Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage on Oct. 20 to discuss, among other things, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Although the software won’t be available until summer 2011 and there are still a slew of features that the company has yet to reveal, the items that Jobs did show off seem to have some promise.
In fact, there is a real possibility that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is going to be the best release of Apple’s venerable operating system ever. It will combine elements that consumers already like with those features that they might not know they need yet. Plus, it will also offer a level of security that its chief competitor, Windows, has been unable to match. When the software finally launches, Lion could be the top option in the OS space.
Read on to find out why:
1. The App Store
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will include the Mac App Store. According to Apple, the App Store will be available to Snow Leopard customers within the next 90 days, but it will be a key component in Lion. That alone should make the operating system far more attractive to those who want to bring some of the iPad’s functionality to their Macs. And according to Apple, that’s more people than some might think.
2. The multitouch component
Multitouch functionality will play a key role in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Granted, Snow Leopard already supports multitouch functionality on the trackpad. But Steve Jobs made it clear that Lion will double down on that implementation. That’s a good thing for Mac customers, especially since Apple seems so focused on making multitouch a key component in its products going forward. Plus, it puts Microsoft’s Windows platform on notice, since Windows 7’s touch implementation isn’t all that great.
3. The Launchpad looks great
A new feature, called Launchpad, could be quite important to those who plan to use the operating system’s application store. The service will provide an iPad-like grid for downloaded applications. And upon choosing an app, users will pick up where they left off, rather than be forced to start anew as they would with regular desktop applications. Launchpad is yet another Lion feature that simply makes sense—and makes Windows look bad.
4. The software conundrum will be solved
The biggest issue with Mac OS X has always been that developers do not create as many programs for that operating system as they do for Windows. In the enterprise especially, few developers offer Mac OS X versions of their programs. But with the help of the App Store, all that could change. In one fell swoop, Apple could very well overcome Microsoft’s lead in the software space.
5. The enterprise aspect
The corporate world has had difficulty over the years warming to Apple’s operating system. However, Mac adoption is on the rise. Companies are looking for a simple, reliable operating system to replace older versions of Windows XP or Windows Vista. Based on what Apple has shown so far, Lion could be that solution for some companies.
6. It sticks with what it knows
If nothing else, Apple knows what it’s supposed to achieve with Mac OS X. It doesn’t try to offer a slew of versions of the software to appeal to enterprise customers in one case or consumers in another. It simply delivers an experience that’s tailored to anyone. It’s refreshing to see Apple follow that strategy again with Lion. Every customer gets every feature—just the way it should be.
7. Security should still play a role
It’s hard to choose anything other than Mac OS X if security is a major concern. Apple’s operating system is simply far more secure than Windows. Although problems can and do happen on the OS, they’re few and far between. Windows, on the other hand, is still rife with security issues. That’s something that folks should keep in mind when they decide which operating system to use next summer.
8. iLife is better than ever
Apple made iLife available on Oct. 20 for free on new Macs and for $49 as an upgrade to existing installations. Although it’s available now, the new iLife suite will only make Lion more viable. After all, it delivers major upgrades to audio, video and photo editing. And those who plan to engage in simple editing work will probably like having that option available to them out of the box.
9. It’s more of the same
With other Apple products, the company doesn’t have the luxury of staying the course. It needs to push the envelope, try new things and continue to deliver innovation. But Mac OS X is different. It already works quite well. Most customers who use the operating system don’t want drastic changes. Apple has obviously realized that. With Lion, it plans to deliver the same functionality that made Mac OS X so viable in the first place.
10. There is more to come
Apple made it clear that its announcements on Lion were sneak peeks of much more to come. Exactly what other features the company will be offering is anyone’s guess. But Apple has a tendency to wait until the right moment to announce some of the better options. Until then, most should expect unique features that will only be made available to Lion. Based on Apple’s recent track record in software, those features will likely be enough to coax at least some additional customers to the OS.