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New in OS X Lion: Notable recent discoveries

2 May 2011 3,288 views No Comment

On Friday, Apple shipped a third update for its Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview Release 2. Though the company doesn’t provide a readily accessible change log, a number of prominent apps have been updated and one rather disliked new feature has been, at least temporarily, pulled from Lion.

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Build 11A444d, Apple’s third tweak of the widely praised Preview Release 2, arrived on Friday. Therein, Mail 5 (1222) is an update — the app rejiggered its database on the first launch — though it isn’t clear what has changed.

However, as noted by TUAW and others, the iOS-like sliders that replaced system, etc. tabs in Lion have been removed (image above). So, tabs are back and there is much rejoicing.

That said, I didn’t like sliders because they seemed to be poorly implemented rather than a bad idea per se — maybe they will return somewhere down the road?

Another new twist comes in the updated build of Safari 5.1 (7534.31.2) — a new Downloads button that you can install in the toolbar. However, it’s only accessible via mouse click and pressing Command + Option + L still brings up the Downloads window — combine these two features, Apple, and we will be cooking with gas.

Further, Safari 5.1 (7534.31.2) feels noticeably snappier when loading pages — I don’t know whether this is a “real” performance boost or just a post update bump that will fade with use, thoughts?

Another new Safari feature is Reading List, which appears to be Apple’s answer to Instapaper et al (i.e. a way to save articles, etc. for later reading). This feature, like Ping, calls into the question of product focus — more “build it and it will be dumb” functionality from Apple, hmm?

Yay, for external displays!

Tweeter @Ben reports that using an external display with a portable now behaves the way it should under Lion. If you close the MacBook’s screen, rather than going to sleep, the computer will move the main display to the external display.

via 9 to 5 Mac

Further, when using screen spanning under OS X Lion, transferring one window to another now works the way it should. That is, moving a big window to the smaller display no longer requires manual resizing — just click the “plus” button and it automagically fits to screen.

To the iCloud!

Lastly, Consomac.fr (French, via via Electronista) found evidence in Lion that Apple will rename MobileMe, or some portion thereof, iCloud. The company recently purchased the name from a Swedish company for $4.5 million.

There’s nothing in Lion that directly says what iCloud’s about, but an obvious guess is that Apple’s planning an online media locker with tie ins to its existing Mail, photo, iWork, storage, etc. online services. Of course, the iCloud service, locker, whatever will all be served from Apple’s huge new and still not officially open 500,000-square-foot North Carolina data center.

Been playing around in Apple’s OS X Lion sandbox and found jewel (or bug)? Drop us a note and like in the comments below…

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