We already knew that Leopard would be a major new OS release for Apple in the visual sense with Core Animation, much as Tiger was with Quartz Composer, Core Video, and Core Image. We should know a lot more at Apple’s developer conference in June. There are some additional details in Apple’s latest WWDC announcement, under “Leopard Innovations”:

  1. Core Animation to add elegant animations to your application interface.
  2. iChat Theater to incorporate application content in iChat.
  3. QuickLook to provide system wide previews.

Core Animation is old news, but could this mean you could add iChat streaming to an app? And system-wide previews are also badly-needed.

The “Graphics and Imaging” track will be where most of the action is:

  1. Create stunning hardware accelerated effects with Core Image.
  2. Apply powerful optimization techniques that will supercharge your application’s rendering performance.
  3. Use OpenGL Shading to harness the awesome rendering capabilities of modern GPUs.
  4. Manipulate time based media using the QT Kit API.
  5. Take advantage of the latest improvements in Core Audio.

Seems like it might not be new, but a couple of things to consider. Aside from the obvious advantage of getting Core Image graphics tips from the folks who wrote the thing, one promise of 10.5 is the addition of support for OpenGL 2.1. Hopefully new tweaks to 2.1 and possibly even NVIDIA’s Geometry Shader extension (concurrent with the addition of geometry shaders to DirectX 10) could get lip service, for you shader geeks. For those of you who aren’t shader geeks, Core Image itself, plus Quartz Composer, should get some enhancements.

I’m most interested by the mention of Core Audio, though. What’s that doing in the Graphics and Imaging track? Could this mean implementation of audio processing on the GPU, or is just coincidence? Naturally, we’ll be covering Core Audio improvements when we learn anything over on Create Digital Music.

Also of interest to visualists though not necessarily new, Apple will talk in their content track about “Automation of the entire audio and video production process using AppleScript and Compressor.” Hopefully this means there are some new automation options (though notice they mention AppleScript and not Automator).

Tickets for WWDC are available now. Any of you readers planning to go?