Did you hear? Apple introduced a new version of Mac OS X. This latest cat, oddly dubbed Lion, was released quietly to a million Mac users this week.
It’s unlikely you’ve read or heard much about Lion. Apple is so good at keeping secrets. Because so few Mac users are likely to know about the newfangled way to obtain Lion, here’s the Mac360 Hitchhiker’s Ultimate Guide to Everything You Want To Know About OS X Lion™.
The Magnificent Apple Hype Machine
It was a chilly day in October 2010 when Apple’s secret hype machine went into overdrive. CEO Steve Jobs announced Mac OS X Lion, and how the company’s successful iPhone and iPad would give something Back to the Mac.
That something turned out to be Launchpad, an iOS-like array of app icons scattered on the Mac’s screen, mildly reminiscent of the apps on iPhones and iPads.
That was about the last we heard of Mac OS X Lion until the spring of 2011, when Apple announced the new version’s ship date (more of a suggestion than an actual date), and updated the company web site with pages that described a few of Lion’s new features.
Apple’s marketing hype machine went into overdrive this week when the company’s COO, Tim Cook, inadvertently mentioned on a Tuesday that Lion would ship to the Mac masses on Wednesday, the following day.
How To Get A Lion In Your Mac’s Tank
So much for pre-launch hype, Apple. And, ship? It’s not as though Lion would go from Apple’s factory direct to the Apple Store or UPS to your door. No, Lion, for now, was christened as download only. The only way to get Lion is through the newly launched Mac App Store (think iPhone App Store but for Macs—duh!). That means Mac users must have OS X Snow Leopard to run the Mac App Store app to get Lion to download.
Gone are the days of standing in line in front of the Apple Store, chugging bottles of water in the warm evening sun, talking to Mac geeks about how RISC is still better than CISC, or how Apple’s move to Intel CPUs was wrong on a religious level, and taking home an official Apple T-shirt and shrink wrapped little box in exchange for $129, then waiting an hour while the latest cat installed itself on your Mac.
Nope. The new Apple overlords have a better way for the congregation to pay the tithe. Click, click, click, installed easy peazy. Lion goes for the measly sum of $29. Install it on all your Macs. Same price. If you’re a slow adopter (or, don’t have a high speed internet connection) Apple promises Lion will be available on a USB thumb drive. Someday.
Lion installed on my husband’s Mac in about 30-minutes. It installed on a clean, external hard disk drive connected to my Mac in about 10-minutes. The first thing Lion does upon startup is tell you that you don’t know how to use mouse or trackpad to scroll, and promptly gives you lessons. After that, Lion is familiar, friendly, fetching, and oddly refreshing.
What The World Says About Lion
Here’s the real deal. Apple’s hype machine doesn’t say much. They announce. We wait. They give us details. We read. We wait. They launch. We buy. Next year it all gets repeated on another product. It’s the circle of life, Apple style.
Officially Apple – Here is everything Apple wants you to know about OS X Lion. The graphics are pretty, the movies are interesting, the details are sparse, but you don’t care, and that’s how Apple likes it.
The Geek’s Review – It took longer to read John Siracusa’s Ars Technica review of Lion than it did to download and install Lion on my Mac. 19 pages. If Siracusa’s review was a digital book your iPhone would weigh two extra pounds. Nobody’s review of Lion has more detail that you won’t care about.
Wall Street Walt – Proving that old guys can be chic and hip (what happens when you have a goatee and an artificial hip), the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg proclaimed Lion “the best computer operating system out there.” If Apple would send me new products to use a month in advance, then I’d proclaim it the best and maybe even use more words (but no goatee).
Go Lion, Embrace The iPad – The New York Times’ David Pogue figured out that Mac OS X Lion was somewhat like the iPad, with all those touch gestures. Pogue also announced that touchscreen computers will never work. Apple already knows that, hence the touch part is on the touchpad or the touch mouse, and not the screen, where Tommy John surgery is required after a mere week of using such elbow and shoulder destroying devices.
CNET Says OTAY To Lion – Remember when PC magazines hated Apple in general and Macs specifically? Now, everyone at CNET has an iPhone or an iPod or a Mac or all of the above. In the creatively titled Apple Mac OS X Lion for Mac, Jason Parker waxes poetic and seems to completely rewrite Apple’s web site copy to create a lengthy article of love. At least Jason noticed the new Safari Reading List web page bookmarking feature. He praises Lion’s new features, and tells Windows PC users how good their life will be with Lion, before concluding with a list annoyances and gimmicks.
The Lion Roars – What about Computerworld? Michael Gartenberg says Apple’s latest cat roars. He also noticed that while Microsoft stuffs Windows onto tablets, Apple thinks different by bringing familiar iPhone and iPad features back to the Mac. Tech folks are nothing if not insightful. He also notes that “mind-share does indeed lead to market share,” which is why the Kardashians are Mac users.
