Apple hasn't exactly paid a ton of attention to Mac OS X since the iPhone came out. There, I said it.

This was obvious even in the lead-up to Leopard in 2007, when Apple delayed that OS's release from a spring timeframe to October so that they could get the iPhone out the door. Since then, we've gotten Snow Leopard (a "no new features" release that did a lot to optimize the platform at the expense of aging PowerPC Macs) and a long string of point updates that have done plenty to polish the OS but not much to advance it. Using OS X today is fundamentally much the same as it was four years ago, though we're doing it on hardware that's four years faster.

 

Lion, originally unveiled in October of 2010, is Apple's attempt to get "back to the Mac," which when translated from Apple into English means that the company wanted to port some ideas and some functionality from iOS into OS X, which parallels iOS's journey from a touch-driven iPod interface to an increasingly OS X-flavored standalone OS. With Lion, Apple wants to do for its Mac software what it did for its Mac hardware with the MacBook Air - bring concepts people like in tablets to full-featured computers.

One of our goals with a Lion review, then, is to separate the actual useful features from the fluff - what has OS X borrowed from iOS, and does it really improve and make sense for the platform? What functionality feels grafted-on, and what feels like it's been missing from the platform for years?

Another important goal will be to determine the direction in which Lion moves the platform, because new OS X releases tend to be messages just as much as operating systems: Leopard, with its two-and-a-half-year development cycle, told people that OS X's fast-paced, sometimes chaotic early phase was officially over. Snow Leopard told PowerPC users to get with the times or get off the train (or, to put it positively, that Intel was the future and that developers needed to take fuller advantage of the architecture's strengths).

So what is Lion trying to tell us? Read on and find out.

Installation
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  • VMFnet - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I just installed Lion on a OCZ Vertex2 SSD and it still doesn't support TRIM. I guess support for this feature is limited to stock Apple SSDs only. Reply
  • Sapan - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the reply. It is a shame that there still is no TRIM support.

    In the mean time I would recommend checking out a 3rd party program called TRIM Enabler:
    http://www.groths.org/?page_id=322

    Though the program is designed for Snow Leopard it works for Lion, but they are making a new version for Lion.
    Reply
  • mdlam - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I love how these diehard Apple fans are trying to resolve their discomforting feelings of exorbitant expenditure to Apple by

    A: Unreasonably denigrating other competitive alternatives.
    B: Exaggerating the usefulness of certain proprietary tools.
    C: Empathizing with the company's goals/missions/values

    All to resolve the realization that they are paying more money than what they are getting, which is...

    A totally outdated OS made to look streamline
    A pretty cool looking computer that uses tunnel fans (which are extremely loud) and likes to overheat.
    I used Snow Leopard on my Mac Mini for about 2 months and hated it. I think people force themselves to like OSX just because their laptop looks cool.
    Horrible graphics speeds. Their BEST video card that you can fit into a their $4500 Mac Pro, is a ATI 6500 series, which is like a 100 dollar card, and offers pathetic performance for gaming--I had a 6950 2gb and that was barely enough. You can argue that Mac pro's should be used for graphics design and other things and not gaming. If that's the case I don't see why they don't put a FireGL or other designer cards in. In any case, who buys a $4500 computer that comes with a bullcrap video card? Some people are IDIOTS.
    Reply
  • mdlam - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Edit: A $170 dollar video card, 6870 1gb...Which is a complete piece of garbage card that is 30% slower than the 5970 1gb. Guess how much the upgrade is? $200.

    Post is based off of cognitive dissonance theory
    Reply
  • parlour - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    Macs don’t seem to be the right choice for you. That’s alright. Just don’t claim that everyone else has the same needs as you. Reply
  • sjinsjca - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    The test with the SSD is intriguing but there's a possibility that the FileVault performance hit might be less in the case of a conventional hard disk.

    Reason: hard disks are slower than SSDs, so there would be more idle states in which the OS could be performing encryption/decryption tasks.

    Worth a spot-check.
    Reply
  • EnerJi - Sunday, July 24, 2011 - link

    That's a great point. I'd also love to know if the performance impact decreases with an HDD. Reply
  • johnmacward - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    What annoys me is the fact that the recovery partition doesn't keep a copy of the Lion installer for instant re-installation - and with a bit of Apple magic even a copy that updates as the OS updates.

    A download each time is a possibly expensive prospect considering we all have data caps of some kind.

    It also turns a reinstall into a shockingly long 4 hour job which is a major pain.
    Reply
  • luca108 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Small detail, but in the review you said you could only launch Launchpad by clicking the dock icon or using spotlight, but you can also set it as a hot corner. This is what I personally do... top left corner set for Launchpad and I can quickly get in and out of it to find my apps and utilities.

    I'm not suggesting it's quicker than using an apps stack on the dock... actually, its the exact same. But it definitely is faster than clicking the Launchpad dock icon or using spotlight to launch it.
    Reply
  • Thrakazog - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know if Lion extended trim support to 3rd party SSD's, instead of only the ones apple provides ? Reply

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