Lion or Lamb?

June 6, 2011 - Mac OS X Finally Chases Windows

Apple's pitch for OS X Lion (v10.7, the successor to Snow Leopard) is in full swing. I am very happy with Snow Leopard on my trusty Mac Mini; I thought it a worthy upgrade to Leopard. I'm sure there are many useful and interesting features in Lion that will make it attractive to many, especially at the $30 upgrade price.

I'm naturally curious, so I made my way to the Apple site today and watched the OS X Lion Video. I'm still trying to push my jaw back into place.

Now I'm only going to mention one new feature brought to us by Lion. Ready? Full screen apps! That's right, you can now tell an app to occupy the entire surface of your display! Hide the children and lock the barn!

Okay, I'm dripping with sarcasm. I could have let that pass, but the Apple exec in the video lathered this up as just one of many great advances. Trouble is, it's been a Windows feature for what, nearly 20 years? In the marketing world, as in movies, suspension of disbelief is critical. Trying to dress up an OS upgrade in old clothes pretty much rips away those rosy glasses in one swipe of the paring knife. And once those glasses are dislodged, one becomes more critical and less willing to believe outright.

I managed to compose myself enough to watch the whole video and there was more. Of particular note were "new" features that Windows 7 already has. This is the first time in recent memory when Apple was so clearly playing catchup with Microsoft.

Ignoring the actual merits of Lion, which I am not the best person to judge, if I were in Apple marketing I would rip this video off the the site and replace it with one that did not so obviously play into Microsoft's hands. I'm not suggesting that Lion is worthless, only that this video does not cast Lion in the best possible light. It's very unlike Apple.

On the subjective side, I thought the video was flat. It did not project the bubbling enthusiasm so common in past Apple videos; the execs seemed neither happy nor excited to be telling us about this release. Seen any of those parodies of this video style? The Lion video reminded me more of them than the real thing.

What a gaffe.

Tags: Mac, Operating Systems, OS X

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