If all goes according to rumored plan, OS X Lion should hit stores by July 14 alongside new hardware to run the new OS. I’ve played with the Gold Master over the weekend and I’m pleased to report it is stable and a unique version of OS X, more complete than other, iterative updates like Snow Leopard. I won’t bore you with all the new stuff under the hood but let’s look at a few of the cool new features MacLovers will soon be using on a daily basis.
All My Files View – All My Files is just that – all of your files, ordered by kind, name, date, and modification times. It’s a bit hard to figure out All My Files at first but once you see the utility, it becomes indispensable. You can also organize your own views, selecting files of a certain type that you edited in the past few days or finding all of the disk hogging images on your hard dive. It’s nothing too earth shattering, but it’s useful.
Launchpad – Does that picture remind you of anything? The icons? The little app folders? The little dots at the botton to signify current page? Of all the cues Lion takes from iOS, this spot is most strikingly hints at a future touch interface. Add in four-finger pinch and zoom gestures and you have almost instantaneous access to your apps.
AirDrop – AirDrop is like Dropbox for OS X users. You can see other computers nearby and send them files just by dropping them on their icon. It’s a bit hard to demonstrate it without other Lion users around, but it should be interesting when it starts to work. It will also be an excellent way to send kitten pictures to your co-workers while they’re trying to work.
Mission Control – OS X Lion does away with spaces and instead offers a new four-finger scroll movement that slides between your desktops and Daskboard. Gone is the “Dashboard flying in from outer space effect” and instead Dashboard appears to be another desktop. Mission Control shows a real-time representation of every app currently running and offers instant access to the windows you currently have open.
The New Mail – The new Mail app allows for threaded conversations, a la the iPhone and has a decidedly iPhone-like interface. The Junk Filter changes an email’s color and refuses to download images until you request them and there is a simple, two pane interface (emails and a viewer) that can pop out to a three-pane (a list of accounts appears) interface if needed.
Runner Up… Diskless Install! -
This has to be one of the coolest aspects of the new Lion – a completely DVD-free install. You grab the DMG, mount it, and run the update. A few minutes later you have OS X Lion on your machine. It is a real boon for those running Airs and it makes you feel a little better because you’re helping the environment and not wasting a DVD.