Mac OS Lion: 24 Hours In

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As soon as it was available in the Apple App Store yesterday, I started the download of Lion, the latest release of the OS 10 operating system from Mac. I’m glad I started early: it took until nearly 2 p.m. to finish the download. While we don’t have the fastest Internet connection at the office, I have to believe a good portion of the slow speeds can be attributed to lots and lots of traffic in the App Store.

Once downloaded, Lion installed flawlessly on my iMac in about 35 minutes. While I haven’t had a great deal of time to play with it, so far, I like what I see.

  • Mission Control, the merger of Spaces and Expose, looks like it will make for a great, focused working environment. I really like the ability to swipe between screens while running applications in the full-page mode. This lets me focus on the task at hand while not being distracted by things like an email showing up in my in-box. As I get more and more used to this feature, I think it’s going to change my workflow dramatically.
  • I’m still playing with Launchpad, which essentially allows you to see all your programs as icons on the screen, much like an iPad or an iPhone. Once I get things organized, I think this might be handy and could even allow me to minimize or remove the launch bar I typically keep at the bottom of the screen.
  • I’m really enjoying the enhanced multi-touch gestures (I’ve used the Magic Trackpad instead of a mouse for some time). The change in scrolling is the one thing that takes some getting used to  — it’s backwards (although you can change the setting in the control panel). What I mean is that if you want to scroll from the top of a document or web page to the bottom, it’s two fingers UP rather than down. Again, Apple is bringing the experience of the iPad/iPhone touch screen to the desktop experience. Think about it, if you were to put your hand on your screen, you’d push the page up to move down in the document. If you move between computers, this is a feature you may want to consider turning off. Just as I was getting used to it on my iMac, I did some work last night on my Air (still running Snow Leopard, since I’m upgrading today) and I found myself in need of a Scrolling 101 course at the local junior college. I will say that I think the new scrolling will be more natural once I (a) get used to it and (b) stop switching back and forth.
  • I’ve not worked with the Resume feature much yet, but it looks like a great one. Let’s say you need to restart because of a software update. Rather than closing everything, the OS will now remember where you were, go through the restart process, and bring your Mac back up to where you were, almost just like waking a computer from sleep. Small thing, but pretty interesting.
There are hundreds of new features, and I haven’t played with them all (yet!), but my first few hours of test driving the new OS finds me liking what I see. Clearly, Apple is moving toward a more unified experience between OS 10 and iOS, and instead of feeling forced or strange, so far it’s working well.

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