Back to the Mac
Those who remember Apple’s Back to the Mac event in October may remember Steve Jobs saying that the name was about bringing the features of the iOS platform “Back to the Mac.” That was when he started introducing the features of Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and having various top Apple folks show off the features of the new operating system that tied it closer to iOS. Apple has set a target launch for this summer, but there is no specific date yet.
Hit the jump to see what some of the features that made the transition from iOS to Lion.
This one actually sounds pretty cool, and is probably one of the main reasons we’d give Lion a try. It’s like having a bunch of desktop shortcuts without the clutter. You simply hit the launchpad icon on your dock and your Apps appear as they would on the iOS Home Screen. You can swipe to move between pages or group Mac Apps in folders just like you would in iOS.
2) Full-screen Apps
This is another feature that was a major part of iOS and has never quite been used with Mac OS. Personally, we think it may take some getting used to, but it definitely has it’s uses in applications like preview. Reading a PDF document in full screen sounds just lovely.
3) Multi-touch Gestures
Multi-touch has become a big part of iOS with the iPad. Pinching, tapping it’s all stuff you use on a daily basis with an iDevice. All of that is being enhanced for Lion. Those who use a trackpad with Snow Leopard may already know about some of the multitouch gestures, this will enhance them to make it feel more like iOS.
We did learn about a default setting earlier today that we will likely be changing. When you scroll up or down on your track pad, the document or page scrolls in the same direction as your movement, as shown in the video below below:
4) Auto Save
You no longer have to save your documents while you work. Auto Save will save your changes for you rather than creating additional copies of your document. There is a lock feature to prevent you from saving by mistake. There is also a revert feature that will bring your document back to the way it was when you first opened it.
This sounds interesting, but we wonder how it will affect boot times. We love fast boot times, and the fact that Mac OS doesn’t seem to start a bunch of background stuff really seems to help. This will be interesting for those software updates that force us to reboot though. Rather than having to close all of your applications (you know the process, save/quit, bookmark the page your are on or whatever you have to do) and shut down. Resume will take everything back to the way it was when you first shut down. That means any applications you have open, the internet browser, whatever you were working on, will relaunch exactly as you left it when you restarted. This may not be a feature carried over from iOS exactly as it was, but the idea of being able to open any App you closed in iOS and reopen exactly where you left off is a nice feature for Apps that support the function.
6) Mail 5
This will be redesigned to work in full-screen. It will also feature a UI similar to the iPad. That is a main column with your inbox to the left and the majority of the screen consisting of the actual email messages. It will also streamline conversations like the email threading in iOS4.
7) Mac App Store
Okay, you can argue that this is actually a Snow Leopard update. Still, Apple announced the Mac App Store as part of OS X Lion, and during the presentation told us that the Mac App Store would be available soon. It looks a lot like the App Store on iOS in terms of layout and usability.
First Major Upgrade in a While
Mac OS X Lion feels like one of the biggest upgrades to OS X we’ve seen in a while. Snow Leopard was no big deal other than some minor tweaks here and there. Luckily, it was a cheap upgrade. Lion actually feels like it brings some features worth upgrading for.