5 things I love about Lion

Mac OS X Lion (s aapl) 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 (s goog), 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 (s msft) 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?