Wherein I Scratch my Neckbeard

I love Mac OS X. I really believe it is the best way to get work done on a computer in the 21st century. For the most part, I like OS X Lion — just check out my review. Lion is fast, stable and brings several great features to the table — especially when it comes to security.

Loving any Apple product is like being in an roller coaster relationship, though. Apple — unlike most companies — is not afraid to break things, change direction or piss off its users. But at the same time, it just wants everyone to be happy and hugging each other.

Lion feels like another step down this road. It feels like a beginning and an end. Future versions of the Mac OS will feel less and less like pre-Lion versions as time marches on.


There’s no doubt that Apple wishes to simplify its desktop OS for the sake of its growing customer base. Apple somewhat said this back in the fall at its “Back to the Mac” event. With Lion, the company took features from iOS — mainly the iPad — and bolted them to OS X.

On the surface, Apple did a good job with this. But the more I use Lion every day (and not just on my test machine), the more I feel like there’s some weirdness going on here.

Launchpad is the best example of an iOS-inspired feature in Lion. It’s also the best example of what I really don’t like about Lion.

While Apple may be slowly moving us away from the Applications folder and Spotlight, adding yet another layer on top of the OS seems more confusing than simplifying at this point.[1. The same goes with Mission Control. I like it, but can the iOS-loving Mac switcher Apple wants really understand it? My guess is no. Spaces, Expose, Dashboard and more are crammed into that joker in a way that makes my head hurt.]

Oh, and swiping across rows of icons makes perfect sense on a mobile device, but on a computer it just feels insulting. I’ve disabled the gestures for it and hope I don’t accidentally launch it from Spotlight.[2. If anyone knows how to keep the Mac App Store from launching it when an app is purchased, please get in touch.]

So, has Apple succeeded in bringing iOS-inspired features to the Mac? I’m not entirely sure. If Apple is looking to further unify OS X and iOS, it is going to have to work harder than it did in Lion. In trying to make OS X more approachable, I fear Apple just made it more complicated, with more abstractions than ever.

File Management

Apple has changed several significant, fundamental things about the way users interact with their digital files. With Lion, users are being asked to trust their Macs with tasks they’ve never before had to — like saving files.

Now, I know full and well what data loss is like. As someone who has supported Mac users for years, I’ve seen my share of sob stories.

That said, I am finding it difficult to trust Lion with things like saving my files automagically in apps like Text Edit.[3. Oh, and WHERE THE HELL DID THE SAVE AS… menu go?] I just don’t trust my computer when it has done the wrong thing so many times in the past when it comes to data.


I am sure this post will seem rather silly in six months or a year. Mac users evolve as Apple sees fit. We all stick around, and endure the changes. This time, though, it just seems like a lot to swallow.