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
POST A COMMENT

106 Comments

View All Comments

  • parlour - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    The revenue includes all the money that is payed to developers, music labels and media companies. Apple keeps no more than 30% (probably quite a bit less) of it. Reply
  • bwmccann - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Just started playing it a month ago and my entire family is hooked! Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I don't suppose you could compare OpenCL performance between Snow Leopard, Lion, and Windows 7? Given the increasing emphasis Apple is putting in OpenCL and the requirement for it in Final Cut Pro X and no doubt future iLife and pro apps, it'll be good to see how their latest implementation stacks up in performance rather than just feature-set (Lion bumps things to OpenCL 1.1 from 1.0 in Snow Leopard.) Reply
  • jensend - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    The claim that GPL3 "prohibits inclusion in retail products" is an outright lie. It's not just an inaccuracy- there's no way anybody who was even slightly informed about these things would think that; the ability to sell the software is one of the basic freedoms the GPL has always been about protecting.

    It is true that Apple refuses to use GPL3 software. The only reason I can think of for this is that the GPL3 says that if you distribute software under the GPL3 you implicitly grant patent licenses to everybody for any patents you may have which cover the software. Apple's wish to use its portfolio of obvious and non-innovative patents as a weapon to destroy its competitors conflicts with this.
    Reply
  • Confusador - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    Came here to say this and you've got it covered. This is an unusual case of blatantly false information on AT, you guys are usually much better informed than this. Reply
  • batmang - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I'm a little surprised that Anand didn't include any gaming benchmarks in this OS review just for simple comparison. Overall though, fantastic review and I'll certainly be upgrading to Lion in a week or so. I'm waiting to see if any oddball bugs arise before taking the plunge. Thanks for the review Anand. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    I think he was going to but didn't have time (we wanted to get this out right when Lion went live). I don't know about his plans but maybe he will update this with GPU performance or do a separate article about that. Reply
  • Gigantopithecus - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    "Business customers can get Lion for $29.99 per copy in units of 20 or more, and educational institutions can buy it along with the latest iLife and iWork upgrades for $39 in quantities of 25 or higher. Especially when compared to Microsoft's complicated and expensive Windows licensing, these simple, low and clearly defined upgrade prices are extremely welcome."

    I can't speak for business customers, but pricing for higher ed institutions is extremely variable for MS software.

    To wit, at the University of Wisconsin, our tech store offers zero discounts compared to retail on all Apple software, whereas both W7 Pro & Enterprise are $10 for one license and $25 for a fiver. At the University of Michigan, Apple OS software is similarly sold at retail with no discount, while W7 Pro is $19. Michigan State offers no discounts on both OS X and W7 vs retail. Indiana University sells OS X for retail & W7 for $20.

    I'm not familiar with direct-from-Apple educational pricing, but if you go to actual universities' actual computer stores, MS software is sold at enormous discounts at 3 of the 4 Big Ten campuses I'm familiar with. Saying Apple offers lower OS pricing than MS to higher ed customers is flat out inaccurate.
    Reply
  • mrd0 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Same at Washburn University's School of Law...I purchased the full enterprise Office 7 and then 10 for $9.95, and Windows 7 for $29.95. Apple software is not discounted. Reply
  • SmCaudata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Minnesota is Free to download or the cost of printed media ($8). This was when I was there at least.

    At Colorado both Windows and Office are also free to download. Before that (last year) they participated in the $29 usage option for office.

    The fact is Windows/Office is really only expensive if you are building your own computers and installing your own OS. Even then you can get it rather cheap and the money you save more than makes up for the extra $50 Windows 7 runs over this. Also this only updates on SnowLeopard. If you didn't have that upgrade it will cost you more. Win7 upgrades back to XP, correct?
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now