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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  • ebolamonkey3 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Well, since Apple retains 30% of the App price, I'm not sure if that figure above is talking about the total amount that customers have spent buying songs and apps, or if that's Apple's revenue (ie: 30% cut) of the pie. Reply
  • PreOmegaZero - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Microsoft names the OS versions as such (6.0 vs 6.1) because changing it to 7.0 (like they admit they should have done) broke many older apps/installers that did OS version detection.
    So the version numbering is simply from a compatibility standpoint.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    These aren't service packs. Its a silly comment which tells us you either don't know what a service pack (which is a Microsoft term for Microsoft software) actually contains or you didn't read this review. Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Service packs? Apple uses actual version numbers, but in the past few years - they've only been patching Snow Leopard.

    The difference in XP SP1 / SP2 / SP3 is bug fixes, security patches and a few things here and there, but feature wise, no difference. XP-Home/Pro are visually different than XP-MCE (Which is XP Pro with a nice visual face lift but with VPN ripped out).

    I think Apple charges like $50 for a 5 user license upgrade... much better than the lame Win7 (Vista and XP) charging $100 for an upgrade disk which is messy when it comes to a clean install.
    Reply
  • anactoraaron - Sunday, July 24, 2011 - link

    "much better than the lame Win7 (Vista and XP) charging $100 for an upgrade disk which is messy when it comes to a clean install."

    You have no clue about which you speak. Win7 upgrades/clean installs are simple for even the simplest minds-present party excluded apparently.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    An improvement? Uhh, you are aware that Snow Leopard ALSO sold for $29?

    The more interesting points you should be making are that:

    - $29 gets you the right to install the OS on EVERY mac you own. It's right there in the TOS. For most people this won't matter much, but for those with a desktop machine, a laptop and a HTPC, it's rather cool.

    - and you get the right to virtualize two instances, if you care

    - and note the conspicuous absence of any sort of DRM covering the OS, not to mention the home/home mini/pro/ real pro/enterprise/super singing & dancing version crap that MS offers up.

    (And, BTW, you get the Dev Tools for free. They were $5 in SL, but I think they've dropped to $0 with Lion.
    As far as I know, Dev Studio is not free, not close.)
    Reply
  • ATimson - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Assuming that by "Dev Studio" you mean "Microsoft Visual Studio", yes, they have a fully-functional free version. Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    How come when I go to

    http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/en_US/...

    I see a bunch of different prices, from $3,800 to $400, but no $0?

    I'm not being pissy, I really want to understand what is going on here.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    How can you buy something that's free?

    http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/en-us/produc...
    Reply
  • kosmatos - Monday, November 04, 2013 - link

    It's 2013 now, and you were spot on, quicksilvr. Reply

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