Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

Mar 17, 2011 by

Apple recently has released a preview of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to its developers.

I have been using it [Lion] for a few weeks, and I am happy to report that it is a huge difference from 10.6. When Mac OS X 10.6 came out, it was disappointing at how few differences there were between 10.5, Leopard, and 10.6, Snow Leopard. With 10.7 Lion, you will certainly feel that you have gotten your money’s worth.

iOS + Mac = Lion

A huge thing Apple emphasized when they first announced Lion was that many features (both functional and aesthetic) from their mobile platform iOS, which runs on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, would be implemented into Lion. Apple did this very well. Nearly everything has an animation;

opening applications, dialogs, sending mail-  it makes the OS gorgeous! Launchpad feels just like the SpringBoard, or the homescreen on iOS, allowing you to see the Applications folder fullscreen with animated folders, reordering, and single-click (or tap, if you’re using a trackpad) launching.

Another feature about many iOS applications is that when you re-launch an app, it generally takes you back to where you were last. Lion does that too. When you launch an app, it appears as it did when you last quit it, with a spinner in the middle while it loads. All Apple apps resume where you were before, but many third-party applications do not. Now this feature isn’t application-specific, but OS-wide. When you go to shut down or restart, Lion asks you if you want to “Reopen windows when logging back in.” If you select this (selected by default), Lion will reopen all opened apps in the same position they were in when you shut down. Pretty neat, huh?

Lion’s Idiosyncrasies

Here are just a few random details that have been changed (or left unchanged) so far in Lion. Please note that this is only a developer pre-release build, and everything is subject to change.

  1. Half-changed icons. While the icons in the sidebar of Finder are all greyscale (with a tint of blue? Can’t tell), other icons are still the colored, more detailed icons from before. Example is the Finder Go menu.
  2. Darker active window shadow. The shadow of the active window is seemingly darker than before, and the contrast between active and background shadows is very significant.
  3. Inverted scroll ball. When using your mouse’s scroll ball/wheel (probably two-finger scrolling on a Magic Mouse/Trackpad as well) you’ll notice that scrolling up actually scrolls down now! It was weird at first, but I got used to it. I don’t see why Apple would pull this now, though?
  4. Non-universal scrollbars. The new scrollbar closely resembles the one that appears when browsing through a list in iOS. It’s just dark grey, with no up/down buttons. It looks all fine and dandy, but in some apps (such as Google Chrome), the old Aqua blue scrollbars are still showing up.
  5. Darker blue selections. When selecting items from menus, you will notice that the selection color is a much darker blue. I like this, but it hasn’t been set as a highlight color for text or selection in Finder.
  6. User Library folder hidden. Self-explanatory. I wonder why Apple wants to restrict users this much? You can use Finder > Go to access it.
  7. AirPort now referred to as Wi-Fi
  8. No running-application indicator in Dock
  9. New QuickLook. Now semi-transparent white instead of semi-transparent black. Default QuickLook window size is smaller.
  10. All My Files. Gives you an at-a-glance view of your files of each common filetype. Don’t see this being useful for me, with thousands of files.
  11. Smaller window traffic-lights.
  12. Overall sleeker, grey-er, look.
  13. Mission Control. Exposé, Spaces, and Dashboard all-in-one. Much easier (and prettier) to see and navigate all of your windows. I once was able to activate it, but since haven’t been able to figure out how to, having a non-magic mouse.
  14. Overall, it’s faster. Going from Snow Leopard to Lion on a 2006 iMac I expected it to be much slower, but Lion is actually faster!

When Lion comes out, get it. It is a huge improvement to an already great operating system, and if you like iOS, then you’re in for a real treat!

As for the default wallpaper, I have no idea what a volcano (Mt. Fuji) has to do with a lion.