Apple’s next update to the OS X operating system, Lion, will be released sometime this month. There are a few things to consider before making any major OS upgrade on your Mac, and Lion has a few unique things to consider.
Can Your Mac Handle It?
It’s a safe bet if you’re running 10.6 Snow Leopard and have the Mac App Store, you’re good to go. But Apple have outlined specific processor requirements — buried on the “How to Buy” page of their website — you need to have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor.
Lose the Rosetta Apps
Lion will drop support for Rosetta, the layer of OS X that made it possible to run apps written for the PowerPC chip on the Intel based models. It’s been 5 years since Apple made the switch to Intel processors, and makes perfect since that the next generation OS X will leave the old PowerPC-only apps in the dust.
But what if you’re still running PowerPC only applications? Well, they’re not going to work anymore after the Lion upgrade. So, find out what they are and replace them now, if you can. Anything mission-critical that is not Intel-only or Universal by this time probably never will be, so best to stay with Snow Leopard.
Here’s how to check:
- Click “About This Mac” in the Apple menu then choose “More Info”, this will open the System Profiler.
- In the “Contents” column on the left, click on “Applications”
- After a minute or so, a list of every application on your machine will appear.
- Clicking the “Kind” column will sort by Intel, PowerPC and Universal
Anything with the Kind “PowerPC” will no longer work after the Lion upgrade. For me there are about 10 apps, and I actually don’t care about any of them.
To Upgrade or Clean Install?
This is the major question whenever upgrading to any new version of OS X. For me, in the past, I have opted for the “Archive & Install” option, which created a backup for your previous OS software and installed the new version fresh. From what I can tell, that is no longer an option with Lion because of it’s Mac App Store only distribution process. The only options here are a straight upgrade on top of Snow Leopard, or to do a clean install onto a new partition.
Fine, so what am I going to do? Part of me wants to perform a clean install, but the other part doesn’t want to deal with re-installing applications, copying back hundreds of gigabytes of media, re-customizing my user account, etc. I haven’t performed a fresh install of OS X on my iMac since Leopard, which makes me want to go that route. But the hassle isn’t worth it — Apple seem to be pushing upgrade-on-top-of-Lion as the way to go, so I’m inclined to trust that process will be fleshed out, and go with it.
The Features I Can’t Wait For
Even though it isn’t due out until iOS 5 is officially released this fall, I already have my developer iCloud account with iOS 5 beta 2. The real power of iCloud doesn’t show up until you can use it on all of your devices, including your Mac. This is the killer feature of the new Apple OSes, no doubt about it.
These three working together will take computing to a whole new level of simplicity. And it sure does solve the problem of a floppy disk save icon. Amiright?
Its release is imminent, and I will be buying, downloading and installing on all of my Macs the day it comes out. What about you?
Aside from a few moments perusing if/when I receive my invitation, I will avoid Google+ for as long as possible.
- I don’t trust Google. (I don’t trust Facebook either, but Google even less.)
- I find it highly unlikely their incremental roll-out will be a success for them. By the time enough people are invited, no one will care. Social networks are born from peer pressure to join.
Way back on May 12 of this year I posted the first entry into the freshly installed and slightly customized MoveableType engine on this very website. It would be my first foray back into blogging in 4… no, wait… 5 years.
Then something happened. Five days later, I forgot to post… for a month and a half. Yet I am intent upon making this work, I will not let this attempt fail alongside the previous. And so, here is my breaking through the silence entry — wherein I’ve reached the point that it might be easier to just let the blog sit with the thought that “well, I haven’t posted in a month, so why bother now?”, but instead I shall push through and pretend nothing is wrong.
I am so valiant.
Wherein I Recap the Time
In some defense, I was rather busy during that time. We had just launched Memorable Wines, the second in our Memorable Apps series, and had been highlighted by none other than the old-gray-lady of old-fashioned-journalism, The New York Times. A couple of weeks later I had to trudge north to Montana for a week for my day job’s annual meeting of the membership — which actually ended up being quite a relaxing trip (aside from the ongoing daytime technological hurdling that is inherent with any conference). I did manage to slip away for an afternoon into Glacier National Park, where I had the privilege to witness a Grizzly Bear fishing in the rapid runoff that feeds Lake McDonald, and only moments later was stalked by a Mule Deer the size of a large horse.
