Apple's new big cat is here, and it's going to change a hell of a lot about the way you use your Mac. It packs the best of the iPad, costs $31.99, and is only available in the App Store.
Full-screen mode is one of the most dramatic aspects of the new operating system - all apps will have full screen powers. Applications like iLife '11 have elements that fill your whole screen to pull off a specific function. Multiple fullscreen apps (and your Safari browsing!) will be easily swipe-able via baked-in multitouch, and it looks gorgeous.
Say goodbye to the clutter of multiple windows. This is UI minimalism.
Mission Control is essentially a new Exposé, integrating the Dock, Dashboard and and thumbs of all open programs, both windowed and full screen. Rather than having to navigate these disparate interfaces, you can bring them all up with one move.
Flinging windows to different spaces also just got a whole lot easier, as Lion will let you drag whatever you're working with into sortable stacks in the top-right corner. When you're done with them, just drag them apart. Again, looks super simple.
Launchpad is more or less lifted straight off the iPad. Instead of having to click through to your applications folder or a select bunch on the dock, every program you have installed can be brought up and launched in iOS-style pages. Easily scannable, super simplified.
This is what your apps look like:
And this is what folders look like:
Now this is seriously neat. Lion will remember everything about an application the moment you quit it - and bring it back to life when it's restarted. Window position, settings, all the minutia. Using Pages with certain text highlighted? Quit it and open it again - it'll be lit up just like it was before.
Similar to Resume, Versions will give you some time-warping powers over your Mac. You'll be able to save a snapshot of your work at any given point in time, and then swap between them, a la Time Machine. It's basically just a jazzed up way to save, but being able to edit across versions without seams looks really neat (and useful!).
Mac App Store
The store itself is nothing new, but whoo boy, they are pushing this thing hard. The store will be beefed up when Lion hits, with in-app purchases and push notifications regarding your downloads. Moreover, it's embedded deep into the OS this time, and if you want to take fullest advantage of Launchpad, Apple's pushing you to use their own shop — purchased apps are whisked directly to the 'Pad. And let's not forget that this OS is only going to be available on the Mac App Store. Pour one out for the optical drive.
Want to send a file to a buddy? Of course! We all do. And now that's built right into the OS. Airdrop is a direct, P2P WiFi sharing system, allowing you to beam your stuff to anyone around you. It doesn't sound like it'll work across ye olde internet, but for in-person collaboration, this looks terrific.
Our little Mail app is getting a boost too. Fullscreen layout, triple-column interface, and super-smart searching, conducive to a "conversation" view of your messages. Find exactly who you want to look up, pinpoint a date range (searching for "March" auto-pulls messages from... March, and, well, does a lot of what other clients have been up to. But for dedicated Mail users, this is great news.
See It in Motion
Click below for a video demo of some of Lion's most delectable features.
Image based on Shutterstock photo.