OS X Lion Retail Impressions

My first Lion OSX Retail install (from the Mac App Store) went pretty smooth.  At first, my bootcamp partition wasn’t mounting, because MacFuse gave a generic ‘could-not-mount’ error (71).  Luckily I came across this blog post to fix it (I know it says Snow Leopard, but the fix works for Lion as well).  After that, my bootcamp partition was mounting again, and all that remained was for me to download Java (required by Adobe CS5’s updating service), and re-sync my Apple Magic Trackpad, that had somehow been kicked out of my system.   The only visible bug left is an occasional NTFS-3G complaint about the Bootcamp partition not being available fast enough, but that is no biggie.  So far, everything else is fine…  So onto the impressions:

On first note, I’m pretty satisfied.  Lion feels snappier.  That could be because the mouse speed is maybe turned up a notch by default, but so far, Lion feels like a much faster cat than Snow Leopard.  The eye candy transitions are something you’ll need to get used to, especially if you are on a big screen.  Try going back and forth to full-screen in an app that supports it… It’s almost nauseating.  Regardless, they are smooth, and the speed is appreciated.  By now, the major new features have been done to death, and my impressions are not much different than the general consensus:

  • mission control is a slightly more useful exposé
  • launchpad is a tacked-on iOS gimmick that doesn’t feel right in OS X… yet
  • yes, the scrolling takes getting used to – I refuse to revert to ‘old’ scrolling just yet
  • yes, there are more gestures for that trackpad than ever, and it’s going to be interesting trying to learn them all (good luck)
  • the continue-where-you-left-off application state saving is interesting, but borderline annoying and will probably get a lot of porn-surfers in trouble if they close windows quickly and just walk away (lol)

Despite these 50/50 type features (half good, half bad), there is a LOT in Lion to love.  The best feature?  The new gestures for the Magic Mouse!  Double-finger swipe left or right to change spaces.  In the new Safari, use a single finger to swipe left and right for back and forth for navigation.  You can literally ‘peak’ at the last page you were at, forwards or backwards.  That is cool stuff, and this new Safari feature completely blows other browsers out of the water.  I realize it is not limited to Lion, but it’s still a great introduction to what Apple is thinking, and where things are going:

Peeking at the last page
Peeking at the last page

Other cool features?  The in-line spell-checking is simply amazing.  That’s an iOS feature that is more than welcomed.  Also, like iOS, hold down a key, and get presented with all the variations of accent notation for that letter.  Awesome!:

In just a few minutes, I’ve discovered a set of features and a feel I already cannot imagine not having again… so it makes the $29 price tag more than justified.  I get the impression that Lion will grow on me even more over time, as I learn about all the hidden gems that Apple loves planting in their new releases.  Heck, just to learn all the new trackpad gestures is going to take me months probably.  It isn’t all roses though…

Here is one thing I didn’t like:

Feels like 1984…. Is that irony?
Feels like 1984…. Is that irony?

Apple is continuing it’s crusade against color.  I mean, look at that.  It’s boring… it’s sterile…. it’s soooo….. Apple?  Strange that they would choose such a drab design for something so essential.  I love the icons…. but bring back the color Apple!!  Which brings me to gripe #2…. certain things (such as the Finder navigator above) have a look that reminds me of Linux.  That’s not a good thing.

Other than that, I’m happy to be getting to know this new big cat.  Let’s hope it doesn’t bite me in the long run.

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One thought on “OS X Lion Retail Impressions

  1. I have to say I love the gray icons they look so smooth. I hope some day the aqua buttons will be gone and replaced by square one that don’t shine. I love minimalistic design!

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