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Summary:

Mac OS X Lion is not without its problems, but there’s also a lot to love about the big cat. My top five favorite things about Lion include some revolutionary shifts, along with a few relatively small changes that make a big difference.

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Mac OS X Lion is not without its problems, but there’s also a lot to love about the big cat. Apple made some moves I believe will fundamentally change how we think about desktop computing. My top five favorite things about Lion include some of those revolutionary shifts, along with some small changes that make a big difference.

  1. Full-screen apps. Especially on a notebook, the ability to quickly switch to full-screen mode and navigate between apps that are using it has absolutely changed how I use Macs for the better. It definitely helps you focus on one thing at a time, and it makes great use of Macs with limited screen real estate. It just feels like something we should have been doing all along.
  2. Launchpad. Despite my complaints about aspects of it in my last post, Launchpad itself is a welcome addition to the Mac. I’m using it most on my iMac, where the large icons and full-screen navigation make it much easier to find that one seldom-used app I’m looking for. I also think Launchpad is the first stage of an evolutionary tale that will only see it improve dramatically with future iterations of Mac OS, with feature additions like greater control over app arrangement, and maybe even live icons that display dynamic info at-a-glance.
  3. AirDrop. Before AirDrop, copying files from my Mac to a visiting friend’s machine was sometimes so much of a chore that we wouldn’t even bother. Now I never have to have that “Hey, you still haven’t given me that file” conversation again, at least so long as everyone involved is packing the right equipment.
  4. Hold key for special characters. I’ve never been able to remember the character codes for Macs, and using the special character palette from the Menu bar still requires more steps than the classic Google, copy, paste method. Holding keys down to produce special characters, as you can do on iOS devices, actually makes my life a lot easier, even though I don’t use them all that often.
  5. The price. I recently had to install Windows 7 on a Boot Camp partition for my sister’s Mac. Price of the OS (even after it’s been on the market for nearly two years)? $220. The price of OS X Lion (which I was able to install on all four of my Lion-compatible Macs)? $30. Pricing may be Lion’s most appealing asset.
Those are my top 5 favorite things about Lion, based on how using OS X has actually changed for me. What other highlights would you add to the list?

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  1. This is what i call a really small and nuub review. So much to learn and tweak with Lion. Desktops and gestures are everywhere. Only stucked on Exchanged server config (2003). but it’s ok.

  2. How do you activate the iOS-style hold key for alternate characters feature. I’ve tried it and get nothing. Thanks.

  3. Didn’t know about that hold key for special characters feature! Now that I know, I lôvè it! (didn’t have to do anything to enable it, was enabled by default)

  4. Hi, Don’t you think the scrolling is counter intuitive… when you scroll down, it actually goes up and when you scroll up it goes down. Not sure if I only see this issue… maybe it could be changed by changing some settings, however this behavior was not earlier….any comments?

    1. Lion is imitating the iOS behavior. Think it as if you are moving up and down the content with your fingers, and in the meanwhile try not to think about the scroll bars :) you can definitely change it back to the way it used to work via Settings, but I’d say give it a chance. I got adjusted to the new behavior in a few days.

  5. Pros – Agree many good features with Lion. More secure, which will matter shortly, as Macs become more popular.

    Cons – seems a bit slow on a duo 2 Mac.
    The biggie – the appalling way it has been released: over the Internet. While this may be the irrevocable future, it is not newbie friendly. Preparing a recovery USB stick, the Apple preferred method in their article HT4718, is not the best. A stick can be corrupted easily if one is careless/ignorant. It is not the best way to cater for losing Lion because one’s internal HD and it’s recovery have failed. Installing Lion over SL means icons shift with each boot. A clean install is not easy. Loss of Rosetta.

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