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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  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Apple has recognized the money maker it has with its App Store (Or can we now call this an application store). I'm not a mac user and most likely never will be, but I have to say their business model works very well for squeezing income from every corner of their empire. The IOS app store has been a huge money maker (30% of every purchase adds up quickly) and now Apple is moving the same business model to its computers. Apple does have a tendancey to repackage and sell its products in various versions, but with the same underlying technology (develop once, repackage multiple times). True to form, all the apple fans will swarm around and gladly deposit their coin into the machine. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Realistically, They should give away their OS to invite more users, who will then shop their true money maker....the app store. Kinda like a drug dealer would give the first taste for free. :-) Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer has already said they operate the App Store as a break even venture, ie. their 30% cut basically goes directly to operating expenses. Unless you believe their CFO is actually lying to investors at shareholder meetings in which case you should report this and your evidence to the SEC. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    $1,634,000,000 in revenue from Other Music Related Products and Services (3)

    (3) Includes sales from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore in addition to sales of iPod services and Apple-branded and third-party iPod accessories

    Lets not be too naive.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    The App Store no doubt generates revenue for Apple, but how much profit do they actually make? Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Please educate yourself. As much as you might think it, yuo aren't smarter than the SEC. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I think ALL investors are looking for profits, and if Apple happens to turn a profit through their iTunes store (whoops), do you really think the investors will be angry about the white lie? Reply
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Accountants can paint a revenue picture to look any way they want it to. Look no further than "Hollywood Accounting" in the movie industry. Don't take that break even comment at face value. Reply
  • parlour - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    I would call up the SEC and tell them about your great insight. If what you are saying is true Apple is in deep, deep trouble.

    In reality it would be stupid for Apple’s CFO to lie about something like that, not worth the trouble at all.
    Reply
  • Puppies04 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    $1,634,000,000 just to break even! Sheesh that is some massive overhead. Reply

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