Blog Post

Buy, wait or skip: What’s your plan for OS X Lion?

OS X Lion (s aapl) is set to arrive sometime this month, and new reports suggest that it could be here as soon as next Wednesday at 9 AM. Apple has the advantage of being able to “ship” much more simply this time around, since Lion is only going to be distributed via the Mac App Store, so it makes sense that we’d see a release follow more closely the most recent stable developer build. But now that it’s almost here, do you think you’ll actually buy it?

Lion has some quirks that not everyone will love. Exclusive digital distribution is one, since bandwidth or connection concerns might not sit well with some. Also, Lion doesn’t appear to offer any way for people to do a clean install, unless they use a Snow Leopard disk first and then re-install Lion after that. Finally, the requirements will leave early Intel Mac owners out of the party.

On the other hand, Lion offers some significant improvements to core apps like Mail, Contacts and Calendar, and new features like Resume, Auto Save, Versions and AirDrop show a lot of promise. Plus users who’ve made the jump from iOS to their first Mac will find the operating environment a lot more familiar. And you’d be amazed at what fullscreen apps can do for your ability to focus on the task at hand.

I’ve got all my Macs running Snow Leopard, so I’m definitely going to upgrade, since it’ll only cost me $29 to get each on 10.7. I’ll probably do it on day one, too. But will you be joining me, waiting a while to see how Lion pans out, or skipping this OS altogether?

[polldaddy poll=5195266]

69 Responses to “Buy, wait or skip: What’s your plan for OS X Lion?”

  1. Walter Wright

    I’m thinking about getting a new Mac Air when they are refreshed, and maybe a new iPad as well, so I think I will wait. Will the Mac Air come with Lion, and can it then be “cross loaded” to my imac desk top or my ipad or iphone, for that matter? My questions may reveal my ignorance of computers–a lack of wisdom that may bring me to an Apple Store to ask the folks there to do all the downloading for me, and to help me make sure I don’t lose data in the process. I’d welcome anyone else’s guidance in the meantime.

  2. For me, lion is DOA. The improvements to mail, Safari And calender are meaningless sinc I got so disgusted with their current poor behavior they I long since switched to sparrow. Firefox and Google calender.

    As for the 247 other “improvements”, the important ones can be mostly duplicated with independent software and many of them are simply eye candy designed to attract non Mac iPhone users.

    The final blow is the attempt to tie all mac users to the App store by Apple’s fixation on download only, a direct slap in the face to loyal Mac users who don’t have and can’t get hi speed internet.

    Apple no longer cares about Mac users so why why should Mac users spend their money with Apple?

    • GreenGuru

      Ed, what I find curious about your comment in particular is this: you mention “Apple’s fixation on download” but have replaced your Apple apps with DOWNLOAD ONLY apps like Sparrow and Firefox and cited that the “247 other improvements can be duped with independent software” most of which is download only as well. Now, I’ve never seen a CD version of Firefox, ANY Google application or independent software, so where are you getting yours?

      • I have no problem downloading normal Apps, but I draw the line At 4GB Oses. Perhaps you haven’t experienced big problems installing an OS, but I have and believe me it’s no joke even with a disc. Furthermore Sparrow and Firefox are less than 20MB downloads. Lion will take well over an hour for me to download. For others it might take days.

        And Apple doesn’t care!!!

  3. Buy a laptop that comes with it (Macbook Air). Decide later if the rest of the family would enjoy it (or would it just confuse them).

  4. I am an AVID user (Pro Tools, Media Composer). I will hold off on installing v10.7 until AVID qualifies it for use with their programs. Then I will think about it.

    Leopard wasn’t worthy until 10.5.4. Snow Leopard wasn’t worthy until 10.6.3. Will Lion be worthy at 10.7.2? I doubt it, though it would be nice for Apple to prove me wrong.

  5. Halyein

    SL screwed over my MB battery so I’m going to be cautious. Last time I also made the mistake of not doing a clean instal – another mistake I won’t be making again.

  6. Nope, not upgrading soon.
    I bought my first mac a couple of months before Snow Leopard was available, and was elegible for a copy for just USD 10, but waited to upgrade until Microsoft Folder Share released a version for it.
    Today Folder Share is no more and was replaced by Windows Mesh, and I still depend too heavily on it to synchronize all of my computers (two pc desktops, one laptop, an iMac and a MacBookPro) to risk not being able to use it.
    So yes, I’ll wait until Microsoft releases Mesh for Lion, and until I’m sure all other software I regularly use is ready for Lion as well.
    PS: I don’t have any iOS device–my phone is Android and my iPod is a 5th generation one, well before iOS was released–so I have no craving for it on any of my macs.

  7. Bakaburg

    I never upgrade the OS a soon as is out. I think is always better to wait until the brave ones try it in the wild to be sure there isn’t any major undiscovered bug (this isn’t a first).

