I simply couldn’t take the suspense, so I installed Lion yesterday. I know there’s no shortage of reviews out there, but I wanted to list my impressions of the OS so far:
- Most apps just work – All my apps, even the more finicky among them seemed to work just fine. Many developers have already released Lion ready versions as well.
- Speed – The OS feels a bit snappier all around once everything gets settled down. This is especially true for XCode.
- Mail, iCal, iChat – I was really impressed with how easy it was to get my company’s calendars and mail set up. Very smooth and unexpected, especially compared with previous versions. It does seem that online accounts such as google are more deeply integrated into the OS.
- Full Screen Mode – Apple has been touting the virtues of full screen apps in the months leading up to the release. My experience has been less than ideal. Using multiple monitors, the transition to full screen is laggy. Additionally, an app will full screen to the primary display, in this case my macbook screen, leaving the 24″ secondary display unused, covered with that linen texture apple has become so fond of.
- Bounce Scrolling – Easily one of the more annoying UI enhancements apple put into this latest revision. I’m not entirely sure why I need my text editor to bounce when I reach the end. As with some other animations, it doesn’t convey any new information about what’s going on and just makes things harder to track. The other problem is that apps not using cocoa scroll views don’t get this feature. Chrome, my default browser, and Postbox, my mail client still have the plain jane scroll views, making things less consistent across the OS.
There’s a couple of things you’ll need to do right away after upgrading that I didn’t see coming, especially not having used any of the prerelease versions:
- Java – any app that uses Java (even ones that don’t seem to) will ask you do to do a Java update immediately.
- XCode – the previous version of XCode, 4.02, doesn’t run in Lion, so you’ll need to download the newest one. Caveat is that it’s on the developer site but rather as a (now free) download from the app store. I will say that this version of XCode adds more stability and speed as compared to 4.02.
- Spotlight – for about the first hour after upgrading my system churned as spotlight was reindexing. This will sap your performance for that time, but it does seem much snappier afterwards.
At $30, the price of an upgrade is cheap and worth the money. The speed improvements are quite noticeable across the board and my system seems more stable. All told, to get everything back up and running you’ll probably need the better part of an afternoon. I’m hoping there’s some updates to disable some of the animations like the bounce scroll. Most are unobtrusive, but they’re really unnecessary eye-candy that I could do without.