OS X Lion Review: First Impressions

I’ve been using Mac OS X Lion for a few hours now and I wanted to post some first impressions before I get used to all the changes and forget about them.

My initial thought is that the user interface takes some getting used to. This is a major change from Snow Leopard, even though at first it doesn’t seem that different. If you are wondering whether or not to spend the $30, take some time to read my review below, and check out the new features in Lion on the Apple website. My thinking is that you should be less concerned about the $30 investment, and more concerned about your experience using a Mac will be changed.

Reversed Scrolling

One of the biggest adjustments everyone will have to get used to is the fact that scrolling is reversed. Some will find this quite frustrating and even a deal breaker. My suggestion to those who have a hard time with change is that you go to an Apple store and try it out yourself. Update: If you would like to change the scrolling direction, go to System Preferences and then go to Mouse or Trackpad settings and uncheck the “Scroll Direction: Natural” box. 

Full Screen Apps

Another big change, if you choose to use it, is full screen applications. It is nice to have a distraction-free working environment, especially on an 11″ screen. What takes getting used to is the navigation from screen to screen. Once you get used to the three-finger swipe, it’s a breeze.

Launchpad and Mission Control

These are probably the more useless new features as far as I’m concerned. Mission Control is basically just Expose, so it’s not really a new feature other than it interacts with the new full screen apps feature. In regards to Launchpad, I have become accustomed to hitting command+space and then start typing the application I want to open. Or I use the applications folder in the dock. It seems a bit redundant to have so many ways to access applications, but for some, they will enjoy Launchpad, especially when switching back and forth between an iPad, iPhone and a Mac.

Mail and Calendar

The new Mail and Calendar apps are welcome changes. They are far more intuitive and compete with third-party apps like Sparrow and Google Calendar, which I used up until now. I initially found Mail a bit buggy, but I discovered it was a problem with my settings.

Versions and AirDrop

These are probably the features that got me most excited about Lion. Versions means you don’t have to worry about saving things anymore. Lion saves things automatically and keeps old versions of your files so you can go back if you need to. AirDrop is as simple to use as dragging and dropping the files you want to share onto another person’s user icon.

Spell Checking

This is a feature I didn’t even know about before I used Lion. I am pleasantly surprised! If you like the auto-correct feature on iOS devices, you will love it on Lion. It automatically replaces misspelled words for you and suggests words while you are typing. There is no longer a need to know how to spell. Brilliant!

Conclusion

Keep in mind, these are first impressions. I have yet to fully explore Lion and I am probably missing some important features. However, these are the changes I noticed immediately, so I’m thinking they are important for you to know when making your decision.

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