WSJ’s Mossberg reviews Mac OS X Lion: ‘The best computer operating system’

“Lion is a giant step in the merger of the personal computer and post-PC devices like tablets and smartphones. It demotes the venerable scroll bar at the side of windows and documents, relying primarily on direct manipulation of documents and lists. It eliminates the need to save your work, automatically saving every version of every document. It resumes programs right where you left off. It can display programs, or an array of all your app icons, in multiple full screens you simply swipe through. And it elevates the role of multitouch gestures and adds new ones,” Walter S. Mossberg writes for The Wall Street Journal.

“I’ve been testing Lion on four Macs, and I like it,” Mossberg writes. “I believe its many new features — 250 in all — make computing easier and more reliable. I found upgrading easy, and compatibility with existing apps to be very good. Only one app I use frequently proved incompatible, and its maker says a new revision solves that problem.”

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“There are, however, downsides to anything this new and major. In my view, the biggest of these is that switching to Lion will require a major adjustment even for veteran Mac users, though it will be easier for those who use iPhones or iPads,” Mossberg writes. “Lion will significantly increase the learning curve for Windows users switching to the Mac… [However] Apple provides settings to return to traditional scrolling, the classic Mail layout, and to turn off gestures and other things.”

Mossberg writes, “Lion is very different. It’s a big leap, and gives the Mac a much more modern look and feel for a world of tablets and smartphones. If you are willing to adjust, it’s the best computer operating system out there.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Mac OS X Lion: Offers the promise of a fast, powerful, virus-free, thoroughly modern OS – July 21, 2011
Researchers: Apple’s Mac OS X Lion is the king of security – July 21, 2011
Gartenberg: Mac OS X Lion will only contribute to Apple’s expanding mind-share – July 20, 2011
MSNBC reviews Mac OS X Lion: ‘Worth the upgrade’ – July 20, 2011
USA Today’s Baig reviews Mac OS X Lion: ‘Truly worth lionizing’ – July 20, 2011
Ars Technica reviews Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: ‘Better technology’ – July 20, 2011


  1. “[However] Apple provides settings to return to traditional scrolling, the classic Mail layout, and to turn off gestures and other things.”

    All of which I immediately took advantage of. The upside-down scrolling was the single biggest annoyance- it just doesn’t work with the Trackpad, sorry. I’ll probably never use Launchpad, and Mail- well, how do you change the font size in the left column for both Finder and Mail? Please?

    1. You can change the font size in finder, can’t remember where off hand but I did.
      I just need to change the sidebar order… They inverted that also.

      The inverted scrolling annoyed the hell out of me till I saw I could change it.

      Launchpad isn’t bad, but I’m not going to mess with it much right now. I’m on vacation after today for 2 weeks 😉
      I’ll play a lot with lion.

      Fence sitters… Just buy it, it runs fine.
      Only major thing I saw, safari gets broken on some upgrades. Mine worked so I don’t know if it’s something that can be fixed easy.

    2. I installed Lion about 2 weeks ago and did the same thing – switched the prefs back for scrolling. But a couple of days later, I switched it to the new way because this is the way that it works on iOS devices. I muddled through like this for a couple of days and now the new way seems more intuitive. The lesson here is just endure the pain for a couple of days and then you will get used to it.

      1. That’s my experience too. I’m getting used to the upside down scrolling and it really makes more sense to mentally drag the surface of the document up to see what’s below the viewable window. Logically, it makes sense. Muscle memory, however, is taking a little longer to change.

    3. Agreed RE: scrolling.. with a desktop OS and the way fingers were created, moving fingers down on a horizontal surface is more comfortable (especially with browsing the web. It’s a good thing that there’s such an option to go either way with Lion. Perhaps it would be nice to be user selectable on a per application basis… but then again that could get confusing.

    4. If all you’re going to do is change all the settings back, why did you bother updating in the first place?

      Give yourself a week to re-learn trackpad scrolling – you’ll be glad you did, as it’s far more natural once you get used to it. I used one of those free apps for Snow Leopard to re-train myself a month or so ago. Yes it was a struggle, but worth it now and I can’t imagine going back.

