Hopes for Mac OS X 10.7

Categories: Sociology, Technology
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The Apple Special Event, which is supposed to go “Back to the Mac” is about to start, so I figured I’d put down a few of my hopes for the new Mac OS, which, based on the picture sent out with the invitation, will likely be called “Lion.” (Where do they go from there? It would seem like the other big cat names would be a step down after this.)

#1: A New, Modern File System

HFS+ has gotten pretty long in the tooth, and to leverage today’s bigger and faster hard drives, moving to a 21st century file system (something like ZFS, which was supposed to be included in the Snow Leopard update until Apple and Sun couldn’t agree on terms) will be a critical move, especially for peripheral technologies like Time Capsule. Along with the move towards leveraging the power of modern graphics cards on the OS level (something introduced with Snow Leopard) and the move to 64 bit, the next big change that can improve computing speed will be tied to more advanced file systems. I’d expect Apple to make this move eventually, and this would be a great time to do it.

#2: Dropbox-style Home Folders

I’ve said for a while that Apple should acquire Dropbox, that incorporating Dropbox-style syncing in the cloud for the home folder would be a killer app for the Mac. Think about it: just treat your home machine (or laptop, or whatever) as you do now; only when you make any change or add anything to your documents, music folder, etc., that change would be mirrored in the cloud, so you could access it from anywhere (and it would be permanently backed up). Granted, the bandwidth and cloud disk space needed for this sort of thing would be pretty huge, but the process could begin by at least incorporating this sort of thing for the Documents folder, if not for the entire Home folder. Dropbox is amazing, and being incorporated at the OS level would only make it better.

#3: A Three-Finger “Middle Click” for Trackpads

Apple’s multi-touch trackpad technology is awesome. But it has annoyingly been lacking one basic gesture from the beginning: a “middle click.” I constantly use my mouse’s middle click button for things like opening links in new tabs—but I can’t do this when I’m using the trackpad because it has never been incorporated in the gesture-recognition software embedded in OS X. I know the capacity is there; why has this not been introduced yet?

#4: Refreshes of DVD Player and Front Row-related Apps

Apple’s DVD Player is almost embarrassingly out of date. Which other player doesn’t offer different playback speeds? Being able to watch, say, a documentary in 1.5x is quite useful for those who live busy lives. But to do so on a Mac requires third-party software. The same is true with Front Row, which doesn’t even recognize the newer additions to iTunes like iTunesU files. (For that matter, can Apple please add faster playback options to iTunes also? How has this been overlooked?)

#5: Resolution Independence

Seriously, how could this not be a part of 10.7?

Oh, One More Thing…

I’d really like to see native eSATA introduced to the MacBook Pro family; I miss the old 34 ExpressCard slot that allowed me to plug in my external SATA hard drives when using my laptop at home. It’d be great to have eSATA functionality built in. Please?

Tags: Apple, Dropbox, Lion, Mac, OS X, Snow Leopard

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