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Mac OS X Lion: Big cat ahoy

apps Updated: Aug 12, 2011 18:28 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani
Nikhil Hemrajani
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Apple-s-next-generation-operating-system-Mac-OS-X-10-7-Lion-was-released-to-the-public-resulting-in-a-download-frenzy-AFP

OS X Lion arrives nearly two years after Apple launched its previous Mac operating system — OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The first thing that’s apparent is the change in nomenclature. Gone is the version number (in this case 10.7) from the name.

Lion is currently only available on Apple’s App Store for an upgrade price of $29.99 (Rs 1,330 approximately). At a hefty file size of 3.5GB, people with slow internet connections will find downloading it a chore. Once downloaded, double-clicking on the file will initiate the upgrade. Back up the file, as it will be deleted once Lion has finished installing.

The first thing you’ll notice about Lion is its appearance. From buttons and folders to icons and sliders, everything looks more understated and subdued compared to the previous OS. In fact, sliders aren’t present at all, until you move your finger over the touchpad or mouse. Full-screen mode is now available in all pre-installed apps like Safari and Mail, and each instance arranges itself on another desktop.

The mail, calendar and contacts applications have been redesigned, heavily taking cues from the iPhone and iPad. The upgrade to Mail is especially important and very convenient.

Auto Save, a new feature toted by Apple, promises that you never need to save a file again. Lion automatically saves separate versions of the file you’re working on, such as a document or spreadsheet, in the background. It even allows you to access different versions Time Machine-style. Two computers using Lion can also share files wirelessly via Airdrop. This feature works over Wi-Fi and doesn’t require a host connection like a router or access point.

Lion will only install on 64bit computers, and brings with it a host of important upgrades, redesigned keeping uniformity with the iPhone and iPad in mind. The R 1,330 price tag is very affordable and it makes complete sense to upgrade your Mac to Lion. Apple will sell OS X Lion on a USB drive soon, but until then, you have no choice but to download the file.

Launchpad
If you’re familiar with Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, even the littlest bit, you won’t have the slightest problem with Launchpad. This feature takes all your applications, even those stored in the home directory Applications folder, and displays them iOS-style. Folders and apps are displayed in the same way as those in the iPhone/iPad and can even be dragged and dropped onto multiple screens.

Mission Control
Window management is something that Apple takes very seriously. ‘Exposé’, which was released a few editions ago, shows you all open documents and programmes when invoked. ‘Spaces’ allows for multiple desktops and ‘Dashboard’ lets you access various widgets. Mission Control now combines them all on one screen. Accessed via the dock, or keyboard button/shortcut, you can now see all open applications, desktops and widgets on the same screen. This step was only natural and works brilliantly.

What’s new
Previous candy-coated treatment to buttons is less garish
Fullscreen mode is available on all native applications
Mail, calendar and address book have new look and functionality
Only supported on post-2007 hardware
Multi-touch can be used throughout the OS
File Vault now does on-the-fly full disk encryption
Auto Save does seamless saving of documents
Safari uses WebKit2 engine, sports redesigned download progress indicator
System-wide text auto-correction
New looks for lock, login screen and ‘About This Mac’
Airdrop for filesharing between Macs running OS X Lion
No support for PowerPC apps
No support for hardware older than 2007