The Launchpad gives users instant access to all the applications on their Mac. It’s a look reminiscent of the home screen of an iPad. Users can see their entire application library laid out in icon form, arrange folders, scroll through pages, and rearrange apps as they see fit. Windows users who transitioned to the Mac after falling in love with their iPhone may very well take a liking to Launchpad’s Home screen-like interface; for experienced users with oodles of applications, however, it may prove too unwieldy for general use. As anyone who’s accumulated a few pages of apps on the iPhone can tell you, it’s a lot easier to just give up and use Spotlight rather than play the app-finding equivalent of Where’s Waldo. That said, Launchpad seems primarily aimed at iOS switchers, and those of us who prefer the comfort of the Finder can easily ignore it.
What is Mission Control?
Mission Control is a reinvention of Exposé and Spaces, OS X’s respective window-switching and virtual desktop features. In Mission Control, you use trackpad gestures (or keyboard shortcuts) to quickly view all your running apps and switch between different workspaces (which include shared spaces with multiple apps, apps running in full-screen mode, and even the Dashboard). Instead of configuring what goes where via a System Preference pane, you just drag and drop apps and windows into new spaces from the Mission Control view. The idea is that you can be more productive by switching among different views (say, an e-mail window versus one containing a Web browser and a note-taking app), and Apple is counting on Mission Control being easier to use than Exposé and Spaces.
What’s new with the other OS X applications I’ve come to know and love?
In Lion, you’ll find new revised versions of most of Apple’s core applications: There are changes across the board in Mail, Safari, iCal, Address Book, Preview, TextEdit, iChat, Photo Booth, and Quicktime Player—even Dictionary and Font Book have a new feature or two.
Mail has received the biggest overhaul, gaining a new three-column layout, conversation view, message previews, related messages, search suggestions, inline reply and deletion controls, custom labels and flags, the addition of an archive mailbox, and Exchange 2010 support.