Safari

Snow Leopard is going to get the new Safari 5.1 when it comes out, so its users will be able to take advantage of JavaScript performance gains, support for new standards, and the security patches included in most new browser releases. In Lion, however, Safari gains a few new OS integration features that probably won’t be backported.

The best of these is a new download manager, which instead of being a separate window (IE, Firefox) or tab (Chrome) is a clickable drop-down window located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window. Initiating a new download makes the file visually fly up to the button (more of OS X’s visual frippery), and you click this button to check on your downloads’ status (a small progress bar is visible at all times to give you a general sense of how your downloads are going).

As a heavy Chrome/Firefox user, I hope Google and Mozilla are paying enough attention to create their own versions of this.

The second is less interesting, but still useful - logging into a recognized email service (such as Gmail or Yahoo!) will invoke a dialog box asking you if you’d like to setup the account with OS X - this will sync your mail, calendar, and contacts for you (if the services are available from your email provider).

This generally works pretty well if you want to use the client apps, though I prefer to stick to web clients where possible.

iChat

iChat is still largely the same program it has been for some time, but it adds some enhancements it needs to protect itself from web clients (Google Talk, Facebook Chat) on one hand and existing third-party all-in-one clients (Adium, Trillian) on the other. It's all about adding support for different chat protocols, and to this end iChat in Lion adds support for Yahoo! Messenger and video chat, and also for the addition of other protocols via plug-ins. These plug-ins need only be downloaded and double-clicked to be installed.

In use, iChat now presents you with a unified buddy list, with friends across all protocols showing up in one window instead of multiple windows. Conversations with different people show up in a single, vertically tabbed chat window (see above), which allows you to easily switch between conversations without switching between windows. You can break these out into separate windows by clicking and dragging the tabs, same as with most modern web browsers.

TextEdit

OS X's built-in text editor gets a couple of small enhancements: for one, it gains a more useful formatting bar, which is a nice change, and it also gains Versions support.

 

Despite these enhancements, anyone who needs to do real word processing is still going to install Word or Pages at his or her first opportunity. It's certainly nice to have a built-in program that includes basic support for most document file formats, but it's not exactly a replacement for a real word processor.

Preview

Preview in Lion adds Versions and full screen support, along with a new "Import from camera" feature, which will let you (among other things) take a picture of your signature with your iSight/FaceTime camera to sign PDF forms.

QuickTime X

QuickTime X, now at version 10.1, can cut, copy, and paste video and audio, restoring a missing piece of QuickTime Pro functionality that was much missed when Snow Leopard launched. It also gains the ability to trim, crop, rotate and resize video, as well as insert other videos - all of this makes QuickTime X more capable of serving as a basic video editor. Full screen support is also available; Versions support is not.

Trimming a video in QuickTime X

The screen recording feature can now be trained onto a single area of the screen, rather than just the whole screen - this mirrors the OS’s ability to do screen captures of a single window rather than the full screen. Simply invoke the screen capture feature and drag a box around the window you want to record.

Selecting a portion of the screen to record

Sidenote: Can anyone tell me when Apple plans to replace QuickTime 7 for Windows users? Seriously, if Apple could deliver something like this for Windows, QuickTime would go from being “that thing that installs with iTunes” to a really useful program. It doesn’t seem likely or anything, but I’m just saying...

FileVault Performance Screen Sharing, Boot Camp, Migration Assistant
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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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