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  • "Power & Magic:" What's in the Lion Dev Preview


    Apple released the developer preview of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion yesterday, giving the first peek of what's to come on the Mac. With iOS-like UI design, easier file sharing and system-wide AutoSave with file versioning, as well as a fundamental rethinking of file management and application control, the eighth major revision to Apple's desktop OS will be the most significant upgrade since Tiger was released back in 2005. Lion will be available this summer, but registered Mac Developer Program members can download the preview now.

    When Steve Jobs announced Lion last fall, he said it would "combine the power of Mac OS X with the magic of iPad." And, as expected, the interface design borrows a lot of elements from iOS. The Mail widescreen layout looks very much like Mail.app on the iPad, finally bringing the popular side-by-side view to the desktop. The new "Launchpad" view lets users launch apps as they would on iOS, selecting from a Springboard-like grid of icons. Apple has even reversed the direction of scrolling to match iOS: now, when you do a two-finger swipe down on a trackpad, the screen moves down - in the direction of your fingers - rather than up, as it does in current versions of Mac OS X. It even makes a "rubber-band" visual effect when you get to the bottom of the screen. So it's clear Apple's really trying to leverage iOS popularity here.

    It's far more than a graphical makeover, though, as Apple has made subtle but significant shifts to fundamental activities like saving files and quitting programs in Lion. Auto Save will be implemented on all 10.7-compatible apps, allowing all open documents to be automatically saved as changes are made. Documents can be locked to prevent accidentally overwriting data, and will be "auto-locked" if they haven't been opened in two weeks. A very interesting new development is the Versions feature: Lion will save snapshots of your documents every hour they are open, and let you browse through previous versions and restore them using a Time Machine-style interface.

    Also, the command-Q shortcut will apparently be joining command-S in the Trash Can of history with Lion's Resume feature. In addition to auto-save of documents, Lion now auto-saves program states, meaning that when you come back to a program after you log out or reboot, the windows will all be in the exact same state you left them in. The "glowing dot" indicator on the Dock is gone in Mac OS X 10.7, underscoring graphically the basic concept that - from the user perspective - there's no difference between running and non-running applications. There are just different workspaces that you switch between, in regular windows or with the new Lion full-screen interface (another iOS feature making its way to the Mac).

    There's a host of other productivity and functionality improvements. Application sandboxing means that malware will have a harder time gaining control of your system through security holes in programs. AirDrop lets you copy files to other Lion machines over the network, dropping them in the destination Mac's Download folder. You can now switch between different online accounts for Mail, iCal, Address Book and Chat - a boon for people like me with the same computer for work and personal use - using a new "Internet Accounts" preferences pane. The Finder is completely written and sports a new iTunes-like interface that automagically groups files by type. And OS X Server is now bundled with the desktop OS, rather than being a separate product as it is now. With new file-sharing and profile management tools for iDevices, it's likely that many home users as well as businesses will find themselves running Lion servers.

    In a break with traditional distribution methods, the developer preview is available through the Mac App Store rather than by download or DVD. The process has been rocky, however: numerous developers have said they could not download the preview during high utilization periods. Some have also reported that they were unable to continue downloads that had been interrupted. While some of these problems are to be expected, it raises concerns if Apple is to switch to an App-Store-only model of distributing upgrades. Will this mean that you need Mac OS X 10.6.6 to upgrade to Lion? Apple has so far not responded to requests for comment.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "Power & Magic:" What's in the Lion Dev Preview started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 68 Comments
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      I just changed the scrolling gesture, now its normal. I don't like everything that's in here, but most of it is pretty useful.
      I got used to the inverted scrolling and when I rebooted back to SnowLeopard I started getting mixed up

      I love full screen Apps and having a few open and being able to swipe between then with 4 finger left/right swipes.

      I would like to be able to swipe left/right to change between tabs in Safari, don't see myself using the gesture to go back or forward a page.

      I find the 3/4 finger up/down and pinch gestures to be a little buggy right now
      You can see in the system pref for trackpad that the examples haven't been updated yet

      I don't like the monochrome of the side bar, a la iTunes 10, but at least the x - + buttons are still horizontal and nicely smaller

      Whereas Snow Leopard was all about the fine tuning and under the hood features like 64bit, GCD, OpenCL, Lion seems to be Interface and UI
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by frail1 View Post
      I'm gonna have to agree with GmAz... I have my idevices to use as idevices. i want my macbook pro to be a macbook pro. Why are they trying to blur that line?
      Well I can say that what ever you would like to call it--- IOS or Lion. The MBP ROCKS with LION. And you don't have to use the launchpad. Also the speed seems to feel like I just installed another processor and more ram. I unplugged my laptop to see what this increased speed does to my bat. But my suspicions tell me that the life will remain the same. My only complaint thus far with LION is the time it took for me to download it thru the dev site. SLOW...

