I have to admit that I have a weak spot when it comes to Apple products. Starting way back in the 80’s when I was a kid I somehow convinced my parents to buy me a Apple IIc and have been hooked ever since. The moment that OS X Lion was announced I knew that this would be another Apple upgrade I wouldn’t be able to stay away from. Even though the entire OS isn’t groundbreaking there are some really cool features about it and with a price tag of only $29 it’s really a no brainer upgrade for most of you. Here are my first thoughts about the OS and some of the highlights to look out for along with my for Photography apps and compatibility.

What’s New in OS X Lion

There are actually a ton of brand new features in Lion. As usual Apple lists out over 250 new features with Lion. Some are really little updates so I am going to focus on the top updates that Apple has put into Lion.

  • Auto Spell Check
  • Some of the items that I have found most useful so far are not the big items that Apple has advertised with Lion. They now have auto spell check that is built into the OS. If you are in email, safari or any app and mistype a word it will show you the suggestion below your word and you can click the space bar to replace with the correct word. Its pretty sweet and has definitely helped to speed up my typing.

  • New Gestures
  • There are some new gestures that are multi touch and can also speed up your productivity. As much as we all work on our computers I am always trying to streamline things with keyboard or other shortcuts. With these new gestures it makes it quick to navigate your computer. The more time we can save on the computer the more time we can all spend taking photos! Here are some of the helpful gestures you can use with your tracpad or something like the Magic Tracpad which I have been using a lot of now.

  • Mission Control
  • This is basically a update to the Spaces feature that the previous Mac OS systems had. You can do a 3 finger up swipe to active mission control and this will give you a quick view of all your current open apps so you can quickly switch back and forth. I have found this pretty useful so far and with most of the Apple apps now having a full screen option its nice to have this to go back and forth. I used to use spaces a lot to have a clean desktop, I would have email and safari on Space 1, Quickbooks and a few other apps in Space 2, Lightroom and Photoshop in Space 3 and it kept everything nice and organized. With Mission control you have the same ability, if you want to create a “space” to keep your apps separate just go to mission control and go to the top right of your screen. Here you will see a plus sign appear, click it and this will create a space for a 2nd desktop and you can even drag and drop existing open apps right to that 2nd desktop space. You can even create up to 15 extra spaces!

    mission control lion

  • Full Screen Apps
  • I do a ton of work on my laptop while on the go and with that screen real estate is always important. Most of the apple apps like safari, mail, iPhoto, etc… all now have a full screen option. Just click the arrows at the top right corner of any page to enter full screen mode in that app. This removes the menu, doc and fully maximizes your screen real estate. To access another app you can either go to Mission Control or do a 3 finger swipe across to move from app to app. I have really enjoyed lots of the minimal approach that Apple has with Lion that really makes it more streamlined of an OS.

  • Resume
  • This is another thing that is fairly small but at the same time huge. Now when you close an app it saves the state of that app. So if you had a window at a certain size or different webpages open when you quit safari it will remember exactly where you left off when you quit the app. Pretty useful and another thing that can save a little time here and there. This and the new auto-save feature let you work more efficiently, you don’t have to save docs anymore and many of these updates really are coming from the iPhone and iPad which has never had a concept of saving something since there is no public file structure.

  • Sign Docs in Preview
  • Another small update to the Preview app that I think is pretty cool is the ability to sign docs now really quickly. Just click on the annotations menu at the top and then click the signature icon right below. It will first open up your iSight camera and take a picture of a photo of your signature. Once you save this you just have to click the signature icon and drag a box for how large you would like the signature to be and your signature appears right on the doc.

  • New Mail Program
  • Until I figure out some new way to communicate email does take a lot of my day. With the new mail program there are some changes that I have been very happy about so far and has made things easier. The top new feature in mail is the new way that threaded conversations show up. They automatically show up threaded in one group so you can quickly see all emails at once and don’t need to open up things one by one. This has been one of my favorite features of the entire OS, such a great way to flip through a back and forth email. They also have more search options which helps you find what you need and a completely revamped look where you can hide the left side navigation bar so you only have the list of emails showing and the email you are clicked on. With a laptop this saves a huge amount of space.

    There are lots of other nice little updates and this is an update that I definitely suggest. I know one thing that is hard about making a OS update is your current app compatibility. I have used this now for a few weeks and have no issues with any of the photography apps that I run on a daily basis. Photoshop, Lightroom, iView Media Pro, QuickBooks all ran 100% fine for me.

    If you are on a Mac I would definitely suggestion an update to Lion. For the price point of only $29 this a great value!

    OS X Lion. Available for the Mac today.

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