christmas present this morning because they sent down the tubes (Software Update and the Support Website) the next iteration of Mac OS X Leopard, 10.5.6. The update is anywhere from 190 MB to 372 MB depending on the configuration of your Mac. There is a whole slew of updated components and areas in those components:
Address Book: Improves reliability of Address Book syncing with iPhone and other devices and applications.
Airport: Improves the reliability of AirPort connections, including improvements when roaming in large wireless networks with an Intel-based Mac.
iChat: Setting your iChat status to “invisible” via AppleScript no longer logs you out of iChat. Addresses an issue that could cause an encryption alert to appear in the chat window.
Graphics: Includes graphics improvements for iChat, Cover Flow, Aperture, and iTunes.
Mail: Addresses an issue that could prevent Mail from quitting.
MobileMe: Contacts, calendars, and bookmarks on a Mac automatically sync within a minute of the change being made on the computer, another device, or the web at me.com.
Networking: Updates the ssh Terminal command for compatibility with more ssh servers. Improves reliability and performance for AT&T 3G cards.
Time Machine: Fixes issues that could cause Time Machine to state the backup volume could not be found. Improves Time Machine reliability with Time Capsule.
Safari: Improves compatibility with web proxy servers.
General: Addresses inaccuracies with Calculator when the Mac OS X language is set to German or Swiss German. Improves the performance and reliability of Chess. Improves DVD Player performance and reliability. Performance improvements for iCal are included. Adds a Trackpad System Preference pane for all portable Macs. Improves compatibility with smart cards such as the U.S. Department of Defense Common Access Card. Updates time zone data and Daylight Saving Time rules for several countries.
If you happen to want a more comprehensive list than above take a look at Apple’s Knowledge Base Article on the update. This update does coincide well with Christmas, so feel free to download it and not install it until Christmas morning. One way or the other installing it now is highly unadvised. Though, if you do decide to throw your Mac into 10.5.6 at least have your data backed up first. Also, for those that are forced to remain with Tiger, a security update has been released to you guys that provides your Macs with the security content from 10.5.6. Enjoy, Alex.
Update: There are a few visible changes that I have noticed in the past day that I feel are worth noting. First, though hinted above, there is now a Trackpad prefpane on all portable Macs. Second, the battery power settings (Better Battery Performance, Custom, etc.) are no longer in the Battery menu item. Third, Apple seems to have removed the extra (hidden) toolbar items in Screen Sharing. Fourth, the partitioned drive dialog in Finder is now gone.