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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. EddieLeonard's Avatar
      EddieLeonard -
      im downloading it now but its soo slow
    1. GmAz's Avatar
      GmAz -
      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.
    1. frail1's Avatar
      frail1 -
      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?
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      I like this motion towards unity. The only problem I see is that ios is built around a touch screen concept. Upgrading to lion on a non-touch screen sounds like more frustration than it might be worth.

      I can see the Mac Cydia store really coming in handy though...
    1. frail1's Avatar
      frail1 -
      sandboxing applications on my mbp, auto saves, auto imaging, wasting my space... none of this sounds any good to me. People are willing to spend the extra cash on the inflated prices because of how they perform and how comfortable they are to use now... why dumb it down and potentially step down the power/usefulness of them? This whole thing just feels horribly horribly wrong. "please upgrade your new machine that you paid thousands of dollars on so we can introduce you to the new os x fisher price edition"
    1. swehbe's Avatar
      swehbe -
      I dunno why, but i am starting to feel that Apple are slowly on their way downhill..i like my MBP as it is. I am not impressed by the iPad and definitely don't want my $2500 laptop to be transformed into one!!
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      The autosave feature sounds nice as does the snapshots for resuming after a shutdown. Sounds like VMWare to me.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      You do not have to use launchpad
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      I love the Beta, Lion is rockin'!
    1. billchase2's Avatar
      billchase2 -
      I'm unsure how I feel about these changes. I'll have to test it first before I can make up my mind.
    1. babyblue_pimp's Avatar
      babyblue_pimp -
      Apples not forcing you to use launch pad, for a majority of the people though, with the app store, a one button way to access all the apps in a iOS fashion is much better than opening an applications folder
    1. bignighttrain's Avatar
      bignighttrain -
      Can't wait love the way my iPad feels and the new os lion OMG get ready.
    1. Truckerbear's Avatar
      Truckerbear -
      People will always oppose change!
    1. Captinsmooth's Avatar
      Captinsmooth -
      Why is this in the iphone news?
    1. h2a's Avatar
      h2a -
      Installed it almost as soon as it came out. I love it. The only thing they've done is make things better. Everything else still works the same. You still have Command-Q and Command-S, auto-save is something that'll be built into apps. the auto resume windows have been wonderful so far. i love that i can reboot to where i was when i left.
    1. spazturtle's Avatar
      spazturtle -
      "automagically", classic, that made my day.
    1. mustard05's Avatar
      mustard05 -
      I downloaded it last night! I am still on the fences about my feeling towards it. Although, I have only used it for about 15 minutes. I will say in the few minutes I used it, there were certain things I liked, an certain things I disliked, but with more usage my initial feelings could definitely change. However, without a doubt, I hate the inverted scrolling. There needs to be a way to change this feature without the need for a wireless mouse, which I don't have.

      Tom
    1. hacktarded1's Avatar
      hacktarded1 -
      I can certainly understand why some people would be upset by these changes as Apple has always been for what I would consider "true computer junkies" who have a much broader knowledge base about computing in general and who are more likely to use a computer for much more complicated tasks than the typical Windows/PC user. And many of you see this Lion software "upgrade" as a move towards the over simplification or "dumbing down" of computer software in general.

      That being said, the very reason Apple's stock has shot through the roof is the simplicity and intelligent design of the iOS ecosystem built in to the iPhone and iPad. My 3 year old son can start up the iPad, navigate a few pages over to his favorite Thomas the Train game and play it all by himself for hours on end. HE'S 3 YEARS OLD!

      I'm sorry, but that's brilliant! Apple has succesfully created a computer software interface for people who were previously too inexperienced or intimidated by computers to use. This is the very reason they have become such a successful and highly sought after product.

      It only makes sense for Apple (as a company that is ultimately responsible to it's share holders) to redesign their laptop and desktop software programs to be just as accessible! This type of usability or as some of you are calling it "dumbing down" is exactly what Apple needs to do to completely take over the laptop market!

      I respect that some of you who are more computer savvy would be upset about this, but frankly, in the eyes of Apple, it's more important for them to appeal to the masses of less tech savy people (because there are A LOT more of them than there are of you), than it is for them to continue to be popular with the smaller group of "power users" who are disappointed by this change.

      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. They aren't concerned about losing a few "power users" (because where are you gonna go? what else is out there that is much better?). What they're concerned about is broadening their appeal to the masses (because that's where the money that they don't currently have in desktop and laptop market is).

      I for one am looking forward to this change and will likely be compelled to finally purchase a Mac based computer.

      That's my 2 cents on it...... well maybe more like 50 cents, so keep the change.
    1. h2a's Avatar
      h2a -
      Quote Originally Posted by mustard05 View Post
      I downloaded it last night! I am still on the fences about my feeling towards it. Although, I have only used it for about 15 minutes. I will say in the few minutes I used it, there were certain things I liked, an certain things I disliked, but with more usage my initial feelings could definitely change. However, without a doubt, I hate the inverted scrolling. There needs to be a way to change this feature without the need for a wireless mouse, which I don't have.

      Tom

      trackpad preferences.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      The scrolling gesture changed, so if you want to go down you scroll up on the trackpad and vice versa. A little weird at first.

      Quote Originally Posted by h2a View Post
      Installed it almost as soon as it came out. I love it. The only thing they've done is make things better. Everything else still works the same. You still have Command-Q and Command-S, auto-save is something that'll be built into apps. the auto resume windows have been wonderful so far. i love that i can reboot to where i was when i left.
      Completely agree, auto resume is excellent!