Apple has discussed the 300 new features within its new operating system, but what's more critical about it is the power it hides under its hood, underlying software code that's dying to be used by third party developers.

Wired News' Leander Kahney this morning speculates at what the future of Mac development will be, as developers look at Leopard's powerful underlying features, such as Core Animation.

Core Animation makes it easy to create flashy, animated 3D interfaces. Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster told Wired: "The revolution coming with Core Animation is akin to the one that came from the original Mac in 1984. We're going to see a whole new world of user-interface metaphors with Core Animation."

Kahney observes that these developments will make simple Menu-driven commands such as Print or Save more akin to elements on the screen - the future of the Mac platform is in applications which behave like they were video games, in which users manipulate on-screen objects to make things happen.

These new interface rules are already expressed within products such as the iPhone and the iPod touch.

"At minimum, Core Animation will help Mac programmers create the kind of fluid, interactive interfaces that already abound in Leopard - from the time-tunnel effect in Leopard's Time Machine backup app to the ripples created when new Widgets are added to the Dashboard," writes Kahney.

He predicts developers will be able to create animated menus for handling their applications - you'll be able to summon translucent menus offering features presently found within contextual menus with a single mouse-click, he reckons.

The move to create animated applications may even drive Apple to return to the single button mouse design it has always championed - as there'll be no need for right clicks in an animated environment, potentially.

"Core Animation will enable programmers to create simple, intuitive interfaces that will make direct manipulation possible on the desktop," he explains.