The windows disappear and the screen becomes populated with rows of apps. You can move between pages of applications by swiping two fingers across the trackpad. Apps will appear in Launchpad as soon as they're download from the App Store. You can also manually drag applications there. To delete an app, hold down on it until it begins to jiggle sound familiar? That cutesy wiggling only happens with apps you can re-download in the Mac App Store; if not, removing software won't be that easy. As for the App Store, it now comes built into Lion, as you might have guessed by now.
In another flourish reminiscent of iOS, you can also create folders in Launchpad by dragging one app onto another. A gray area will appear on the screen, allowing you to add more apps. Once created, the folder will appear as its own icon. Mail is one of many Apple-built applications that takes advantage of Lion's push toward the full-screen, devoting the left side of the screen to a list of messages with two-line previews you can go into system preferences and make these longer. On the right, meanwhile, you'll see the emails themselves, grouped together in conversations.
1. Ensure Your PC is Compatible
Search has also been improved, letting users drill through attachments and filter results according to sender and subject. True to its name, the Address Book defaults to book mode, forgoing the card-based organization of past versions. The application supports Yahoo syncing, iPhoto import, and lets you make FaceTime calls directly from the app. Apple's video player also got an upgrade with Lion, offering up, among other things, some simple editing capabilities. New on the list are the ability to export audio-only tracks, rotate clips, and record a portion of the screen.
Most notable, however, is the ability to merge clips, by simply dragging a file onto an open clip, creating a timeline on the bottom of the screen, which should look familiar to anyone who has spent any time with iMovie, achieving Apple's consistent goal of adding functionality while maintaining simplicity. The program's functionality as an editor is still quite limited -- after all, Apple's certainly not looking to cannibalize its own iMovie brand. Resume, Autosave, and Versions will likely be the most important additions for many of you, particularly given that mobile devices are supposedly geared toward data consumption, while PCs are more ideal for data creation.
Resume saves apps automatically, opening them up where you left off, even when you restart the entire system.
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By now, this is a pretty standard feature for browsers, which reopen the tabs you were using when the program crashed. Resume does them one better, though, in that it works across applications, remembering not only what you were last doing with the app, but also the size of windows and their place on the screen. Unlike some other new Lion features, Resume actually worked with a lot of third-party apps, including Word and Firefox. When you restart or shut down a system with applications open, a dialog box will ask whether you would like to open all the windows intact when the system reboots.
If your shutdown was a bit more forced on the other hand, the system will prompt the same question after you've rebooted. If you do nothing in that second scenario, the system will automatically log you into all of your closed applications after one minute. Anyone want to bet we'll soon hear plenty of cautionary tales about people who had, er, unfortunate windows open up on them in mixed company?
Auto Save and Versions are likely to save a lot of heartbreak for a lot of users.
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Auto Save builds saving functionality into the operating system so that when you have unsaved changes in a document, for example, Lion adds "Edited" to the title and saves changes, protecting you from the nightmare of losing all that data in the event that you forget to hit Command - S. Although the OS saves every change automatically, it only folds these tweaks into a new versio n once an hour. That's actually a good thing: using our jobs as an example, we wouldn't want Lion to create a different version every time we fiddled with a word choice or added a comma. Also, don't be alarmed by the thought of all the versions you might rack up: Apple assures us each version is not saved as a separate file.
You can also lock a document, duplicate it, revert to an old version, or view all versions -- all by clicking the title bar. Clicking "duplicate" will make an identical copy of your current document to pop up alongside the one you're currently using. Clicking "lock" will protect the document from accidental changes -- if changes are made once the document is located, a dialog box will prompt you to unlock, cancel, or create a duplicate document.
Clicking "view all versions" launches Versions, a Time Machine-like screen with a familiar outer space background, featuring the latest version of the document on the left and a stack of previous versions on the right. Clicking each one will bring you back to the previous version, along with the time it was created.
Here you can revert to the last saved version, if you're so inclined -- if you revert, changes lost during that decision continue to exist in the Versions layout, for future reference. Versions, along with Auto Save, will be a likely favorite for anyone who spends a significant amount of time word processing. Unfortunately, the features are still fairly limited -- they work with Apple programs like TextEdit, Automator, and Preview, but not popular third-party programs like Microsoft Word.