      I can say there is no real iPad or iPhone feel. Now, got to go to load Photoshop and other software like parallels to see if they work... As always with a beta I am sure there will be bugs. but from what little I have seen.. Im buying this baby! Lion = two steps forward.
    1. staterunner180's Avatar
      staterunner180 -
      I think Apple is trying to take the runaway success they had with the iPad and transfer it over to Mac. They think that so many people loved the iPad, that they should make our OS X systems more like it to attract the iPad users. Too bad the majority or people bought the iPad because it's great at what it does, that is being a TABLET. Just like people by Macs because they are good at what they do, being COMPUTERS.

      I don't want a dumbed down version of iOS on my MacBook. I'm all for unity and streamlined features, but there is a line between tablets and hand-sized devices like iPhone and iPod, and the OS X machines that so many of us on this forum have come to love. I don't like them blurring that line.
    1. karox's Avatar
      karox -
      Quote Originally Posted by hacktarded1 View Post
      Mark my words, Lion is going to move Apple to the front of the pack of the entire computing world (just like they already are for smart phones and tablets), which is EXACTLY why they are doing this.
      Apple has about 10% of the global market share, and Windows has about 90%. I highly doubt Lion will make Apple go up another ~46% needed to overtake Windows
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      I got used to the inverted scrolling and when I rebooted back to SnowLeopard I started getting mixed up

      I love full screen Apps and having a few open and being able to swipe between then with 4 finger left/right swipes.

      I would like to be able to swipe left/right to change between tabs in Safari, don't see myself using the gesture to go back or forward a page.

      I find the 3/4 finger up/down and pinch gestures to be a little buggy right now
      You can see in the system pref for trackpad that the examples haven't been updated yet

      I don't like the monochrome of the side bar, a la iTunes 10, but at least the x - + buttons are still horizontal and nicely smaller

      Whereas Snow Leopard was all about the fine tuning and under the hood features like 64bit, GCD, OpenCL, Lion seems to be Interface and UI
      Yeah I don't like all the gray it has, Apple should put some color back into it,
    1. lsixecho's Avatar
      lsixecho -
      Quote Originally Posted by GmAz View Post
      Sounds like a step in the wrong direction. I'd be pretty pissed if I had a desktop OS that looked and felt like iOS. I dunno, it sounds like Apple is dumbing their **** down so much its less than useful.
      Agreed. My parents though will love it. Whatever computer you make for people like my parents is a computer I don't want. I do not like that direction. This sums up my feelings on the subject:

      [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX9L2yOL4Rs]YouTube - Sheldon Cooper no le agrada Windows 7[/ame]
    1. gsmumbo's Avatar
      gsmumbo -
      Quote Originally Posted by staterunner180 View Post
      I think Apple is trying to take the runaway success they had with the iPad and transfer it over to Mac. They think that so many people loved the iPad, that they should make our OS X systems more like it to attract the iPad users. Too bad the majority or people bought the iPad because it's great at what it does, that is being a TABLET. Just like people by Macs because they are good at what they do, being COMPUTERS.

      I don't want a dumbed down version of iOS on my MacBook. I'm all for unity and streamlined features, but there is a line between tablets and hand-sized devices like iPhone and iPod, and the OS X machines that so many of us on this forum have come to love. I don't like them blurring that line.
      I really don't get these posts. How is this a dumbed down version of iOS at all? You have launchpad which is pretty much the iOS springboard. Guess what, it is an icon in your dock and a gesture if you set it up to be. You still have your desktop. You still have finder. You still have stacks. You still have the dock which holds applications. You still have everything you know and love about applications in OS X, except you now have the option of organizing them like you would on an iPhone. Nothing was lost, organization was gained.

      Full screen apps... Quicktime has been able to go full screen for ages. All of your applications still work in windowed mode exactly how they did before. Only difference is that if you want you now have the option of taking "maximize" to the next level and full screening it. Nothing was lost, more screen space was gained.

      iOS scrolling... It made perfect sense on the iPhone and iPad and lots of people are used to it. For people converting from Windows it gives them something familiar(oh, it works like my iPhone!). For OS X users it gives them a new way to work with scrolling. And for everybody, there is a spot in system preferences that lets you choose to use one, the other, or both. Nothing was lost, more options were gained.

      Mac App Store... while released before Lion, still falls under the same tent. You can still install 3rd party apps. Your old apps still work the same. The only difference is there is now a better way to find apps if you so choose. You never have to open the app store if you don't want to. Nothing was lost, lots of stuff was gained.

