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Summary:

Today, at WWDC, after Steve Jobs took the stage to highlight some new features in OS X Lion, Phil Schiller and others walked the audience through 10 important new changes to the OS.

Mission Control OS X Lion

Mission Control OS X LionToday, at WWDC, after Steve Jobs took the stage to highlight some new features in OS X Lion, Phil Schiller and others walked the audience through 10 important new changes to the OS. There’s something for both developers and users alike in the list below.

  1. Multi-touch gestures. As laptops with trackpads now account for nearly 75 percent of Apple computer sales, OS X Lion gives full consideration for multi-touch gestures. These gestures also help bring some UI conventions from iOS devices to the desktop OS.
  2. Full-screen apps. While developers have always been able to create full-screen apps, it takes quite a bit of extra work to get it right. Apple has added specific features to Lion to make it easier for apps to go full-screen. This is another nod to the importance of the laptop market with smaller built-in screens.
  3. Mission Control. Integrates the best of Exposé and Spaces and ties it to gestures to make it even easier to switch between apps. This type of quick switching is particularly important with full-screen apps.
  4. App Store. The Mac App Store has been a great success. Apple is adding new features like in-app purchase for Mac apps and delta updates to reduce the size of downloads.
  5. Launchpad. A new way to launch apps. My impression is that full-screen makes the dock less usable and Apple is experimenting with creating an easy way to use gestures to bring a list of apps up on screen.
  6. Resume. Developers can now take advantage of system-level features in Lion to automatically save the current state of applications. Now when you relaunch the app, it will automatically resume exactly where you left off, with window positions, pallettes, documents, etc. exactly as it was.
  7. Auto-save. We’ve all lost work at one moment or another because we forgot to save a document. Lion now brings auto-save to every application and integrates closely with the next feature…
  8. Versions. Because apps are auto-saving documents frequently, Lion keeps track of all the previous versions of that document. You can browse old versions much like Time Machine for backups of older files.
  9. AirDrop. A simple way to share files over a local-area network, Airdrop will automatically discover other Macs nearby and help you securely transfer files with your permission and confirmation from your colleague.
  10. Mail. The new Mail app has been updated to use all these new features of Lion and work well in full-screen mode. There’s a new Conversation view that brings threaded email to the Mac and some new search magic to make it easier to find the message you are looking for.

I’m not sold on full-screen apps and the associated changes to Mission Control and Launchpad, but Resume, auto-save and Versions will make users’ lives much easier. What is your favorite new feature in OS X Lion?

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  1. Simon White Monday, June 6, 2011

    The fact that it’ll only cost $29.99

  2. I’m not fond of auto-save, personally. I used to work at Apple and once while doing an iMovie workshop, a customer’s iMovie app crashed and none of the most recent edits she’d done were saved. I’ve also had this happen to me personally at home twice, where iMove crashed and, in one case, lost nearly an hour of edits. I’m in the habit of hitting Command+Save every few seconds anyway, so I wish the auto-save would also at least allow for a manual user save as well. Until then, I will be too nervous to use any auto-save apps!

  3. This is one upgrade where the price unfortunately is all it is worth.

    What a waste of a world of Microsoft/*nix developers because Apple has no software vision only hardware-based. Windows 7 is still the best operating system to get work done where Apple just looks pretty and tries to copy Microsoft indirectly.

    1. Work? Apple is now bigger than Microsoft because young people don’t want to work nowadays, they want to have fun with all kind of media. What is the media vision of Microsoft? It is only thinking about office workers. Office workers are being fired, or te be retired.

  4. I’m not sure I want to turn my MacBook Pro or MacBook Air into iPads or iPhones. I don’t use those devices because they don’t suit my needs. Skype did the same thing with its wonderful Mac interface, turning an honest invention into a copycat pseudo-innovation, and the resulting screams from its thousands of Mac users hasn’t stopped reverberating yet. Skype’s now offering discounts to get people to use “Mac 5.0″ without much success.

    The whole purpose of Lion appears to be to make it easier for me to purchase oversimplified apps that might make sense on an iPhone or iPad but not on a real computer. More gestural control? I throttle mine back already, because gestural control is imprecise. AutoSave? Not when I’m composing a document, please! Various tinkerings to the screen presentation? Does Lion permit me to enlarge the size of the text on my MacBook Air? If not, it’s missed the main point.

    I’m not a stick in the mud. I welcome real enhancements. This looks more like eye candy. Tell me I’m wrong, please. I hate to be behind the OS curve — but honestly, Snow Leopard is pretty wonderful. Lion’s nice pictures don’t seem to have much to do with functionality of the type that SN delivers. Tell me I’m wrong.

    1. I was feeling the same way as you regarding the “turn MacBook into iPad” issue but I made the switch anyway and I’m happy I did. I have to say that the features actually are quite good and I don’t really get the Ipad feeling at all. But the improvements are not huge compared to SL.

      For the low price I think the update is quite good and it always feels good being with the latest OS.

      1. If you’ve been reading the Apple Support Forums, you’ll discover that Lion comes with a few liabilities ranging from deceased applications (well, no surprise there) to serious power problems and in a couple of instances, computer death. My own Air is in the Apple repair center in TX, going now on 10 days, because something happened so bad to my boot system that my Apple-certified tech, who’s never had a problem with my machines from the G3 onward, couldn’t fix it.

        But that wasn’t my point. Lion just doesn’t feel right for a computer user. Maybe because it doesn’t encourage typing, hence literacy. Maybe because it requires such constant dependence on cloud-supplied data (in and out), leaving me a dongle on someone else’s network. Maybe because the interface design is reminiscent of every frickin’ other device out there, so that it’s not so novel after all, instead very conformist.

        Maybe I just like to Think Different. Apple used to, you know….

  5. How is this an improvement over Snow Leopard? Pretty pictures? Enhanced gestures? I use a computer because I don’t favor iPads and iPhones. I prefer text lists to oversized graphics. I don’t like the imprecision of gestural commands. I’m not out to buy oversimplified apps nor do I care for my computer to be “Auto-“anything that I am in the process of creating. Save is sufficient, when I need it. The only thing I want out of a new Mac OS is being able to enlarge the text on my MacBook Air’s small screen. I don’t see that as a new feature. Hey, I’m not one to dawdle behind the OS curve, but Skype just went through this with its Mac users and the resounding thumbs-down about tubed the company’s new offerings among these tens of thousands of first-movers. Tell me I’m wrong, that there are substantial functional gains to be had from Lion in addition to prettifying my screen and making my touchpad hair-trigger. What am I missing?

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