Meanwhile, in between, I moved into a new apartment in The Presidio of San Francisco’s latest adaptive reuse of historic military construction, The Presidio Landmark — a former merchant marine hospital, turned public health hospital, turned vacant dilapidated graffiti-laden 20 year eye sore, turned upscale condo-style apartment living. I love San Francisco…
And so, in the spirit of recaps — but also new habits — I made a big prediction back in May that I want to review. A new habit to set up along with regular posting on this site.
On May 12, I published an article “On MobileMe” in which I explained my reluctance and irritation with renewing my MobileMe subscription for $99. I also pointed out a few ways in which I thought MobileMe could be fixed. And while iCloud was not even a rumor at that time, I’m pleasantly surprised and fiercely optimistic for the service previewed several weeks later.
wireless sync, iDisk, price
Overall, I’m going to claim a win for this set. Apple did exactly what I had hoped, and more.
To start, the new setup experience for iOS 5 is entirely on the device itself, the first thing you do is setup an iCloud account and configure it to backup your apps, etc. Imagine when you need to replace your device in the future, all you’ll have to do is login with your iCloud credentials and your music, apps (including their data and documents), contacts, e-mail, calendars, and iDevice settings will be synced without a cumbersome plug into iTunes. What’s more, you can sync your media from your computer wirelessly as well, if you need to. And, in spite of my prediction, this will extend to iOS updates too… iTunes as it exists now is done for. iCloud is the new iTunes.
iDisk is rendered useless as well, and so, I think, is the entire “dropbox” model. The user doesn’t need to know, or care, where that special folder is that syncs to a server somewhere. Since it’s built into the OS and the apps, it just happens. Currently, to sync something to iDisk (or Dropbox) and thus have it available on all of my devices, I need to make sure that that “something” is specifically saved into the “iDisk” drive. With iCloud, it doesn’t matter where it’s saved — Apple’s quest to destroy the file system just got an adrenaline boost.
Then there is the price. I envisioned some kind of tiered system, specifically:
“Tier 1: FREE!; Back to My Mac, Find My iPhone, calendar, contacts, gallery, e-mail and iDisk (now an over-the-air sync capable media locker) with 16GB of storage;
Tier 2: $29/year; all of Tier 1 with 32GB of storage;
Tier 3: $39/year; Tier 1 services with 64GB of storage;
Tier 4: $99/year; Tier 1 services with 200GB of storage and Time Machine backups (after all, Backup App used to be a .Mac only application).”
I was very wrong. There are tiers, but for storage space (you start off with a mere 5GB), which have yet to be disclosed. The baseline cost? Free.
A fantastic metaphor I read recently, is iCloud as a highway for your data. After you setup your account, it’s invisible. It doesn’t matter where the server is, or if your on iCloud.com, your Mac, your iPhone, your iPod (I suspect, even, iWork.com). All that matters is what app you are in, and your documents are just there. The app can even remember where your cursor was, and the information is instantaneously sent down to all of your devices, all of the time.
The Bigger Picture
iCloud is clearly much more ambitious than just MobileMe 2.0, and that’s why MobileMe will cease to exist when iCloud is launched (well, about a year after its launch anyway). The metaphor of iCloud as a highway fits so well, but I suggest one should belabor the analogy a bit further… it’s much more like the interstate highway system.
Apple is opening it to developers.
Let that sink in for a moment. Apple have created a means for developers to store, and thus sync, documents seamlessly and instantly to all of a user’s other devices. You better believe this functionality will be inherent in thousands of apps, and yes, even some Memorable ones…
Apple is continuing to position its entire device line-up into a league of its own, with a strategy no one can beat. We’re not talking competition with Google here, or Microsoft, or RIM, or HP. There is no competition. Only Apple has the integration in place that is required for such a breath-taking seamless experience.
Exactly as Robert X. Cringely put it in an article I linked to a month.5 ago:
“Apple isn’t the next Microsoft, you see. Apple is not the next anything because the role it aspires to transcends anything imaginable by Microsoft, ever…”
Over at Boy Genius Report, they’ve caught wind of some super-secret-planning-and-training-ceremony at Apple Stores this weekend. Probably nothing… and I really hope Scott’s comments is wrong. (Ha Ha Ha)
Three tantalizing tidbits:
There’s an overnight shift planned for around 10-15 individuals at each Apple Store to work from late Saturday all the way through mid-Sunday.
During the overnight shift, it’s going to be required that employees lock cell phones in the main office. They will also have to sign an NDA with Apple.
Employees have had to download gigabytes of data from Apple corporate labeled, “training” in a password-protected zipped folder that won’t accessible to managers or anyone else until Saturday afternoon.
