Keeping in with its two-year release cycle, the new version of Mac OS X takes the operating system into a new direction. It involves them getting their thinking from iOS devices, and bringing it to the Mac. A compelling reason for Apple to do so isn’t clear, so Apple is gambling on the future of graphical user interfaces, as point and click interfaces are waning in usage in favour for flick and swipe interfaces. Of course Apple can’t scrap the Mac, but they can bring some of their iOS features to the Mac.
So here a roundup of the new features.
- Multi touch gestures (Yes I know Snow Leopard already had them, but these are iOS ones.)
- Full screen applications.
- Mac App Store
- Mission control (An Exposé alternative that combines full screen apps, Dashboard, Exposé, and Spaces into one screen. It also looks Lion-esque.)
- Launchpad (A grid of applications reminiscent of iOS)
- Resume (Appliations you close will re-open from where they left off.)
- Auto-save (Auto-save enabled applications to make files and applications state-less. Let me tell you auto-save in FCPX is dreadful and needs disabling from the Prefences.)
- Versions (Keeping a history of your documents through various snapshots in time.)
- Airdrop (Apple’s propretairy Bluetooth alternative. The less said about it, the better, much like FaceTime instead of the standardised widespread video calling protocol.)
- Mail and Lion Server (New versions.)
I’m not going to review Lion, and if I was, I would say that it’s rubbish and not worth the upgrade. Lion is like Reason 5 and Office 2010, features you don’t need, with an expensive price tag. Mac OS X isn’t expensive, so that helps; but then again, Apple doesn’t make money from selling software.
About the new features of Lion, it isn’t so much about what the new features are, but more about what they mean. Lion marks a new era in computing where the way us consumers interact with our computer programs change. It’s not something we need today, but it’s something that we will need tomorrow.
Is Lion ahead of its time, or is it making a move we won’t ever need? I would agree with the former, because the way we are using computers is changing. Back in the 1990s, we used desktop applications and actually surfed the world wide web. Nowadays 90% of people don’t have any favourites, as found out by the IE9 team, and people are being locked into task-centric websites such as Facebook. I believe that Apple has got it all right and that Microsoft has got it all wrong in that aspect, even though Microsoft is right to include a touch interface into Windows 7 instead of a Windows Slate OS.
There will be in the future an interface which most consumers will see on their computers, and one that power users will see, but as Apple doesn’t try to mask the two interfaces, Apple is doing everything right from a usability aspect. Microsoft is right to bundle a touch interface into Windows 8, because they don’t have any other compelling reasons to make you buy Windows 8. Here’s a comment I posted on Techcrunch for a Mac OS X Lion review, to end the post.
I’m not a fanboy, but it’s amazing that despite Apple’s quick OS release cycle, that they STILL manage to make compelling new features to make you upgrade. Windows 7 has gotten to the point that Microsoft cannot add any new features to it, because it’s so good with no shortcomings.
For some strange reason, Apple can add new features to their products that people want even if they are good and adequate. That’s why Windows 8 has a touch Metro tablet interface. Take away the touch interface from Windows 8, and what else is there? Nothing. That’s what I thought.
Whereas Apple adds crappy features into Lion that people shoudn’t care about, and you’ll still go out to buy it. That’s Apple at its finest.