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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. geiman's Avatar
      geiman -
      I believe you are referring to LaunchPad correct? I just click and drag the apps and I can move them wherever I want. Not sure about fullscreen apps, haven't tried any yet.

      On a side note, I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but you can close apps just like you traditionally would; even though the indicator on the dock is gone, if you know an app is running and you right click the icon in the dock, you get an option to quit the app. Maybe this was common sense for most, but the way it was being reported in all the rumors/updates they made it sound as if you would not be allowed to actually shut down apps anymore. Its nice to know you still can.

      And man is the scrolling taking some getting used to after how many years of the old way; the new way does seem more intuitive though, I'm sure after a bit I'll like it better than the old method.
    1. Twimfy's Avatar
      Twimfy -
      Quote Originally Posted by geiman View Post
      I believe you are referring to LaunchPad correct? I just click and drag the apps and I can move them wherever I want. Not sure about fullscreen apps, haven't tried any yet.

      On a side note, I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but you can close apps just like you traditionally would; even though the indicator on the dock is gone, if you know an app is running and you right click the icon in the dock, you get an option to quit the app. Maybe this was common sense for most, but the way it was being reported in all the rumors/updates they made it sound as if you would not be allowed to actually shut down apps anymore. Its nice to know you still can.

      And man is the scrolling taking some getting used to after how many years of the old way; the new way does seem more intuitive though, I'm sure after a bit I'll like it better than the old method.
      I meant more moving an app from one "screen" to another in Launchpad. For some reason I have 6 launchpad screens some of which only have one app on them, I don't know how it organises it all.
    1. geiman's Avatar
      geiman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twimfy View Post
      I meant more moving an app from one "screen" to another in Launchpad. For some reason I have 6 launchpad screens some of which only have one app on them, I don't know how it organises it all.
      Right, you mean the screen where you select an app to open right? Like in iOS? You just drag the icon to the side of the screen and it moves it to the next screen. I had two pages of apps, then everything else was just one app to a screen, so I moved them all together. Instead of having 15 pages with only one app, I now have 4 pages of apps consolidated.

      Also, anyone running it on a Macbook (pro)? I think I found a bug. On mine, sometimes when I let it sit idle long enough that it turns off the screen (I have it configured so that it won't sleep when plugged in) the backlight on the keyboard will still increase/decrease with changes in lighting.
    1. Twimfy's Avatar
      Twimfy -
      Quote Originally Posted by geiman View Post
      Right, you mean the screen where you select an app to open right? Like in iOS? You just drag the icon to the side of the screen and it moves it to the next screen. I had two pages of apps, then everything else was just one app to a screen, so I moved them all together. Instead of having 15 pages with only one app, I now have 4 pages of apps consolidated.

      Also, anyone running it on a Macbook (pro)? I think I found a bug. On mine, sometimes when I let it sit idle long enough that it turns off the screen (I have it configured so that it won't sleep when plugged in) the backlight on the keyboard will still increase/decrease with changes in lighting.
      Thanks. I did try that, tried it again and it works I just have to wait a really long time for them to move screens.

      I've just realised that Lion now allows 64-bit kernel to be enabled on my Macbook 6,1 wondered why it was a bit quicker.

      Bug found: Sleep doesn't work. Sleep light comes on but the screen is still switched on. All it does is start the screen saver.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Anyone else's Fans not responding to increases in Temperature?
      In Lion, my fans just stay at ~2000rpm, but even when the CPU temp increases they don't go any faster.
      I reset the SMC but no change. Thank god I noticed it when my CPU Temp was at 80 degrees celsius.
      Not gonna be able to use Lion really until thats fixed.
    1. geiman's Avatar
      geiman -
      What processor do you have? 80 degrees celsius is pretty normal, at least for my gen 5,2 macbook pro. My fans don't kick on (loudly at least) until it gets closer to 90. With all the development I do, my laptop spends a good bit of time around 100 degrees. I think you'll be fine at 80.
    1. mustard05's Avatar
      mustard05 -
      I have noticed some extra heat while running Lion also. I have also noticed tht it takes about 3 times as long to shut down. The HD just keeps spinning!
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      Sweet icant wait for this update