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Touch a Lion

January 26, 2011 - Dave Hecei
I am not an advocate of Snow Leopard, Apple’s latest version of their Mac OS. It works just fine, and in some installs seems to have sped up the Mac a bit. There are just enough changes and incompatibilities that keep me from leaving Leopard. Because of this I really didn’t take a serious look at Lion when Apple demoed it last year.

Snow Leopard is a cheap upgrade at only $29. Compare this to the typical $129 that Apple has charged for Panther, Tiger, and Leopard. While it did not contain the hundreds of new features as previous cat incarnations, Snow Leopard did bring some nice new features and technologies, but also brought some unwanted ones.

The main problem I have with Snow Leopard is the loss of AppleTalk and the serious changes in QuickTime. These two things basically stopped me from upgrading. I do have an external volume with Snow Leopard installed so I can use it when I need, have, to.

So getting back to Lion, I recently watched the video from last year’s special ‘Back-to-Mac’ event, October 2010. This is where they showed iLife ’11, OS X Lion, and the new MacBook Air. During this event they showed off three new features in Lion.

The first is something that is active now for Snow Leopard users called the Mac App Store. This was born from the iPhone/iPad App store. It brings the simple point-click-buy-install feature to the Macintosh.

Next they showed something called Launchpad. This is another feature born from the iPhone/iPad. Clicking on its icon will make all the open windows fade away and the screen will be filled with all your Application icons. When in Launchpad there are plenty of multi-gestures you can use, either on a Magic Mouse or a Magic Trackpad (Apple’s new wireless Bluetooth trackpad).

The last feature shown was a new command center called Mission Control (clever eh?). If you love Exposé in OS X then you will really love Mission Control. Here you can quickly view everything that is open and running on your Mac. It will group windows from the same application together, show Spaces, and even full-screen applications. Of course, the features in Mission Control can be accessed through multi-gesture commands from the Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.

If you really look at the technology in these three features it looks like Apple is trying to make the Mac as easy to use as an iPad. Better yet, with all these added multi-gesture commands available throughout OS X Lion, maybe we will finally see a touch screen iMac or MacBook by the end of this year. Food for thought.


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