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A look at Mac OS X Lion: Launchpad, Mission Control and more new features [Video]

July 23, 2011 | 11:39 am

Apple MacBook Pros running Mac OS X Lion

Apple released Mac OS X Lion this week and, so far it seems to be a hit with more than 1-million downloads sold of its new operating system in less than 24-hours.

But, as with most iterations of OS X, Lion has a lot of new features (more than 250 of them actually) and some will jump out at Mac users with more than a few iOS-like additions, while others will be trickier to find.

In the video below, we offer up a quick rundown of a few key features that should make for an easier user experience in Lion -- namely Launchpad (an iPad-like view for finding and sorting apps), Mission Control (OS X's old Expose and Spaces features combined to sort programs running across multiple desktop windows), full-screen apps, the ability to easily resize windows for just about any app, gesture controls and AirDrop (which allows users to wirelessly transfer files between Macs released in fall 2008 and later).

As we find more new features in Lion that might be useful to Apple users, we'll add more posts and videos on those tasks. But this should provide a basic overview of what Lion looks like.

That being said, for Mac users who are not sure if they should take the leap to Lion or not, there are a few things to consider. 

First, make sure your Mac can run Lion -- any Mac with an Intel processor and at least 2-gigabytes of RAM should run Lion just fine, though 4-gigabytes of RAM will make for a speedier experience. Also, Lion ditches support for apps written for old Macs using IBM's PowerPC processors (older than about the fall 2007) known as Rosetta. There are resources to find out if your apps are compatible with Lion if you're unsure such as the website Roaring Apps.

And, of course, backing up important data or even cloning your hard drive on an external hard drive is a good call. This way, if anything does go wrong when downloading and installing Lion from the Mac App Store, you'll be covered with your important files, apps or even a bootable drive.

All that being said, downloading Lion was possibly the easiest operating system install I've experienced so far, and many others I've spoken with said it was painless for them as well.

Once Lion is installed, it may run slow at first as Spotlight -- OS X's document finding tool -- reindexes everything on your hard drive. After that's done, check for software updates (iTunes and iLife have some updates for Lion) that need to be downloaded and you should be on your way.

Feel free to sound off in the comments below to let us know what you think of Lion for those giving the new OS X a shot.


Apple's Lion sells 1 million copies in first day

Apple releases Mac OS X Lion, $29.99 in Mac App Store

Apple sells more iPhones, iPads than ever in record quarter

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Image: Apple MacBook Pros, newer and older, running Mac OS X Lion. Credit: Armand Emamdjomeh / Los Angeles Times