Unless you’re just getting off the Dark Side of the Moon Shuttle™ then you’ve heard that Apple’s Mac OS X Lion is on the way.
Lion is powerful, loaded with a gazillion juicy new features, comes with a low price tag, and you won’t have to stand in line to get it. Love or hate the Mac App Store, that’s where Apple (for now) has chosen to sell Lion. What’s the problem? Lion’s new features and purchase method are advanced. And simple. And scary.
Good News And Bad News
The good news is that OS X Lion will be cheap. Less than $30. The bad news is that it’s only going to be made available as a download from the Mac App Store.
The good news? I’ll bet Apple changes that purchase policy.
Why? Hello? Dial up users? Broadband internet penetration is fine for those who have it. What about a few million Mac users still stuck on dial up, Apple? That idea won’t stick.
The bad news? Apple is out of kitty cat names. Hello Kitty didn’t make the cut. Lion is king of the jungle. There’s nothing left. In 2013 we’ll see the circle of life complete with plain old iOS for Mac (my prediction; hold me to it).
The good news is that Lion looks a lot like the interface from an iPhone, an iPod touch, and an iPod. The Mac’s Dock is still there. So is the Menubar. In between is the Launch Pad, a skin graft from the iPhone’s app launch buttons.
Remember, dear Mac user, there are many gazillion million more iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users than Mac users. Apple needed to make a comfortable and familiar face on the Mac for the growing stream of new Mac owners.
The bad news is that Launch Pad kinda sorta dumbs down the Mac’s interface, making it easier to use for those tens of millions of Windows PC sufferers who plan to switch to the Mac.
The good news is that all the dumbing down of Mac OS X’s user interface actually makes it easier to use Lion than Apple’s predecessor cats. Three of every four Macs sold has a trackpad, and Apple has plenty of finger gestures to make a Mac like an iPhone.
The bad news is that remembering those many trackpad gestures is so difficult that you need a plastic cheat sheet.
More Good News And Bad News
The good news is that many Mac apps are going full screen instead of all those crazy, multi-sized floating app windows. Good riddance, folks. I paid for that larger Mac screen so I demand an app that fits.
The bad news is that figuring out how to use all those new ways to use is a Mac is more difficult than ever. There’s Launch Pad. There’s Mission Control. The Menubar. The Dock. Spaces. Confusing, no?
The good news is that Apple has decided what’s good for Mac User Utopia and added Versions, Resume, and Auto Save to Lion. Add those three to Time Machine and the only way we’ll lose any data on a Mac is to download destructive Mac trojan horse malware.
The bad news is that there’s more malware for Macs this year than last year. The good news is that Apple knows that and has more built-in malware protection in Lion. The bad news is that some users don’t know malware from the Tea Party. I’m having difficulty with that one, too.
The good news is that Mac OS X Lion has over 200 more new and improved features (Apple likes to call what’s improved new). AirDrop looks to kill sneaker net. Lion comes with a built-in restore partition to repair or reinstall OS X without discs. Without discs? Yep. Apple plans to kill CDs and DVDs, too.
The bad news attached to all these candy coated good news items is that Apple is pushing the envelope again, dragging Mac users into the future. Lion, for now, will be download only and only from the Mac App Store. Let me repeat. Download only. Over four gigabytes of download. Pity the metered bandwidth Mac user. Pity the clock watcher.
In the time it takes to download four gigabytes of Lion and get it installed, I could drive to the nearest Apple Store, stand in line, grab my Lion disk, head home and install it on a couple of Macs. I hope this new fangled upgrade method works. It will need to be flawless. If not, many millions of Mac Snow Leopard users will burn up the phone lines to Apple Support. Cross your fingers.