Best Lion Graphic Award – MSNBC’s Gadgetbox gets the award for coolest Apple Lion graphic, but only after admitting that Lion is “worth the upgrade.” Of course it is. Rosa Golijan took one look at Apple’s Lion web pages and penned a wonderfully thorough missive on Multi-touch Gestures, Full-Screen Apps, Mission Control, Launchpad, Auto Save, Versions, Airdrop, and the all important Big Little Things.
Auto Correction is built in to Lion to fix your typos, on the fly, while you plagiarize. Resume means you don’t have to close everything down when you shut down. Lion will bring it back to you when you start up again the next day. Porn sites, too.
Window Resizing means open app windows can be resized by grabbing any border; top, bottom, left, or right (not too sure about those hexagonal apps yet). The most annoying new feature is All My Files, which shows up in the newly fangled Finder’s Sidebar. All your Mac’s files. One window. Trust me. You’ll only go there once.
Always trying to be politically correct, MSNBC points out what you get for what you pay ($29.99 vs. 250 new features) and how you get it and what you need to do to get your Mac ready to get it. Get it?
The Lion Roars Again – Not to be outdone by the roaring Lion of MSNBC, USA Today says Lion roars, too. Ed Baig takes a more analytical-than-how-to approach to Lion, and admitting that he uses Mission Control. OK, that’s two. Apple VP Phil Schiller and Baig.
Of course, America’s newspaper, trying to be as fair and balanced as anyone, found two Lion glitches, but concluded that “Mac faithful feed their computer to the Lions.” Oh that I could turn such phrases.
Known Issues – Hey, besides Microsoft, who do we love to hate the most? Can you say Adobe? Here’s why. Despite having Mac OS X Lion since the earliest of beta days last year, there’s a list of Adobe products that have known issues with Lion. Funny, but every Adobe app I have has known issues.
One Million Per Day – Considering the lack of hype, Mac OS X Lion seems to have caught on with Mac users hungry for something to do before visiting the Apple Store to put fingerprints on any device with glass. TUAW points out that over one million Lion downloads took place on launch day. At that rate, Apple will have a 50-percent market share in just a year.
No Easy Peazy For You – Aha. You thought Lion would be a walk in the jungle, right? Click, download, try out new apps and features with total and complete impunity? Think again. Lion comes with plenty of gotchas as TUAW’s Mel Martin points out. His aging NAS device didn’t work. That’s one. A POP email account didn’t work. That’s two. Uh, that’s all. Please. Everyone. Please check your NAS devices. You have one, don’t you?
This Is My Next What? – I love this site. Creativity abounds with the creatively titled Mac OS X Lion Review. It’s a good one and includes all the steps from startup to feature exploration with stops along all the new items Apple wants tech writers to writer about, plenty of big graphics, and an opportunity to practice your new Lion scrolling techniques.
Unlike Ars Technica’s thorough review laid out in 19 pages (19 times the advertising), This Is My Next puts it all on a single page, so by the time you read the article you’ll know how to scroll the new Apple way.
The Gadget Review – No list of reviews is complete without an Engadget review, right? The Apple OS X Lion (10.7) review covers everything everyone else published and gives you yet another opportunity to practice your new scrolling technique, but not a mention anywhere of Lion’s new security features.
Lion, King Of Security – Who’s your daddy, Ubuntu? Wassup, Windows 7, malware magnet? None other than The Register says that OS X Lion is the newly crowned king of security. All that malware that plagues Windows PC users and never bothers Mac users? It’s still out there, but Apple has quietly built in more security without bothering to say much about it. At least two computer security researchers say Lion is the new king of the security jungle.
Discussing Lion – Finally, before you download and launch Lion on your Mac, take a healthy dose of Mac OS X v10.7 Lion from Mac users who have trouble with Lion in the Apple Support Communities. Whenever my Macs are running just fine, thank you very much, I check out Apple’s discussion groups so I can feel better that my Macs work fine. When they don’t, I travel to the same place to find out why. Either way, it works for me.
Tips And Tricks – Lastly (which comes after Finally—see above), here’s my list of how to make your Lion experience a good one. First, make sure your current Mac apps are up to date and certified to run on Lion. Second, download Lion from the Mac App Store, then copy the app Install Mac OS X Lion (it’s in your Mac’s Applications folder) to another location or to another Mac (so you won’t have to download it again for each Mac in your household). Third, backup your Mac and test the backup.
Fourth, read everything you can about Lion before installation, so you don’t have any surprises. Finally, install. On a freshly minted, newly wiped, clean hard disk drive, sans Snow Leopard, the entire installation was less than 10 minutes. On an app loaded with Snow Leopard Mac (my husband’s—shhh; don’t tell him), it took a little over half an hour). Your mileage may vary, but, so far, no problems to speak of. Except learning how to scroll again.