    So I’ll wait for 10.7.1 : )

  8. The price is heard to ignore, so Apple gets a lot of credit for not Microsofting us here.

    However, this upgrade seems fairly incremental. I bought Snow Leopard and installed it over Tiger, so I don’t mind an upgrade I can appreciate. Snow Leopard runs perfectly fine on my MacBook. When I buy an iMac, Lion or its successor will be on that machine.

    What would make me upgrade? A genuine Safari upgrade. Compared to Chrome and Firefox, Safari is a laggard.

  9. wondercomp

    I voted for the ‘I’m waiting a while’ option but I just wanted to be clear that I don’t currently own a Mac. I’ll buy one as soon as it’s financially practical for me. I had to upgrade to a cheap PC because my previous laptop died out. There are also numerous other financial hurdles for me to overcome small ones at that but now is not a good time to upgrade for me.

  10. Freckledbruh

    Peter: I’m not sure I get where you’re coming from. You can still buy, download and purchase apps for your mac without the mac app store. As for buying directly from developers, well Apple Inc. IS the developer for lion and they are selling it on the mac app store. Do you have required apps that need Rosetta or won’t work under lion?

  11. Philothea

    I’ve been getting conflicting information on whether I have enough RAM (1GB) to run Lion. I’ve seen 2GB mentioned as the minimum around the Mac-o-sphere. Apple’s upgrade preview page makes no mention of a minimum RAM. So, I’ll wait until it’s available and see if I can get a definite answer.

  12. Peter

    Adam, 10.5.8 currently. I’m a kind of slow adopter, always one full OS release behind the current hype. I’ll probably upgrade to 10.6 in the near future, but definitely not as a prelude (prerequisite) to Lion. Just to be able to run the latest updates of my favourite apps, nothing else.
    I like to be able to try or buy my apps directly from the developer and Apple forcing itself in between makes no sense to me at all. Once you’ve gone the App Store route you’re shackled for ever.

  13. Steven Blackwood

    I voted that I will install Lion Immediately BUT I will only do so on one machine (I have 3 Macs) to test it out. The reason is that Snow Leopard was problematic for printing wirelessly until 10.64. I am actually looking forward to the UI changes.

  14. I’m pretty sure I have to wait until there’s a driver update for the Nvidia Quadro 4000. I couldn’t get any clarification from Apple as to whether Lion offers native support for it.

  15. there are too many questions behind the mechanics of the app store download and i’ve played around with the betas which left me thoroughly unimpressed. I might buy it if it lets me install at my leisure…

    • Site7000

      It appears the install is both. You get your clean install, but you have to do it through Snow Leopard because they aren’t offering downloads or disks. But somebody will probably figure out a way to hack a 100% clean install.

      • My bet is, they will have a small stock of Lion DVD in the back rooms of Apple retail stores and will either sell it in plain brown paper wrap, or offer to install it for you (for a small fee of course).

    • you’d wait or skip if you dont want to take a step back from true osx. lion is basically a ramped up ios running over osx. its dumbed down for people who came to apple by way of an ios device.

  16. Site7000

    I upgraded from Leopard to Snow Leopard as soon as it came out. Big mistake – I had more problems than I expected. Unless I see a need, I’ll hold off on Lion until I get a new MacBook Air sometime later this year.

  17. Peter

    Voted : not buying Lion at all. Lifelong Mac user (20+ years). Currently 10.5.8.
    I’m not looking forward to an iOS UI, iCloud and App Store restraints. I consider this a serious dumbing down and an unacceptable stranglehold that has me seriously worried about Apple’s good intentions towards its longtime loyal fans. Very disappointed with these developments. Nothing in Lion holds any appeal for me at all and it offers absolutely nothing which empowers me compared to what I’m currently able to do with Leopard. For now I’m only considering Snow Leopard.

    • Adam J

      Peter, did you mean 10.5.8 or 10.6.8? If you’re on 10.5.8 and you wanted to upgrade to Lion, you would have the fun of upgrading twice (to SL then Lion). I have also been a long-term Mac/Apple user. They really have dumbed down the OS to make it easier for those people who have switched from Windows to an iDevice and that fancied a dip in the pond that is an Apple Mac, haven’t they? But by doing this they have really upset those long-term Mac users. I’m staying at 10.6.8 and really do not like the idea of the App Store – I’d rather have my Boxed software any day!

      • Sorry, my Winders computer is giving me fits today…

        I am a recent convert to OSX, but live in Unix/Linux and Winders all day/every day at work testing SW. When I get home and use a computer for personal use, the last thing I want to have to do is get under it’s hood. I love the simplicity of the iOS and OSX platforms.

        Are there times I want to get into the deeper parts of it, sure…but Lion leaves the Unix core intact and simply offers user friendly interface for the masses.

        Apple has succeeded since inception on the idea that it should be simple. It holds true for iOS devices (who would have ever thought of a phone with a grand total of 5 buttons!). It has always held true for the Mac OS.

