Apple CEO Steve Jobs let the cat out of the bag. The next edition of Mac OS X, version 10.7, is Lion. The King of the Jungle.
What will make Lion different, better, more usable than OS X Snow Leopard? When will Lion debut? Why is Apple bringing iPhone and iPad features to the Mac? So many questions. So little time. And, so little information about Lion.
King Of The Jungle
I don’t want to get too far ahead of Apple or my limited vision, but I remember it said that a cat has nine lives. Mac OS X Lion is cat number eight in the string. Maybe Lion is the last cat.
Whatever. Lion comes to the Mac with a very limited introduction.
New features? Most of what Lion is, at least what we know of Lion today, centers on three areas.
Cosmetic tweaks to the user interface. Decidedly iPad and iPhone interface features. And, the Mac App Store.
The Magic Of iPad In Lion
iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users by the tens of millions like Apple’s iOS user interface. Apps are icons and launch with a touch. Mac OS X Lion gets many of those best user interface features.
See anything familiar?
Lion sports the familiar Mac OS X Dock, but a click (or touch) of LaunchPad launches your apps on screen—just as in the iPhone and iPad.
Using a mouse gesture or Magic Trackpad gesture, the LaunchPad windows move left and right—just as in the iPhone and iPad.
Folders of apps can be created just as they are created in the iOS interface on iPhone and iPad.
Apple is pushing to touch interface as a key line of differentiation. First with the iPhone and iOS, now with iOS interface elements in the Mac. Remember, most Macs are notebooks which have a trackpad.
All iMacs come with a Magic Mouse, which is a touchpad, too. Touch is where Apple rules. For now.
The Mac App Store
Apple also announced the Mac App Store, which is a Mac version of the highly successful iTunes App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
The Mac App Store works the same way. Read app details and reviews, click to purchase. Downloads happen automatically. So do updates. When a new version is ready, you receive an App Store notification, just as with iPhone and iPad apps.
Apple says the Mac App Store will open in about 90 days, near the end of January 2011. Mac app developers will need to submit their apps for approval to be included in the App Store, sharing 30-percent of the sales revenue with Apple.
Lion Interface Tweaks
Apple didn’t announce much about Lion other than the Mac App Store and the LaunchPad. Two features of note include Full Screen Apps and Mission Control.
Full Screen Apps? It’s what you think it is. Click the green button in the upper left corner of each app window, and it becomes full screen. Why? Because full screen is the way it’s done on the iPhone and iPad, the Mac should have it, too.
What about Mission Control?
Mission Control is a new Lion feature which brings Expose’, Spaces, Dashboard Widgets, and the new Full Screen apps, all to one control, which also works with swipe and touch gestures on Apple’s Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad, and notebook trackpads.
That’s about it.
Apple hasn’t provided additional details about what else is in Mac OS X Lion.
That means there’s no new details on what’s under the hood. No details on Mail or Safari or iCal improvements. No details on any additional synchronization capabilities between Macs or to cloud services.
What we know is that Lion is targeted for launch in mid 2011. Apple’s sneak peak didn’t sneak much out the door.
What Lion does is bring certain interface functions from iPhone and iPad and iPod touch—iOS—to the Mac, making the Mac even more familiar to the tens of millions of Windows PC users.