“[Microsoft and Ballmer] have lost confidence. Microsoft no longer believes it controls or even can control the game. Worse still, they don’t have confidence that they even know the rules.”
“Apple isn’t the next Microsoft, you see. Apple is not the next anything because the role it aspires to transcends anything imaginable by Microsoft, ever. Google is the next Microsoft, so Google is seen by Ballmer as the immediate threat — the one he has a hope in hell of actually doing something about.”
It’s a good, quick read.
(via The Brooks Review)
Earlier this week, Condé Nast announced it will bring its magazines to the iPad at reasonable prices. The first publication to arrive: The New Yorker.
I have subscribed to that tome of weeklies on and off for the last decade, stopping the subscription only because the content is often so lengthy for a weekly magazine that I would end up with towering stacks of bookmarked, half-read issues that left me feeling dirty when all 80 pounds were lugged out to the recycling. After allowing a subscription to lapse for more than several weeks, though, I would grow to miss the Talk of the Town, the wit of the comics, and fascinating analysis of some of the nation’s greatest minds — needless to say, a paperless iPad subscription will fit the bill nicely.
Post-The Daily Stress Disorder
I hesitated a couple of days before downloading the updated New Yorker app, waiting to hear the consensus from across the web first — mostly because of my traumatic interaction with The Daily earlier this year. I was the first among my peers to be excited for The Daily, despite Murdoch’s involvement. I thought “finally a major player with Apple’s direct involvement will enter the playing field and a sustainable subscription model à la The Kindle’s excellent subscribe and sync.” (Or something like that.) Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed. The Daily’s price wasn’t the problem, but the app is an embarrassment — absurdly slow, clunky, and more reminiscent of a mid-90s “multimedia CD-ROM!” than a respectable news resource.
So, back to The New Yorker. The app actually came out earlier this year, and I did quickly download it (it was free afterall), but the pricing model was ludicrous — $4.99 per issue. I could keep my paper subscription for less than the cost of one iPad issue per month, and get all 48 of them.
Like a Pig In…
So the other night I swallowed my fear and took the plunge. I downloaded the update, and immediately subscribed at the new monthly cost of $5.99 (that’s about 4 issues a month, 3, I assume, for the months that they publish the double issues). The experience is pristine.
Unlike The Daily, The New Yorker app is tasteful and understated. It’s not audio, and movies, and pictures, and charts, and graphs, because it can. It’s The New Yorker. On an iPad. Clean and no frills, all about the content and a pleasure to navigate. Beautiful typography, hi-quality photography (tastefully sprinkled, as in the print publication), and all of the comics bundled together in one spot — it’s practically perfect in every way.
I subscribe to a couple other Condé Nast publications in addition to The New Yorker and look forward to seeing what they have to offer for those as well.
Why did the publishers give in?
That’s the first question a friend asked when I was showing off the new New Yorker app the other day, and a good one. Why now, a year out, are these major publishers (I believe Hearst also made a similar announcement) deciding to finally introduce reasonable pricing on their publication’s app versions? I think the answer is two fold.
First, and most obvious, Apple just started to allow a subscription model earlier this year in conjunction with the release of The Daily. The second reason, which is a more recent development, I first noticed during the subscription process for The New Yorker — Apple is now sharing user information, and it is entirely opt-in. This is what the publishers really want — our information for their “real” business: selling it to marketing firms and advertisers.
And so be it. If that’s what it takes to get some real, good, content on my iPad I’m fine with it. It’s an opt-in system, and apparently over half of Apple users choose to tap OK. I can’t wait to see what these heavy players come up with, and others as they come on board. This is the year of the iPad all right, and maybe the year the “old” media figures out their future.
Last night we got a short e-mail requesting hi-res screenshots of our Memorable Wines app from Bob Tedeschi, writer on the gadget blog on nytimes.com. We, of course, jumped on a response — but had little clue about what might come of it.
This afternoon, we found out. Memorable Wines is featured prominently on the nytimes.com Gadgetwise Blog. So incredible. Just a day after Apple featured us as New & Noteworthy on the App Store homepage.
Ballmer should have been fired a long time ago, MSFT stock has been constipated since the turn of the century. The Skype deal is just the latest in a string of arrogant/bad moves by the infamous monkey-boy CEO.
Ben Brooks has a very nice piece on the state of the matter.
“This Skype deal should be the final nail in the coffin for the Ballmer era at Microsoft, yet I fear that employee number 30 may get a reprieve. Let’s take a stroll down Ballmer memory lane:”
And stroll he does: The Ballmer Days Are Over — The Brooks Review