As we discussed in our OS X Lion review, Apple’s latest operating system is an evolutionary step forward, a milestone in the company’s desktop software history that innovates old concepts and user interactions by bringing some of the features and design schemes seen on iOS devices to the Mac’s bigger screen. There is a subtle difference though: whereas most people would think Apple is “stealing” from iOS, building on the success of the iPhone and iPad (now a bigger business than desktop computers) to sell more Macs, Lion does in fact prove that the roots of OS X are still strong, but looking for a cohesive integration with the seeds planted on mobile. As Cody wrote in his review “Apple weaved our working knowledge of gestures and interfaces into the Mac to capitalize on our intuition” – Lion isn’t a glamorous iOS. Lion is an evolution of the OS X we know and use, and the changes made to the operating system are immediately visible in the interface.
Lion doesn’t look like iOS. If anything, Apple has tweaked the Aqua interface to achieve the same elegance, minimalism and focus on content first conceptualized on the iPhone, but it’s far from being an iOS clone. With Lion, Apple hasn’t ported iOS’ design principles to the Mac — they took the best parts of a mobile interface that they thought would also make sense on the desktop, and managed to make it work. The changes in Lion — both design-wise and feature-wise — never feel like forced additions that are weird to use and be familiar with. Rather, they’re subtle improvements that will make you wonder why they weren’t implemented before.