Now that we've talked a bit about how things look in general, let's talk a bit more about the Finder specifically.

My first impression of the Finder was that it had lost some weight - Finder windows, in general, can now show the same amount or more using the same number of pixels, though that does come at the expense of some functionality. The arrangement and spacing of the left sidebar has been adjusted to take up less space than before, which is especially welcome on 11” and 13” Macs. Note that the Devices field now shows up at the bottom of the list instead of the top, another small step toward obscuring the filesystem (and, as well, steering newbie users away from just dumping everything on the desktop or the root of their drive).

Finder windows also shed some pixels (and, yes, I’m going to harp on this some more, downplay the notion of “files” and “disk space”) by removing the bottom toolbar by default - the one that shows the number of items in a given folder and the amount of disk space remaining on the volume, along with the slider that allows users to easily change the size of the icons. Thankfully, those who miss these features can switch them back on by opting to “Show Toolbar” up in the View menu.

Also missing is the button in the upper right-hand corner that would invoke icon-only view - those of you who use it will have to become acquainted with Alt+Command+T, a keyboard shortcut that toggles this change.

The default view when you open up a new Finder window now is called “All My Files,” which uses Spotlight’s file indexing to show you all files of a certain type no matter where they are on your hard drive - this is similar to Windows 7’s Libraries in that it groups your files together in one place without actually altering the fundamental directory structure (i.e., documents show up in All My Files, but they're still physically stored in the Documents folder).

 

All My Files is organized by rows, and by default, you’ll be shown just the first few files of a given type in each row - clicking on the left and right-hand side of the row will allow you to navigate through the files, and you can also click “show all” to see your icons tiled in a more traditional Finder view.

Snow Leopard introduced the ability to thumb through multi-page documents, PDFs, and presentations, and Lion further enhances that functionality by adding a full screen mode to Quick Look (which is still invoked by selecting a file and hitting the spacebar).

Finally, Finder gains some abilities that Windows Explorer has had, like, forever: the ability to merge two folders of the same name, and the ability to keep two files of the same name during a copy operation by renaming one of them. It's boring stuff and Windows has done it for years, but that doesn't make me appreciate it less now that Apple has finally implemented it.

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  • steven75 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    "The fact is Windows/Office is really only expensive if you are building your own computers and installing your own OS"

    You seem to be implying that Office comes free with a pre-built computer when it in fact doesn't ever.
    Reply
  • anactoraaron - Sunday, July 24, 2011 - link

    wrong. I know I shouldn't feed the trolls but when office 2010 came out my local office depot (and likely every office depot) had at least one pc with the full version of office 2010 on it. It was some kind of promotion they ran for about 2 weeks. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Apart from the new animations in Safari, is performance improved any? Any word of it getting GPU acceleration? Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    My experience was that it ran the IE Paintball demo 25% faster, and the end result showed no visual artifacts. So, an improvement on 5.0, but still nothing like the HW acceleration performance of IE.

    On the other hand, I've yet to encounter a site (apart from the IE demos) where this actually matters...
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Oh, it also, if you care, has elementary support for MathML. To be honest, however, the support is REALLY limited. The typography looks like crap, and anything even slightly fancy looks even worse --- eg long bars over symbols, large surds, etc. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks. Yeah, its GPU acceleration doesn't seem as expansive still as other browsers, judging by canned benchmarks I've run it through. IE9 and FF5 are still far ahead in GPU acceleration, Chrome and Opera are getting there, Safari 5.1 is still last. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I think it's pretty unfair to compare Windows full-screening to Lion's. Full screening in Windows is not a feature at all IMO, it is the equivalent of dragging the window size out to the size of the screen. You do not gain any functionality whatsoever (usually just a lot of empty space, which was never in Apple's radar before). This kind of full-screen functionality has been present in OS X long before Lion, though it was often more manual, having to drag the window size out.

    But as you say, Apple has added functionality and it's become it's own separate feature. I think the comparison is pointless.
    Reply
  • SmCaudata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    True full-screen in Windows only happens with games, certain video players, and select other apps. I personally so no use for full-screen for most computer applications.

    Also, the comparison is valid because even in those areas where Windows does use full-screen, the other display still works. I can have a full-screen movie on one monitor while I do whatever I want on the other.

    I really fail to see how Apple's implementation has "added functionality" that didn't exist in other OSes before. The article talks about using gestures instead of minimization... isn't that what Alt+Tab and Win+tab already did?

    There are certain things that Apple does do well. Their dock was something that MS obviously took inspiration from for W7. This implementation of full-screen seemed pretty limited IMO.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    I suspect that the multi-screen hiccups with full-screen are purely temporary.
    We have seen problems like this before --- for example when multi-user GUI support (the rotating cube thing, to allow new users to log in to a mac) was first added, it didn't take long to discover that various iLife apps didn't behave properly. (I forget the details, but I think both iTunes and iPhoto wouldn't launch for the new user.)

    It's one of the drawbacks of Apple being so secretive, even internally, that you get these sorts of crossed signals. But the issues usually get fixed, and if they are very visible, they usually get fixed soon.

    I'd say, right now, the appropriate response is to assume this is a screwup, not go into conspiracy theory mode about how this is a plot by Apple to eventually remove multi-screen support.
    Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    LOL. As if a company spearheading Thunderbolt would aim to remove multi-screen support. Reply

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