      In the end, nothing is really being lost at all. If you wanted to you could ignore all of these iOS like features and use the computer in the exact same way you always have. Apple is just giving their customers more options based on what they have found people like about iOS. I really don't understand all the hate surrounding these changes. It's not turning the mac in to an iOS device. It's adding all the things we love about iOS in to OS X as options so that we can truly customize our computing experience. If you want your iOS to stay on a tablet and not ever leave, then cool. You can not use any of those features in OS X and use your computer like you always have. If you think that you really love how you get immersed in the iPad apps and wish you could have that on a computer, then you can use fullscreen apps. It's all about choice and while I know a lot of people are used to Apple limiting choice, what do you expect them to do when you turn on them as soon as they give it to you? It seems like people are just seeing the buzzwords "computer" "osx" "mac" "iOS" and ranting without even thinking it through in the slightest.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Yeah I don't get the posts about it being dumbed down.
      There is a difference between simplified and dumbed down. It's adding (optional) features of iOS to Mac OS X and making your day to day computer use more fluid an intuitive.
      Apple have created millions of new customers with their hugely successful iOS Devices and making their laptops and desktops look and feel more familiar from the start will help Apple gain more market share.
      Almost all of these iOS style UI changes can be turned off, and you can have Lion feel more like SnowLeopard if you want.
      The power of the underlying OS has not been "dumbed down" if anything it's more powerful.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      ^ totally agree
    1. mohak1's Avatar
      mohak1 -
      how can i download it???please neone put the link for it....thanks...
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mohak1 View Post
      how can i download it???please neone put the link for it....thanks...
      You need a Mac Developer Account.
      http://developer.apple.com
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      I am installing it right now
    1. red_zone's Avatar
      red_zone -
      Quote Originally Posted by tom3k View Post
      i think that xzibit was on the dev team for it though. only way i can explain "mission control". "yo dawg, i heard you like window management, so i put your mission control inside your expose inside your spaces on your dashboard for your desktop so you can manage while you manage while managing your management"
      ahahah

      +1
    1. Waaasobe's Avatar
      Waaasobe -
      I think the reason why they are making this new os similar to iOS is to make the transition for pc users easier.
    1. red_zone's Avatar
      red_zone -
      Quote Originally Posted by Waaasobe View Post
      I think the reason why they are making this new os similar to iOS is to make the transition for pc users easier.

      Mac OS is already very user friendly the way it is now.
    1. eman297's Avatar
      eman297 -
      should i use this preview to replace SL or should i not?
    1. ceris7356's Avatar
      ceris7356 -
      If you don't mind a few bugs here and there. I would recommend that you back up everything before you install too. I installed over my main system and am loving it
    1. Twimfy's Avatar
      Twimfy -
      Quote Originally Posted by eman297 View Post
      should i use this preview to replace SL or should i not?
      I do iOS development for a living and I've made a permanent switch. I absolutely love it to bits.

      I was dreading all of the gesture and launchpad crap but on a 13" space is often a nightmare and the new features make life so much easier.

      I love having safari in full screen and accessible with just a swipe. Yeah expose and spaces allowed you to do this in a similar fashion but Lion just makes everything better.

      It's a little buggy. I've had a few issues with Admin privileges (only on one 3rd party app) and Safari is really buggy, sometimes scrolling fails and there are graphical glitches.

      Other than that it's fully functional. I've been using it all day and I've been through all of my apps and never encountered anything problematic.

      That said I've got my entire SL system backed up in Time Machine just incase, but I can't see myself downgrading.
    1. eman297's Avatar
      eman297 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twimfy View Post
      I do iOS development for a living and I've made a permanent switch. I absolutely love it to bits.

      I was dreading all of the gesture and launchpad crap but on a 13" space is often a nightmare and the new features make life so much easier.

      I love having safari in full screen and accessible with just a swipe. Yeah expose and spaces allowed you to do this in a similar fashion but Lion just makes everything better.

      It's a little buggy. I've had a few issues with Admin privileges (only on one 3rd party app) and Safari is really buggy, sometimes scrolling fails and there are graphical glitches.

      Other than that it's fully functional. I've been using it all day and I've been through all of my apps and never encountered anything problematic.

      That said I've got my entire SL system backed up in Time Machine just incase, but I can't see myself downgrading.
      ill do a partition ands see how i like it, thanks
    1. Twimfy's Avatar
      Twimfy -
      I have a few questions for people. Does anyone know how to.

      1. Re-order apps in Launch Control.
      2. Initiate fullscreen apps (or is this just app dependent at the moment?)