Technology giant Apple Inc.'s new Mac operating system OS X Lion, which was presented at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2011 last week, has roared its way into the hearts of Apple fans but does it have what it takes to beat Google Chrome OS?
Last week Apple took the wraps off OS X Lion, saying it has 250 new features. Of them, following 10 features promise to give Google Chrome OS sleepless nightmares:
1. Restart in Safari mode - The feature, which till now was offered by Chrome OS, will give the user an option to access a sandboxed version of the Safari browser directly from the lock screen, without having the need to log in. It also stops the user from worrying whether the personal files and setting in the Mac are safe.
Is it a novel feature? No, because it's essentially the same concept as Google's Chromebook, which runs entirely on the Chrome browser. However, unlike the restrictive model of Chrome OS, OS X Lion gives users the option of working with two operating systems at once - a normal, full desktop operating system mode and the quick, stripped-down, browser-only safe mode.
2. Multi touch gestures – The pinch, swipe and zoom function, that till now were available in iOS now comes to OS X Lion. The scroll bars disappears when not in use and magically appears only when you want to scroll.
3. Full Screen Apps – The apps on Mac are no longer the size of thumbnails. They can now be enlarged to fit the screen and they shout out loud on your face. Feeling daunted? A swipe gesture helps you rotate between full screen apps and your desktop.
4. LaunchPad – Like iPhone users, Mac users will now be able to show all Mac Apps on the home screen and rearrange the apps or group them in folders. It’s initiated by a gesture and multiple screens are possible just like in iPhone.
5. Resume – Like iPhone users, Mac users will now be able to instantly resume an application where he/she had quit. The Resume feature is useful when you have to restart your system after installing software or something.
6. Auto Save and Versions – Lion will automatically be able to save frequently what you’re working on. The Auto Save function is possibly the most useful and important feature of Lion. You can also lock a file to prevent it from being auto saved.
The Lion can also save all versions of the file you’re working on. It’s automatic and very efficient. It only stores the differences in each file and when you want to share a file, it only sends the latest version of the file. You can also copy paste between versions and make any version the current one. A time machine-like interface also allows you to see all the versions of your file.
7. AirDrop – The AirDrop feature is a very convenient way to move files between two computers. AirDrop is a sort of Wi-Fi based peer-to-peer file moving utility. Auto discovery and setup makes AirDrop a user friendly feature. AirDrop will show you a list of people you can share your files with. Sending files is a child’s play – just drag and drop the file on the AirDrop logo to send it. Fully encrypted transfer and confirm to send and receive files make AirDrop a secure method of file sharing.
8. Mail – The new Mail feature in Lion now comes with a snazzy, cool brand new interface. Now you get 2 to 3 column view that works in full screen. The search function in Mail has become more intelligent, giving prompts for searches. Now you can search by people, by subjects, etc. What you searched for, becomes a search token and yes, you can have more than one token. Lion Mail also brings you message threads that are color coded. The new conversation view is possibly inspired by Gmail.
9. Access to iCloud - OS X Lion users get to access iCloud, Apple's cloud-based music, video, photo and data automatic backup and push out service.
Till now Chrome OS was the only operating system where all data could be stored in the cloud. In other words, in a Google Chromebook, there's no underlying desktop layer so to speak of and as the browser is the primary method for interacting with the system, local data and applications are separate and secure.
But now OS X Lion has not only mimicked but also bested Chrome OS in the sense that Mac users can automatically backup their data on Apple's cloud service and also push them out to any Apple devices they own.
10. Safari Reading List - OS X Lion's Safari comes with a Reading List feature that allows the user to quickly save stories for later reading. The Reading List can be synced across multiple devices.