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.

General OS Appearance System Information
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  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    $29 is indeed a solid improvement. However, given the Mac Store now being out there, their desktop OS should follow the formula of their mobile OS: Free to upgrade. These features are nice but I can't help shake the feeling that these are Service Packs (because they are). And with their "app" store available on the OS and the means of most of their cash inflow, it makes more sense to make this a free upgrade for everyone instead of a $29 upgrade. Reply
  • xype - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Service packs? Are you serious? Read up on the changes and try to come up with one service pack that changed as much.

    Some people…
    Reply
  • danielkza - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    XP SP3 would be a good candidate, but yes, 10.7 is a bit beyond what one could reasonably call a Service Pack. Reply
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    You're thinking of XP SP2, and if you have to go back 7 years to come up with a comparable "service pack", it's certainly fair to say OSX 10.7 is more than a service pack. Reply
  • AfroPhysics - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I fail to see how the age of the service pack matters. Xype asked for an example and qualified nothing. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Are we really going through the tired argument that every 10.x update to OS X is just a service pack and should be free? Then at what point should Apple try to recoup costs for OS development, because even if individual point updates are evolutionary, going from the original 10.0 to 10.7 has got to be a major change in anyones eyes. And the same questions could be raised about Windows NT 6.1 aka Windows 7 where the server version is bluntly labeled Windows 2008 R2 and Windows NT 6.0 aka Vista/2008 or Windows NT 5.1 aka XP and Windows NT 5.0 aka 2000.

    Besides, even if you discount the user facing changes, Lion has seem some major security infrastructure changes. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit kernel have been rewritten with full NX-bit and ALSR support as in place in Windows Vista/7 addressing the major security complaint Charlie Miller had with OS X. Application sandboxing frameworks are now available and soon to be mandatory for Lion apps in the Mac App Store which I believe is a security feature that even Windows isn't pushing yet. With the dropping of the Core Duo, the Lion has also be rewritten to make more use of SSSE3 instead of just SSE3 as pointed out by the Hackintosh community. Lion isn't just Snow Leopard with a few features added on top, but the entire OS has seem updates at a low level even if the user might not necessary see all the differences.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    And about the App Store being a major source of income for Apple, Apple has consistently said they aim to run their stores as a break even venture.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/07/19/apple-reports-...

    I'm not clear if the iTunes Store in the graphic in the above link includes the App Store, but at the very least as an example of Apple's digital store, the revenue stream really hasn't increased in the last 2 years. Apple's sales growth is clearly from their hardware, iPhone, iPad, and even Mac.
    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

    I'd say their goal of a break even venture is not an accurate description of their stores. Hence the creation of the MAC Store. It sounds like a nice thought, but Apple is in business to make money and it seems their VERY good at it. Perhaps their projection analysis was a bit off.

    Hey, this is good news for the investors and I understand that they are a business. Lets not be too naive and just don't drink the cool-aid.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Perhaps my finance terms are wrong, but I'd hope the Apps Store is taking in revenue. But if Apple should be offering some of their other products like OS X updates for free, shouldn't we be concerned with whether the App Store is making major profits, such that there is money to spare to pay for OS development? Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Revenue ≠ Profit

    They've paid billions to both developers, and music and video cotent owners. They've also spent money on the infrastructure to support their stores. I'm sure they're making a profit as all good for-profit companies should, but it's not the cash cow you've attempted to present here.
    Reply

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