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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  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    that's pretty neat. It looks like it adds in a bunch of interesting features. The one trend I do see it that both mac and M$ are driving components from there mobile platforms into there desktops. I don't mind if they do this, but I still want a different feel between devices.

    As for the complaints and shouts of if its a service pack that should be free, or if its an update worth 30 bucks. On this subject I think that there is no comparison, M$ has a setup that benefits its use of massive volume licencing, but the option to pay for service packs makes sense for a company that does not dominate 90% of the market, but want to maintain more talent to add more features. I know that some people might take offense to this, but its my opinion so screw you.

    Still confused on the full screen thing, I can move between applications easily, with all of them in full screen, its called ALT+TAB, or Win+Tab, or CTRL+TAB (when you want to cycle through your web browser only. so the entire portion where he says its a advantage over win (this feature) makes me confused, then again i'm a big fan of keyboard shortcuts, so i could be missing things. I'm hoping that the full screen feature pans out. I am considering getting one, but not till they leave the OSX family. (still hate the way it came to be >.<)

    the movement away from CD is great, here's hoping that there are plans in the works for all software to be distributed like this, because... I cant remember the last time i walked into a store and asked myself what program do i need...

    Over all it was a interesting read.
    Reply
  • chenedwa - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I just installed Lion on my circa 2009 MBP 2.53GHz C2D. I then tried to download the latest Parallels update via WiFi using Firefox 8 beta and was getting phenominal transfer speeds of more than 900kB/sec for the 203MB download! Wow! Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    None of that sounds wow worthy... Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Or applicable to the article... Reply
  • ThreeDee912 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    About future support for the white MacBooks, it appears that Apple has silently discontinued them. They're nowhere to be found on the Apple Store website.

    Engadget also reported that they received word from Apple that they really were discontinued:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/20/the-macbook-dro...
    Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    "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."

    Should be Command-Option-T.
    Reply
  • SmCaudata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    So with my early 2008 Mac Book I already took a hit to batter life with Snow Leopard. In fact, I just got a new battery and after a couple of months the health reads at 80%. I have seen other's with this issue but the posts often get deleted on the main apple forums. Now I would take another hit to upgrade to Lion?

    I really liked my MacBook Pro when I got it, but this blatant disregard for current customers in a push to get people to upgrade is ridiculous. My laptop has plenty of power for laptop tasks. I don't need to upgrade hardware for performance reasons.

    Remember how much crap Microsoft took for making Vista a system hog on older systems? Do you think that Apple will ever see anywhere near the rage?
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Then don't upgrade.

    What are you so angry about? Your mac will work just like it used to. Apple will continue to provide security and other updates for at least three years. You'll get iTunes and Safari updates. What's the problem?

    If you find you HAVE to have some Lion feature, sell your MacBook on eBay --- you'll get a surprisingly good price.
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    The 64 bit support isn't entirely an Apple issue. It is Intel that treats 64 bit as a feature to be hacked out of CPUs on a whim to make them "cheaper." It just bugs me the way its been handled by everyone but AMD. 64bit sure looks like the future, but here we are dragging our heels on support.

    Anyway, does OSX support SMT? I thought that it didn't, but I see the latest specs of hardware with the 2/4 core/thread configuration.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Ehh? SMT is a processor feature, OSX will use as many cores (real or virtual) as you can throw at it. Reply

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