FRAMINGHAM, 25 FEBRUARY 2011 - Apple (AAPL) on Thursday gave us another sneak peek at what's in store for the next major release of Mac OS X, dubbed Lion, due out this summer. Between the iOS-inspired features we saw in the first Lion preview in October and the new features the company revealed today, it's clearer than ever that Apple isn't merely getting Back to the Mac. With Lion, Apple is getting back to basics, making significant changes and adding new features that are all focused on making the Mac easier to use and more accessible to both new and longtime users.
Apple has always touted the Mac as the "computer for the rest of us," wearing its reputation on its shoulder for designing intuitive interfaces and great experiences. But there have always been parts of Mac OS X where those claims just don't hold up. Remember the last time you tried to explain to your parents or non-technical friends how to download and install Firefox from a Disk Image--or for that matter, what a Disk Image even is? With the meteoric rise of iOS and the iPad changing our perception of the personal computer, Mac OS X can sometimes look downright Windows-y by comparison.
Lion is designed to fix that.
You got your iOS in my Mac OS
Apple isn't kidding around when it says the iPad was the inspiration for many of the big additions and changes in Mac OS X Lion. In the October preview, we saw some of the blossoming fruits of iOS's muse: full-screen apps, even deeper multitouch support with new gestures, and a new Launchpad view of all your apps that was stolen straight off the iPad's homescreen--all are focused on making parts of Mac OS X and our apps more accessible.
There is a general theme in Lion of simplifying Mac OS X, either by streamlining existing features or by bringing iOS workflow perks to the Mac. For example, Apple unveiled a new Lion feature on Thursday, called AirDrop, which is "a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup." But this just sounds like an update and rebranding of the Bonjour file sharing and public folder features that Mac OS X has had all along, except the goal of AirDrop is to make file sharing between family and coworkers much, much easier to grasp and use. Like it did for some parts of iOS, Apple simplified existing Mac OS X features and polished them up with a better interface.
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