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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  • grahamperrin - Thursday, July 28, 2011 - link

    Primarily FAO the AnandTech reviewers

    Thank you for a very timely and useful review of FileVault 2.

    The following microblog conversation links to an overview (work in progress) with some unanswered questions. Comments will be greatly appreciated.

    http://identi.ca/conversation/77065575#notice-7963...

    — OpenID enabled, I will welcome contributions in the Identi.ca area.
    Reply
  • nardreiko - Tuesday, August 02, 2011 - link

    And it is a big problem!

    The removal of Expose and Rosetta are big reasons not to "upgrade" for me both now and for the foreseeable future.

    A lot of other things are clunky or ugly or annoying (like the inability to control scrolling speed in System Preferences) ... but those are minor reasons not to "upgrade".

    This was a tough review to do, and I love Anandtech, but I think you guys skimmed over some very important negatives. I don't know a single person who is not an Apple employee or stock owner who claims to really like Lion ... come to think of it I haven't yet met an employee who really likes it, so it is pretty much stock owners who are saying it is an upgrade-without-quotation-marks. Although a lot of employees do genuine like the full-screen mode.
    Reply
  • tomeg - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    nardreiko said:
    "I don't know a single person who is not an Apple employee or stock owner who claims to really like Lion ... come to think of it I haven't yet met an employee who really likes it, so it is pretty much stock owners who are saying it is an upgrade-without-quotation-marks. Although a lot of employees do genuine like the full-screen mode."

    tomeg replies:
    I have a circle of nearly 200 fellow Mac users—real, (mostly) unbiased, not-at-all picky or ego-inflated (I'm not suggesting that you are), everyday-if-not-hour-intensive Mac users—and our experience has been 95% positive or enthusiastic. Some are disappointed with the loss of or change to this or that, as am I, and we have to adjust, go As The Mac OS Turns, but not one isn't glad they upgraded. Any OS must continue to be evolutionary or die. Some things go, others stay, but the overall progress is forward. I will take Lion over Windows 7 hands down this or any day. Windows has its features and (of course) fans but I'm not buying, now or ever, unless something goes massively wrong with current OS development.
    Reply
  • bjoff - Sunday, September 04, 2011 - link

    Thanks for an enlightening test! One thing I wish you had tested was the time to wake from sleep. On my macbook air (with very similar specs to your setup), it seems that waking from sleep takes a couple of seconds more with FileVault enabled. This is pretty significant when you are used to the very quick waking of Apple products... Reply
  • raygos - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    The reviewer complains that Resume can be annoying for the likes of him/her when a clean slate is desired. He/she writes: "I found myself pressing command-W a bunch of times to close windows before I'd press command-Q to quit the program." There is, of course, the shortcut command-option-W to close all open windows in the active application. For mousers, press option while clicking the red "close window" button does the same thing. Gotta save those clicks! Reply
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  • dtalari - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    I am a work-study at a college and we recently bought a bunch of IMACS to make an IMAC Labs for all the students. We also have a few for the staff. We had Snow Leopard installed initially and we were able to connect perfectly fine to all of the servers within our network,however since our implementation of lion the servers don't show up under the shared tab in the finder automatically like before. The computers on the network show up but not the servers. Anyone have any ideas as to why? I figured it has something to do with samba not being implemented as it was in Snow Leopard? Is there any easy way to change a setting? Or do I have to manually add each server to each computer?
    Thanks
    Reply

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