Note: this document has been significantly changed since it was first published on July 20, 2011. The original document is here.
OS X Lion
OS X Lion, formally announced on June 6, 2011, is the seventh significant update to Mac OS X, Apple's UNIX-based desktop operating system. It became available exclusively from the Mac App Store on July 20, 2011, bypassing traditional distribution channels.
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) supports OS X Lion for its clients, including off-campus students. ISC recommends OS X Lion only for Apple systems with Intel Core 2 Duo or newer processors (this excludes Core Duo and Core Solo Macs) that have at least 2.0 GB of RAM. Note that 2.0 GB of RAM is the minimum required amount; ISC recommends 4.0 GB for a substantially improved experience. The full installation of OS X Lion uses approximately 4.5 GB of disk space for the download and installation depending on the type of Macintosh and choices made during the installation.
OS X Lion is available as an upgrade from Mac OS 10.6 for $29 from the Mac App Store. There is no direct upgrade path from Mac OS 10.5 to OS X Lion, so users upgrading from Mac OS 10.5 must first purchase and install Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard ($29) from the Computer Connection and then upgrade to Lion from the Mac App Store after updating to 10.6.8 or above. It is expected that the Computer Connection will continue to stock Snow Leopard, but for how long is unknown. Apple will also release Lion on a USB thumb drive in August for $69; whether this will require 10.6 preinstallation or not is unknown.
There are a number of known issues with OS X Lion, several of which are especially relevant to Penn's Macintosh users:
Changes in OS X Lion
OS X Lion is a major release with over 250 new features, including a number of significant changes from previous iterations. Below are some changes that may be of interest to the Penn community:
1) Whole Disk Encryption via FileVault 2
As of OS X Lion, FileVault has been changed significantly enough to warrant a new version number. FileVault 2 now provides whole disk encryption using XTS-AES128 (previously, FileVault only encrypted a user's home folder).
2) Full-Screen Apps
OS X Lion includes support for full-screen use of applications. This makes significant use of multitouch gesturing and is a desktop replication of the iOS user experience.
3) System-wide integration of multitouch gestures
Building on the overwhelming success of the touch-based iOS interface, and given that almost three-quarters of Macintoshes sold are notebooks, Apple has significantly expanded the integration of multitouch gestures into the operating system. These gestures are available to any Macintosh with an integrated trackpad, a Magic Trackpad, or a Magic Mouse. Gestures such as tapping and pinching are available in all applications and gestures allow moving between applications and navigating through the OS.
A new feature called Resume allows applications to be restarted from the previous Quit point with windows, positions, menus, and other user-manipulated elements as they were at the time of quitting. This significantly improves the experience of power users who are particular about their program environments.
5) System-wide Auto-save
There is a system-wide auto-save feature that stores versioned copies of files as they change. The interface to retrieve previous versions is similar to that used in Time Machine.
A new file-sharing tool called AirDrop allows users to share files directly between OS X Lion computers over a WiFi network.
7) Launchpad and Mission Control
Exposť and Spaces have been replaced by a unified application called Mission Control that significantly refines the functionality of the original programs, while a new application-launching interface called Launchpad has been introduced. The Launchpad UI draws significantly on the iOS app interface, and both Launchpad and Mission Control are accessed with multitouch gestures.
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
Comments & Questions