Apple launch roundup: 5 key features, from OS X Lion to Thunderbolt
In a fairly quiet week, Apple has been by far the busiest manufacturer, finally releasing several hotly anticipated devices and a new operating system yesterday. With loads of press releases from Apple on our desk, it’s been a lot to take in, so we’ve been looking at some of the more important features – both hardware and software released yesterday. Read on to see five major new features in Apple OS X Lion, the new MacBook Air, and from the company in general.
With a new innovative display, a refreshed MacBook Air line, and a refreshed Mac Mini, yesterday saw lots of hardware announcements to go with the launch of its new OS X Lion operating system. Whether it’s the OS, or some of the new features, all of yesterday’s announcements shared some key features in common. Below we’ve highlighted some of the most important.
Mission Control In Exposé, Apple already had an innovative, intuitive and fast way of viewing and accessing all of your open applications. The company has gone one step further with the introduction of Mission Control, however, which offers a host of new features. Unlike Exposé, Mission Control is capable of grouping icons into different categories, making it easier to manage apps and browsers when you’re carrying out more tasks. It’s a handy feature, but it’s more evolution rather than revolution.
Thunderbolt Apple is at the forefront when it comes to Thunderbolt technology, pushing it more than most other manufacturers. That’s why yesterday’s announcements saw a heavy emphasis on Thunderbolt technology, with the MacBook Air, the new Mac Mini and Apple’s latest display all getting Thunderbolt ports built in. Not only is Thunderbolt fast, it’s also capable of transferring different types of data simultaneously – so you’ll be able to output both video and sound to the new display, for instance, without needing to use several cables. As for the Thunderbolt Display – Apple claims it’s the first in the world – will it kick start a new trend?
Inverted scrolling One of the ideas that seems the most alien, yet is actually quite logical once you get used to it, is the introduction of inverted scrolling. Rather than sliding a couple of fingers down the touchpad to make the writing on your Mac’s screen go up, you’ll now push up to make it go up, and down to make it go down – just like you would on an iPhone. Once you’re used it it, it makes OS X Lion a little bit more like an overgrown version of iOS to use.
Sandy Bridge Another hardware update, we’ve been waiting for Sandy Bridge for quite a while. Apple often leads the industry when it comes to ease of use, innovative and polished software, and starting trends, but it’s sadly often behind when it comes to hardware specifications. The Apple MacBook Air and Mac Mini now feature the same choice of Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors as the rest of the laptop world – Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro range included.
New gestures The new scrolling function isn’t the only way that Apple has aped iOS with OS X Lion. The company has also introduced a host of new gestures that will feel instantly familiar to iPhone users (and smartphone users in general). We particularly like the introduction of full screen apps, with the ability to switch between them by simply swiping a few fingers on the touchpad to the left or right. If you multi-task frequently, especially with smaller MacBook Pros or Airs, it’s a feature that’s bound to come in useful.