Mac OS X Lion – the highlights
The new-look MacBook Air and the all-new iLife 11 may be hitting the shelves sooner, but the bigger long-term news to emerge from Apple’s Back to the Mac event yesterday was the preview we were treated to of the next version of Mac OS X.
It may only be hitting your nearest Mac in anger next summer, but OS X 10.7 Lion has already made significant waves, with Apple boss Steve Jobs saying it bring “many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones”.
So let’s take a quick look on what we have to look forward to from Apple’s next OS:
An App Store for Macs: if there’s one obvious feature to take from the mobile arena it’s the app store. A success on not just iOS but countless rival mobile OSes, the App Store for Macs largely mimics the original App Store formula, but for computers.
Multitouch gestures: Apple believes touchscreens just don’t work on laptops because of the vertical angle, and is instead focusing on maximising the multitouch potential of the horizontal trackpad.
App homescreens: the desktop can become a crowded place, especially one where you can download apps from an App Store. So in another nod to iOS, Lion will allow you to group apps on their own homescreens, side-swiping between them just like on a mobile phone.
Mission Control: exactly as the name suggests, Mission Control takes on the daunting task of combining the existing Exposé, Dashboard and Spaces elements of OS X in a single all-powerful interface.
Full screen: courtesy of the green zoom button, Lion lets you ditch the clutter with the touch of a button and view the contents of the active window in full size, with nothing else on screen. It’s a feature that prioritises media consumption like never before.
There’s plenty more to soak up too, and Apple’s website does a decent job of filling in the gaps. But even at this early stage, there’s plenty to suggest that 2011 could well be the Year of the Lion.