A Brief Review of OSX Lion

by Mike Shea on 22 July 2011

For an in-depth review of Lion, read John Siracusa's massive OSX Lion review. It's worth at least skim reading and matches a lot of my thoughts. Instead, in this brief review, I'll focus on the things I think are worth emphasizing.

Initially, the only differences I noticed when upgrading to OSX Lion were the ones that annoyed me. Now that I've spent a few days with it, I'm beginning to see how Lion's refinements match the philosophy that, in the words of Edward Tufte, a good user interface always gets better when there is less of it.

Not everything is awesome, though. The attempt to unify OSX with iOS is a bad idea manifested in Lion's worst features. UI additions like the Launchpad and Mission Control crud things up, though they can simply be ignored. The default for mouse wheels and gestures to scroll the opposite way actually hurt my brain. Even when I disabled it, scrolling still feels wrong.

Still, features like application sandboxing, autosave, and versioning take this OS above and beyond what we're used to. Lion is a strong OS with a lot of great changes that will get better as time goes on.