Something tells us that functionality is likely not far behind. The latest version of Safari v5. It's a feature that translates pretty well into this desktop version. Apple also promises fewer crashes in this build, thanks to a new process architecture that separates content and browser interaction from one another, so unresponsive pages don't bring down the entire program.
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There's some welcome security and privacy enhancements on board as well, including the ability to sandbox webpages to isolate potential malicious actions and a feature that lists -- and lets you remove -- all of the sites storing data via cookies and other sources on your system.
Easily one of the most exciting new features of OS X, AirDrop is an incredibly simple drag-and -drop file sharing system that allows you to swap files with other Macs over WiFi. The feature is baked directly into the Finder, appearing directly under All My Files. Clicking AirDrop will activate a sonar symbol, indicating that the system is searching for other compatible computers read: with Lion installed.
Once you've activated AirDrop, you'll be visible on other people's Macs, with your icon and user ID identifying you. Likewise, exiting Airdrop will automatically make you appear unavailable. Dragging a file onto another user's icon in the radar rings will prompt a box asking whether you do, indeed, want to send the file. Once okayed, the other user must confirm he or she wants to receive it. Transaction agree upon, an animated image of the folder leaps into the receiver's Downloads folder. The files are encrypted, and show up in the user's downloads folder.
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Perhaps coolest of all is the fact that files can be transferred without connecting to a router; rather, they can get the job done over peer-to-peer WiFi, assuming their Airports are enabled and the computers are within 30 feet of each other. This isn't the first wireless transfer system we've seen, of course, but Apple executes it with typically user-friendly panache.
It's easy to see home users and coworkers alike getting plenty of use out of the feature. Apple has introduced a handful of features meant to address this, including application sandboxing, to prohibit harmful programs from infecting the entire system. Also on-board is a new privacy center, which helps users opt in and out of things like location targeting, for which the company has taken flack in the past. It should be reasonably well known at this point that this is an upgrade over Snow Leopard -- meaning if you're unable to upgrade to that OS you're going to be left out of the loop here, too.
If you're still rolling with a PowerPC-based machine it should come as no surprise that you're not invited to this party, but Rosetta support has also been axed, meaning none of your legacy apps are going to be let past the velvet rope either. We didn't notice any major hangups on our clean system when installing Lion -- no force quits, no stumbling applications, even amongst not Apple programs like Firefox, which can sometimes be a burden on an overworked system.
Our more seasoned laptop had a bit more trouble, however, with an additional restart required, as mentioned above. We also ran into some compatibility issues with Firefox plug-ins, which required some troubleshooting -- Safari, not surprisingly, fared a lot better with the reinstall.
If you're running Lion, it means you've got a bit Intel-based Mac yes, that includes the Core 2 Duo MacBooks that started selling a few years ago. As of this writing read: the day Lion started shipping , it's only available on the newly refreshed MacBook Air and Mac Mini, but you can expect it to roll out to all of the other Mac desktops and laptops over the coming weeks. Over all, standard computing tasks didn't seem all that faster either -- like most other features in the operating system, light users likely won't notice drastic improvements on a day-to-day basis.
On the other hand, the system with Lion was able to complete more labor intensive tasks like exporting a video in iMovie in significantly less time, shaving precious minutes, from eight down to five. We benchmarked the updated system with Geekbench, and found a noticeable drop in scores, from 5, to 5, -- a dip that we didn't notice ourselves. We were also unable to get Xbench to run on any Lion system we tested, making us wonder if either benchmark is really Lion-friendly at this point.
If Apple's end game is a complete shift away from the personal computer, Lion feels like a transitional operating system -- one that hasn't quite sealed the deal. After all, even though features sounds like an impressively round number, most of the offerings are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, in keeping with a precedent Snow Leopard set.
Between that and Apple's decision to make the operating system available through the nascent Mac App Store, it feels almost is if the company is downplaying the significance of this update, even as it tosses around the title of "the world's most advanced desktop operating system. Some of the features like AirDrop and Versions may be enough to wow users by themsleves, but this upgrade is unlikely to upend most Mac users' workflow. Chances are, though, you'll find more than enough features amongst the plus to justify that modest price tag. Buyer's Guide. Log in. Sign up.
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