      1. No it’s not.

        It’s natural ONLY if your fingers are ON the screen manipulating the page.

        Once you move the manipulation away from the screen, it’s no longer natural.

        Same thing with fps shooters.
        Your mouse manipulates the CAMERA. Which inverted mouse mimics real life.
        Leaving it non inverted your brain can learn to deal with it, but it’s not correct.
        That’s why many gamers will walk away from any fps game they can’t invert the mouse.

        The way apple does scrolling in lion IS backwards.

        1. Sorry, but I disagree. I don’t think there is a “natural” way to scroll. It works either way. In Snow Leopard, when you scroll “down”, you are saying, “I want to see what’s ‘down’ below the screen”. Put more simply, you are moving the scroll bar down“. In Lion, when you scroll “down”, you are saying “grab the page and slide it downwards”.

          Both are equally :”natural” ways of looking at the problem. You just need a little time to adjust.

          Hell, if we as a people can deal with the fact that calculators have the high numbers at the top and phones have them at the bottom, I think we can deal with scrolling in the other direction.


          1. Apple calls the default natural.

            Just glad they allowed a change.
            You can like the way it is, but it’s not natural. The old way apple did it, and everyone else…. Is the accepted/correct way.
            Apple changed it to be more like a touchscreen interface.. Now in the future if apple makes touchscreen macs… I’d go to apples “new” way.
            But until then, leave it alone it’s not broke.

          2. True. Neither is unnatural. Each represents a different metaphor, one of a frame being moved over a document, the other of a document being moved around behind a frame.

            The newer metaphor has the potential advantage of being directionally unconfined. An example would be the the grabbing “hand” in a map application.

        2. It’s only seems “backwards” because the previous way was already backwards.

          LordRobin has it right – the old way was as if you were manipulating the scroll bar, the new way is as if you’re manipulating the content itself. Since scrollbars are no longer permanent fixtures on the screen (like in iOS), I’d say the new way is indeed more “natural”. Once I got used to Lion’s style of scrolling, the old way feels decidedly “unnatural”.

      2. Sounds good if all you use are Macs. But if you find yourself needing to frequently use Windows PCs (at work, say) then you probably want to revert to the original OS X behavior to avoid brain damage.

  2. “It’s the best operating system out there”

    LOL! I like that comment. Makes me wonder what can Apple do here on out to improve their desktop OS… Mac OS X seems complete and as polished as possible now with Lion.

    Perhaps the benefits from the Siri acquisition will be the next big thing… ?

  3. Drag and drop from the downloads stack to finder/desktop or wherever is not working for me. Preview has also stopped working perfectly.
    Very minor bugs in an operating system that is pretty neat by most accounts.

    Not sold on the two finger back/forward gesture in safari – webpages that need horizontal scrolling are a little tricker to navigate now.

  4. As an iPad and iPhone user, I actually like launchpad. I’ve organized everything in folders just like on my iPad and that gives it a nice consistency and I can always drop into the dock like I usually do. I don’t get ‘mission control’ but I haven’t really taken advantage of spaces before but maybe the ability to add spaces easily will have merit. So far, I’m liking Lion pretty well!

  5. “Only major thing I saw, safari gets broken on some upgrades. ”

    99% of the time it is complex user error. I found Avast! AV beta didn’t make the trip into Lion properly. It blocked incoming connections to Safari and Mail etc. What was a mind blower is that I could create and send mail.

    All else it looked like I had a failure in an Internet connection. That looked like a Firewall error so I turned OS X Firewall on and off etc trying to figure out where the block was.

    Eventually I determined that Avast would have to go until I merely turned off several services and everything immediately started working.

    1. AV software on a Mac, especially Lion, is like building a house in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and paying extra for flood insurance.

      Hey, but like Dennis Miller says, “I could be wrong”

      1. That’s exactly what I was thinking. (Well, not word for word, but as a general “HUH?”)

        — And Tablet Guy is using an AV Beta to boot! Probably a recent switcher from M$ who can’t imagine life without the need for AV “programs”)

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