        If everyone flocks to Macs, then our employers will start issuing Macs in place of PCs, and prices will come down due to volume. Plus, Mac users will no longer be treated like the circus sideshow freaks by society.

    • i updated my first mbp from leopard to snow leopard because i bought it about a month before sl was released and got sl for free. i like sl over leopard. granted this was a few years ago, but a clean install speeded my mbp up and it was a smaller footprint over leopard.

  18. Vicky

    It’s no doubt partly because I came to mac from iOS and gmail, but even before lion was announced, I was irritated by
    – lack of full screen apps
    – finding my windows (I use loads of spaces and expose to achieve an effect similar to mission control, but it requires a double gesture
    – inadequate searching and no flagging or conversation view in mail
    – missing gestures such as pinching and zooming. And despite years on Windows, I have also found myself going the wrong way when two-finger scrolling in Snow Leopard if I’ve been using my phone or iPad.

    Any of those makes it worth the risk of upgrading immediately. I’ll turn off the only feature I don’t like, which is resume.

  19. Bill E

    I’ll probably wait a few weeks and maybe test drive it somewhere other than my own machine first. In a graphics production environment, it is crucial that workflow is not disrupted.

  20. Terrie

    I use Quicken 7, which requires Rosetta. They say there may be a fix in the works, but until then, I won’t be roaring with Lion.

    I had a few challenges with Snow Leopard, which rendered useless my large format photo printer and my multifunction scanner. I got around that with a second boot drive with Leopard 10.5. I don’t want to have three boot drives, especially since I’m using laptops.

  21. i bought a mac because the os x system was something that after playing with, i loved. i have ios devices (a verizon iphone 4 and two 3rd gen ipod touches, an 8gb and 32), my two mbp’s are not ios devices and never should run like one. with lion, thats exactly what theyre aiming for. i get that most people are introduced to apple through ios, and i wasnt one of them. apple is trying to cater to its new users, and forgeting those that helped make it possible. if they keep down this path (fcpx didnt help and im staying with 7), they will lose a large number of consumers.

    • Adam J

      I fully agree with you there Ryan.
      Lion is basically iOS orientated now, which is not what I want. I need a system that can do proper computing. But Lion is still SL with some features to make it a friendly UI to new users that are primarily Windows Users who have got an iPad (or other such iDevice), I like the way things are in a proper OS like SL! They need to keep their ‘proper’ users and not try and gain users who want a more basic mobile platform.

      • Konstantino

        Having a superfluous application launcher and applications that save their state doesn’t make it “just like iOS.” It’s just as much a real computing experience as Snow Leopard was with additional features, just like every other release of OS X.

      • konstantino, im not doubting the computing power of lion, im just not liking the ios-ification of osx. if i want ios, ill use an ipod touch or ipad, if i want osx, i use my mbp’s. by dumbing down osx to an ios form by taking away my choices, like ios does, they are downgrading osx. ios works great for mobile computing, and again, i own several ios devices; but essentially merging parts of ios and osx, like lion does, erodes the osx experience.

      • estephan500

        ryan, you didn’t really read konstantino’s post. he was saying that the new Lion OS does not totally impose iOS experience on the full operating system — it simply puts a couple of new features that are comfortable for iOS people, while the majority of Lion is still a regular computer OS. In other words, it does not “dumb down” the OS by taking away choices. It just adds a couple new layers that look like iOS, which you can ignore. And I am the same as you, by the way. When I go to Lion (a few weeks after launch, to make sure all is OK), I will mainly ignore the iOS-echoing features.

  22. The reasons I’m going to wait a while before upgrading to Lion:
    1. I like Snow Leopard just fine. While the new features in Lion look intriguing, none of them fix a current problem for me.

    2. I prefer to wait at least a few days, until enough people have upgraded that any glaring problems with the upgrade become widespread (and then I wait to upgrade until Apple issues a fix). Yes, I’m using y’all as my guinea pigs–thanks in advance!

  23. Adam J

    Now this is the first time I have myself waiting for a new Mac OS from the shipping (if you can call it shipping) date. Ever since I started using Mac and Apple products I have upgraded or preordered as soon as possible. But I now find myself waiting for both bug reports (not that there will be many, as this is Apple we are talking about!) and in the hope they will bring some copies (even at an extra cost) on DVD (due to my very slow internet connection – not my fault, this is the best I can get (0.5mb/s))!

    • Brian

      “But I now find myself waiting for both bug reports (not that there will be many, as this is Apple we are talking about!)”

      Yeah, just like with the latest release of Final Cut Pro. People loved it. ;)

  24. Steve

    This is my first year on a Mac.
    It’s such a wonderful experience, in comparison to Windows, that I could be happy with Snow Leopard for many years. Because of that fact I’m going to wait a bit to upgrade, until all of the reports are in.