Lion is not a dramatic step forward in the OSX sphere, but it is a nice step nonetheless. There are a ton of new features in the new version of OSX ranging from a new version of Mail, more security features, Airdrop, and more. But Apple says there are over 250 changes in Lion, some which are not so hyped. And some of these little things are great, and I wanted to share them with you.
- Resizing windows: In Mac, resizing windows has traditionally meant dragging the bottom right-hand corner to change the overall size of the window. Finally Mac apps can be resized from any part of the window. People on Windows and Linux have been able to do this for ages, and it’s a feature I’ve kind of missed in Mac. I’m glad it has been implemented in Lion.
- Spotlight: One of the reason I haven’t been a fan of 3rd-party application launchers is because they seemed redundant to me. Sure I’ve tried a few and some of them had some neat features, others were fast, but they all felt pointless compared to the fact that I had Spotlight and my Dock. That being said, Spotlight has always felt slow and clunky to me. Sometimes it seemed to take forever for it to load the options when searching for apps or documents, and those were just the ones that I wasn’t actually looking for! Now, Spotlight feels more powerful, lighter, and all around a smoother experience.
- 3-finger Space Swiping: While originally I saw little point in having Spaces, I came to enjoy using Spaces on Snow Leopard for when I had a lot of apps open. It helped keep my media apps out of the way of my communications apps, which were kept out of the way of my writing tools, and so on. The one grievance I had was having to always switch Spaces either by a keyboard shortcut, or having to unnecessarily look at all my Spaces. After a couple of days using the swiping gesture to go through Spaces, I’ve found it so useful and it just feels less intrusive to my workflow. It fact, it feels almost natural.
- “Arrange By/Clean Up By”: I tend to keep things organized in 1 of 2 ways: alphabetically or by date. Occasionally though, things get out of order, especially when moving and copying large amounts of items around. And because I like things neat and tidy, I used tried to keep things organized first by folders and then by everything else, not to mention aligned in their grids. But with the new Arrange By feature, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. They’re already organized how I like (plus it’s just kind a fun to use a 2-fingert scroll to flick through all those folders, kind of like some people do when they see “Cover Flow” for the first time). And for places where I need the traditional grid-like folder view, I can clean and organize them how I want with the Clean Up By command, which basically aligns them in the grid and arranges them how I want to at the same time.
- Information on the Lock screen: We’ve grown so used to seeing some basic information on cell-phones & tablets that I’m not sure why we have not talked about it on desktops. Normally when you have to enter your computers password, the only information you generally get are the user account names and if they are logged on. But with Lion, you now see the time, your Mac’s battery life (on Macbooks), and your wireless connection strength. While it might not be as handy as having other notifications on the screen (like new mail, tweets, etc.) I think it’s simple and non intrusive implementation that Apple has going for them.