Aditya Agarwal
Different Perspectives

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Mac OS X Lion. Reviewed...

Let me start with a quote.

Rupert Murdoch on Steve Jobs,

"Here we have the man who invented the personal computer, then the laptop.  He’s now destroying them.  That is an amazing life."

Thats exactly what you’ll feel like when you first boot into Mac OS X Lion. It destroys the conventional ways of desktop computing.

As Apple stated in the last conference they have actually taken a lot of cues from the iOS and built it into Lion. And so far it looks like they have done the job brilliantly.

Steve Jobs once said “We create things and stuff for people even before they know that they will need it”. They did just that in the iPhone, the iPad and now Lion. So before I begin my review I would like you to know that this is just the beginning of greater things to come. The Lion Developer preview might not have all the features yet that will make it into the final release but its pretty exciting. In fact I don’t want to use Snow Leopard anymore…..

So here goes.

1. Installation: New findings here. Firstly we got the developer release through the Mac App Store. Which sheds light to the fact that Apple wants everything to be available through the Mac App Store now. Agree or not, but I love the convenience of using the Mac App store. So this is good.

Installation was pretty straight forward and completed in flat 10 mins. The overall UI has been fine tuned to look more iOS like and looks pretty.

2. New Features:

  • LaunchPad: This is a new implementation which shows apps and folders exactly like the iPad/iPhone. It is slick and smooth. Even on a year old white macbook it flowed like butter. Here is a screen shot.
LaunchPad

LaunchPad with Folders
  • Mission Control: This is a mix of Expose and spaces. Combines the two for a better feel and usability. Frankly I could never put spaces to good use ever. This I am going to use a lot, it seems. As before the screen flow and transitions are amazingly well done which you can see in the video at the end of the review. Here’s how it looks.
Mission Control: Shows all apps together. Notice that full screen apps are listed at the top.
  • Mail 5: Apple Mail gets a UI overhaul and looks neat. Its shed its borders and bars and works just like the iPad mail now. Support for Exchange 2010 is now standard. Threaded conversations are shown is a much better view. There are a lot of under the hood improvements but what shows is the UI itself.
Apple Mail 5

Apple Mail: New Mail compose window
  • Enhanced Printer Setup: The Printer setup is now both faster and sleeker. As soon as you click the + icon it shows all the nearby printers. Click on the printer and the setup takes care of the rest of the stuff. It automatically downloads any drivers if required.


Printer Setup

Printer Setup: Automatic driver install
  • New Finder View: The new view is much more efficient.
New Finder View
  • Unified Internet Accounts Setup: Now you have a unified windows in System Preferences where you can setup all your accounts. Just like the iPad. A welcome feature.
Internet Setup Screen
  • New Trackpad Gestures: In the old days it was one finger, then 2, then 3. Now you can use 4. Someday we will get to use all our ten fingers and do all sorts of magic with the Mac. Apple’s hooked onto HID improvements it seems.
Trackpad Gestures
  • Airdrop: Ever wondered why file sharing was such a task? Airdrop takes care of that. You see another computer running Lion+Airdrop and you just throw a file at it. No setup required. Simple.
Airdrop
  • All New FileVault: The new FileVault lets you encrypt the entire drive instead of just the home folder. Plus it also encrypts external drives. So you are now fully secure. It also includes an option to instantly wipe the drive if you run into some serious trouble with the authorities. The wipe feature is going to appeal to a lot of people who are worried about their data going into the “WRONG HANDS” a.k.a IT Department???? Lol. I could not trace the instant wipe feature yet, but its listed on the Apple site so it will be there. Probably in the following releases.
FileVault
  • Versions: This nifty feature auto-saves files as you work on them. So you can go back to it a previous edited version anytime. So the next time you goof up on your excel worksheet, you can save yourself from being getting fired by your boss. ;-)
  • Resume: You can resume an application where you left off. The concept of opening and closing an app is gone. You no longer have the blue dot indicating that the app is running. You just run an app use it and close it.
  • Auto Save: Saves files automatically. No further explanation required.
Throughout the whole OS you can see interface tweaks here and there. The App Store comes pre-installed and so does FaceTime. There are some small features which are worth a mention
  • Auto Correct: System wide auto correct which was missing on the Mac all this while. similar to the iphone. It notifies you that the word has been autocorrected by underlining it with a blue color.
  • New Address Book interface: The Address book interface has been upped to match the iPads.
  • Spring action movements & scrolling: The whole system flows just like the iOS devices. Spring action is everywhere. Its sheer joy to use.
  • No Flash preinstalled: you have to download it. Just like on the Macbook Air at present.
  • Less resource hungry: The overall system boots, runs, and feels faster on a 2.6 C2D/4GB 15.4” MBP than running Snow Leopard on the same machine.
  • Power to the developers: There are some amazing new features for developers like Sandboxing (Limit access to file systems) etc. Will cover more of this sometime later maybe.
  • No Scroll bars: There are no visible scroll bars on any app. they only appear when you scroll and auto-hide as soon as you stop. gives more room to work and is a welcome change.
Man! Am I impressed? No. I am “floored” is more like it.

Video to drool

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/20364170]