Back to the Mac: OS X 10.7 Lion Reviewby Andrew Cunningham, Kristian Vättö & Anand Lal Shimpi on July 20, 2011 8:30 AM EST
Apple hasn't exactly paid a ton of attention to Mac OS X since the iPhone came out. There, I said it.
This was obvious even in the lead-up to Leopard in 2007, when Apple delayed that OS's release from a spring timeframe to October so that they could get the iPhone out the door. Since then, we've gotten Snow Leopard (a "no new features" release that did a lot to optimize the platform at the expense of aging PowerPC Macs) and a long string of point updates that have done plenty to polish the OS but not much to advance it. Using OS X today is fundamentally much the same as it was four years ago, though we're doing it on hardware that's four years faster.
Lion, originally unveiled in October of 2010, is Apple's attempt to get "back to the Mac," which when translated from Apple into English means that the company wanted to port some ideas and some functionality from iOS into OS X, which parallels iOS's journey from a touch-driven iPod interface to an increasingly OS X-flavored standalone OS. With Lion, Apple wants to do for its Mac software what it did for its Mac hardware with the MacBook Air - bring concepts people like in tablets to full-featured computers.
One of our goals with a Lion review, then, is to separate the actual useful features from the fluff - what has OS X borrowed from iOS, and does it really improve and make sense for the platform? What functionality feels grafted-on, and what feels like it's been missing from the platform for years?
Another important goal will be to determine the direction in which Lion moves the platform, because new OS X releases tend to be messages just as much as operating systems: Leopard, with its two-and-a-half-year development cycle, told people that OS X's fast-paced, sometimes chaotic early phase was officially over. Snow Leopard told PowerPC users to get with the times or get off the train (or, to put it positively, that Intel was the future and that developers needed to take fuller advantage of the architecture's strengths).
So what is Lion trying to tell us? Read on and find out.
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steven75 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link"The fact is Windows/Office is really only expensive if you are building your own computers and installing your own OS"
You seem to be implying that Office comes free with a pre-built computer when it in fact doesn't ever.
anactoraaron - Sunday, July 24, 2011 - linkwrong. I know I shouldn't feed the trolls but when office 2010 came out my local office depot (and likely every office depot) had at least one pc with the full version of office 2010 on it. It was some kind of promotion they ran for about 2 weeks.
tipoo - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - linkApart from the new animations in Safari, is performance improved any? Any word of it getting GPU acceleration?
name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - linkMy experience was that it ran the IE Paintball demo 25% faster, and the end result showed no visual artifacts. So, an improvement on 5.0, but still nothing like the HW acceleration performance of IE.
On the other hand, I've yet to encounter a site (apart from the IE demos) where this actually matters...
name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - linkOh, it also, if you care, has elementary support for MathML. To be honest, however, the support is REALLY limited. The typography looks like crap, and anything even slightly fancy looks even worse --- eg long bars over symbols, large surds, etc.
tipoo - Friday, July 22, 2011 - linkThanks. Yeah, its GPU acceleration doesn't seem as expansive still as other browsers, judging by canned benchmarks I've run it through. IE9 and FF5 are still far ahead in GPU acceleration, Chrome and Opera are getting there, Safari 5.1 is still last.
EnzoFX - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - linkI think it's pretty unfair to compare Windows full-screening to Lion's. Full screening in Windows is not a feature at all IMO, it is the equivalent of dragging the window size out to the size of the screen. You do not gain any functionality whatsoever (usually just a lot of empty space, which was never in Apple's radar before). This kind of full-screen functionality has been present in OS X long before Lion, though it was often more manual, having to drag the window size out.
But as you say, Apple has added functionality and it's become it's own separate feature. I think the comparison is pointless.
SmCaudata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - linkTrue full-screen in Windows only happens with games, certain video players, and select other apps. I personally so no use for full-screen for most computer applications.
Also, the comparison is valid because even in those areas where Windows does use full-screen, the other display still works. I can have a full-screen movie on one monitor while I do whatever I want on the other.
I really fail to see how Apple's implementation has "added functionality" that didn't exist in other OSes before. The article talks about using gestures instead of minimization... isn't that what Alt+Tab and Win+tab already did?
There are certain things that Apple does do well. Their dock was something that MS obviously took inspiration from for W7. This implementation of full-screen seemed pretty limited IMO.
name99 - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - linkI suspect that the multi-screen hiccups with full-screen are purely temporary.
We have seen problems like this before --- for example when multi-user GUI support (the rotating cube thing, to allow new users to log in to a mac) was first added, it didn't take long to discover that various iLife apps didn't behave properly. (I forget the details, but I think both iTunes and iPhoto wouldn't launch for the new user.)
It's one of the drawbacks of Apple being so secretive, even internally, that you get these sorts of crossed signals. But the issues usually get fixed, and if they are very visible, they usually get fixed soon.
I'd say, right now, the appropriate response is to assume this is a screwup, not go into conspiracy theory mode about how this is a plot by Apple to eventually remove multi-screen support.
Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - linkLOL. As if a company spearheading Thunderbolt would aim to remove multi-screen support.