'Lion' brings iPad gestures to Mac OS for only $30

By , Network World |  Software, Apple, Mac OS X

There was no live video of today's Apple keynote, which featured Steve Jobs and other executives, so I relied mainly on the Macworld live blog from the event for real-time information.

As far as I can tell, Apple didn't mention anything about security, even though Macs are starting to experience some of the same problems that plague Windows computers.

But the new features in Mac OS X look pretty enticing. We already knew much about what would be included in Lion as a result of a preview given several months back, but today's presentation went into more detail.

You won't be able to manipulate your Mac by touching the screen, but the same multi-touch gestures that power the iPad will be incorporated into the Mac Trackpad.

Scroll bars will become unnecessary for users who embrace the new gestures, such as tap-to-zoom, and two-finger swiping to move back and forward in the browser.

Lion will make greater use of full-screen applications but also add a "Mission Control" feature that helps users keep running applications organized and move quickly from one to the other.

The multi-tasking in Lion is actually more similar to that provided by Android tablets and the BlackBerry Playbook than the iPad, the current version of which prevents you from viewing more than one application at once.

With a three-finger swipe in Lion, you enter Mission Control, which shows your open applications and widgets, and views of multiple workspaces, each of which can contain several applications.

Overall, there are more than 250 new features in Lion. One long-awaited feature is auto-save, which, of course, automatically saves the work you do in word processors and other applications. Auto-save will even save all the versions of your document, letting you go back to previous versions.

One thing I wonder, as a Mac user who saves documents in Microsoft Office format, is whether the auto-save will work with Microsoft-compatible documents. Currently, the Apple Pages word processor requires an extra step for saving documents in Microsoft Word format.

More new features in Lion include AirDrop, a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi based system for sharing files among computers. Airdrop will be integrated into the Finder, and works as an encrypted, ad hoc file transfer system without any complicated setup.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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