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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  • rs2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Okay, it makes sense on a touch device where your finger is actually making contact with the thing you are scrolling. But a mouse cursor is *not* a finger. It is not an analog for a finger. It is a different input paradigm entirely, and trying to make it behave as if the mouse cursor is your finger by making scrolling go backwards is stupid.

    It's good that they put in an option to disable the nonsense that is "natural" scrolling.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Not at all. The issue is simple : what is the metaphor?
    When I move my finger, am I moving
    - the window container? OR
    - the content?

    Claiming that one is more "natural" than the other is as stupid as claiming that English is more natural than Chinese. It's simply that you are used to one and, like a good American, you simply cannot imagine that the world could possibly be different --- after all, Jesus spoke English.
    Reply
  • rs2 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Not at all. There is no "finger" when using a mouse. Touch and mouse-driven are distinct input paradigms. If a touch-based interface ever scrolled content in the opposite direction that the user moved their finger, then people would say that it was broken. And rightly so. Moving content in the same direction as the touch is the intuitive operating mode of a touch interface.

    And similarly, moving content in the opposite direction of the scroll (or more accurately, moving the scrollbar in the same direction of the scroll) is the intuitive operating mode for a mouse-driven interface. By your logic scrollbars themselves should also be inverted.

    As a side-note, a direct analog to touch style scrolling does exist in the mouse-driven paradigm, it is the drag operation. It is available in some things like Adobe PDF documents, and also work on any scrollbar. In this operation you choose an anchor-point, and then that anchor point moves in the same direction that you move, and it all makes sense. The problem with scrolling is that it has no anchor point, it is a distinct operation from a drag operation, and by conflating the two Apple has broken their interface. At least until they start incorporating touch into every computer they sell.

    Mouse-driven and touch interfaces are not the same thing, and just because a metaphor makes sense in one does not mean that it also makes sense in the other.
    Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Agreed. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    On page 23 "Performance: Similar to Snow Leopard", you have a couple bar graphs comparing Snow Leopard to Lion performance. Unfortunately, you use a generic "compared to before as 1.0" metric, with no indication on a per-test basis whether higher or lower is better. In the Core 2 Duo graph, you talk about boot time skyrocketing, and the boot time graph for Lion shows Lion as "about 1.4" of Snow Leopard, yet you also talk about iPhoto having a "greater than 10% increase in performance", where the graph shows "about 1.1" of Snow Leopard. So in one line in the graph, higher is worse, in the other line, higher is better.

    You either need a per-test identifier (Higher is better / Lower is better) or you need to to standardize them all (so 'benchmark' ones would stand as-is, while 'timing' ones would use the inverse, so that both would be 'higher is better', or example.)
    Reply
  • Deaffy - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Did anyone check to see whether Apple has included a UI element to enable IPv6 privacy extensions for statelest address autoconfiguration?
    And did DHCPv6 to get IPv6 addresses from your ISP's cable via IPv6 finally make it's entry?
    Reply
  • Deaffy - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Oh yeah, and maybe the ability to query a name server via IPv6? Reply
  • kevith - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    they are more and more returning to the Linux it came from. Who knows, they might even go bact to open source:-) Reply
  • Omid.M - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Anand/Andrew/Christian,

    If you right click on a YouTube video, does it say the rendering AND decoding is "accelerated" ? I thought Lion was supposed to bring that.

    If this is now the case, it'd be enough reason for me to buy Lion and a new MBP 15". I can't stand the fans on my 2008 MBP 15 going nuts every time I watch a 30 second YouTube clip. The laptop gets unreasonably hot right now.

    @moids

    P.S. I'm not a fan of the way buttons appear on the upper borders of windows. There's no typical button "design" to signify that the text is clickable, at least not from the screen shots I saw in the article.
    Reply
  • Omid.M - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    I guess it's disabled:

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/07/21/adobe-suggests...
    Reply

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