New operating systems often mean new i18n toys to play with and even through the upgrade from Apple 10.5 (Leopard) to 10.5 (Snow Leopard) is not supposed to be full of new features, there are, in fact, new features scheduled for the upgrade.

According to the Apple Snow Leopard Enhancement page, 10.6 will include:

  • Redesign of Pinyin Chinese input with faster speed and enhanced dictionary
  • Improvements to handwritten Chinese input
  • New Asian fonts – Heiti SC, Heiti TC, Hiragino Sans B.
  • New generic monospace font Menlo to be used in applications such as Terminal
  • Enhanced RTL support including split cursor option to show text direction in documents with bidirectional text
  • General Text substitution (e.g. (c) to ©) across applications. Could be handy for a lot of situations when you need to enter an unusual symbol. This already exists in Microsoft Office (Mac/PC).

But I almost missed the big one – the International pane in the System Preferences has been redesigned and will now be the Language and Text pane, presumably with more features. There may be other enhancements in the works that are too minor to be announced (or at least too minor for most people), but there may be more things to find out.

How will they work? Alas, no details from Apple yet. I guess we won’t know until we know….

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