Now that Apple's big cat is out of the bag, what are reviewers saying about Mac OS X Lion?
Ars Technica says (in its massive 19-page review):
Though the Lion name suggests the end of something, the content of the operating system itself clearly marks the start of a new journey. Seemingly emboldened by the success of iOS, Apple has taken a hatchet to decades of conventional wisdom about desktop operating systems.
If Lion can truly be considered the "most advanced" operating system around (a matter that is certainly open for debate), it is not due to the jaw-dropping new features in this version, so much as the raft of tweaks -- some subtle, and all welcome -- it has made to an already-excellent operating system.
After a long period of relative stability on the Mac, Lion is a shock to the system. It's a radical revision, motivated in part by the vast influx of new Mac users coming to the platform from iOS, that makes the Mac a friendlier computer. Veteran Mac users who don’t like those changes can turn many of them off, or just opt not to use them.
For the most part, Mac OS X is the same, solid operating system Apple customers have grown familiar with for the past 10 years. Some of the key iPad-like interface tweaks are ugly or nearly useless, but if you just disable and ignore them like I did, full-screen mode, AirDrop, Resume and AutoSave make this very affordable $30 upgrade worth your purchase.
Not a nudge in the sense that this is an entirely new OS, but a nudge in the sense that this is an OS built for today’s computer users. In stark contrast to what we are used to: systems built for people that want, or know, how to use the system.
As we’ve heard so many times from Apple, this is a “Back to the Mac” operating system. But Lion is more than just elements that pull from what we see and know on iOS. It is also full of hints that point to the future of Apple hardware and the amalgamation of iOS and OS X. It is exciting to see this big picture slowly coming into focus.
All said, Lion is a solid update that brings a lot of new ideas to the desktop from the mobile space. Clearly, Apple is trying to make the Mac more attractive to its legions of iOS customers. Gestures, Launchpad and the App Store are all familiar concepts to iPhone and iPad owners.