OS X Lion Breakdown: Everything You Need To Know About Apple’s Next Big OS

os x lion top pic

With Apple’s next big version of OS X, called Lion, seemingly set to launch any day now a lot of you want to know “what exactly is so great about Lion and what does it mean to me?” Well, we’re gonna recap everything you need to know about Lion for you right here so you’re ready for whenever it actually comes out.

Let’s get to it.

What’s the price and when and where can I get it?

os x lion mac app store

Lion will be available sometime this month for $29.99 (the latest rumors are it will come this week, but they’ve been like that all month so who knows). Now the exact date isn’t yet officially confirmed yet by Apple, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it launch this week with those also rumored new MacBook Airs. If you bought a new Mac on or after June 6th you’ll be able to save the $29.99 and get Lion for free.

Lion is also the first version of OS X to be available only as a download in the Mac App Store. This means for that you need to have the today’s version of OS X, called Snow Leopard, installed if you already have a Mac and want to upgrade.


What are the specs my Mac needs to have for it to run Lion?

To run Lion your Mac needs to have at least: an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (basically in any Mac bought since late 2006. The latest Intel Core i5 and i7 processors found on the most recent Macs will run Lion as well), 2 GB of RAM (which became the standard option in 2007 on MacBook Pros and 2009 on plastic MacBooks), 8 GB of space on your hard drive and as we said above, currently be running Snow Leopard (aka version 10.6). You can check all of this by clicking on the Apple logo in the upper left and then “About this Mac.”

os x about this mac

To make things a bit simpler, OS X Lion should run fine on any Mac bought within the last 2-3 years and its only on those older Macs from 4-5 years ago that Lion might not work for you. If you find yourself short on RAM you may want to look into buying an extra GB or two and installing it but be warned– this isn’t the easiest on Macs and on some (like the more recent unibody MacBooks) may not even be possible unless your willing to open up the computer and void your warranty. So be careful.

What’s new?

Ok, so now that all that’s done let’s get to the good stuff– what’s new and why you should want this. On top of getting all the latest security fixes and being able to run all the newest and latest apps in the Mac App Store, here is a recap of some of the biggest new features coming in Lion.

os x lion resume

Resuming back to what you were doing in OS X Lion

  • Resume– What this new feature does is save exactly where you left off whenever you quit an app or shut down your computer so that the next time you open the app you’re right where you left off. Imagine being in the middle of working on a presentation for school, shutting down your computer before you head home and having the app open up to exactly where you left off the next time you turn it back on. Simple sure, but still very useful.

os x lion auto save and versions

Comparing your work using Versions

  • Auto Save and Versions– This is also simple but at the same time one of the features I’m personally most excited for in OS X Lion. It’s happened to all of us– you’re up late working on a paper for school and your Word/Pages crashes or you accidentally close out the app. You had just typed several pages since your last save and since the app just closed, it all looks to be ruined and you’ll have to do all your hard work all over again. With these new features that problem looks to be a thing of the past. Auto Save will automatically save your work for you every five minutes and Versions will make snapshots of what your up to every hour. This means you not only can work easy knowing that your hard work is constantly being saved, but you can also compare what you’ve done in your earlier drafts with your final copy side by side to see all your changes (and you can even save the earlier drafts as different documents so you can try different changes without worrying about your good copy being ruined). For students this is THE top feature of OS X Lion and reason enough to upgrade.

mac os x lion launchpad

  • Launchpad– Clicking on the Launchpad in the dock gives you loads of icons with one touch access to opening apps (and even the ability to group apps into Folders just like you would on an iPhone or iPad homescreen).
  • Full-screen Apps– Apps on OS X Lion can finally be viewed full screen– no dock, no other apps, and no distractions beyond the app you’re in. Like Launchpad this isn’t a major new feature, but it’s still nice and pretty useful.

mission control mac os x lion

Keeping things organized with Mission Control

  • Mission Control– This is right up there with Auto Save and Versions in terms of the big new Lion features. This is kinda like a mix of the Mac’s Expose, Spaces and Dashboard to give you easy access and control over everything going on in your Mac. All it takes is one swipe gesture to pull up all your running windows and apps (with the same apps being grouped together as you can see above) so you can see everything that’s going on. This should make keeping organized while doing some insane multitasking really easy.

And these are just a small part of the over 250 new features in Lion (others include Facetime for video chatting with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches from your Mac), but they’re the ones we think a lot of you will find the most useful and interesting.

We’ll of course keep you updated once we hear news about an official launch date but hopefully this helps with understanding what’s the big deal with this major new OS. So, are you gonna spend the $30 to upgrade and if so, what new feature are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.


Posted on July 19, 2011, in Apple, Computers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m not on a Mac right now, but I’ve been working with them a lot and I’m thinking about buying one for college next year and I think the new feature I’ll appreciate the most is Auto Save/Versions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working in Word and It’s crashed and I forgot to save, and Versions looks like it’ll be really cool too- being able to go back to versions you used to have. Mission Control also looks pretty interesting- definitely an upgrade from the current Expose.
    One thing I was wondering; Do Auto Save and Versions work with Microsoft Office too, or just with iWork?

    • Hey Tzvi,

      Right now Auto Save and Versions will only work with iWork, but they can be added to Microsoft Office in a software update if Microsoft wants to add them in (both are features any developer can add if they wanted to). That being said, we haven’t heard anything yet on if/when Microsoft will add these to Office for Mac but we’ll let you know once we do.


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