Mountain Lion Review: What Happened to Apple’s Innovation?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by borcanm, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. borcanm, Feb 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2008
  2. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I read that, and found it interesting. I heard somewhere that Apple is (finally!) going to upgrade the openGL from version 2.x to 3 - I think those are the version numbers - so they're not standing completely still. But giz has a good point; besides AirPlay and iCloud, which can both be considered apps, there's not much new in ML from Lion.
  3. macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    I personally found Lion to be quite the upgrade. Mission Control to me is much superior and integrated than the old Spaces and Expose concept. Much more useful, much more organized, way easier to navigate and find content in applications. Gestures. Awesome. Navigating is that much better with the 4 finger swipes and all the gestures added everywhere in the UI. Versions and Autosave are quite nice to have.

    While I don't enjoy all the little UI stuff, it's easy to turn off and revert to the old behavior. A lot of under the hood stuff with new APIs and frameworks are also a god send (NSRegularExpression, finally!).

    Uh ? That happened 6 months ago. Lion contains a full implementation of OpenGL 3.2
  4. macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    Mountain Lion has not "dropped" yet. This is a Developer Preview only and does not contain all of the features ML will have when it launches. Apple still has yet to give ML a proper announcement and they'll save some features (Siri perhaps?) for then. Until then the DP is mainly about stability, compatibility, and streamlining the OS.

    As for the fear of iSO/OSX merging you're really taking a Chicken Little approach to it. Apple is not creating a single OS to cross all platforms a la Windows 8. Apple is taking what works in iOS and applying it appropriately to OSX. Notifications behaves the way it should on a desktop, not how it does on an iPad. That is the key distinction. OSX is still 100% designed around a mouse and keyboard, none of it is designed to be used on a touch screen including the feared iOS ported functions. They are all desktop centric iOS inspired fluff features that shouldn't be causing anyone any heartburn.

    Apple is now on a one year release cycle so innovation is going to appear to taper off a bit between releases. I'd expect one major new feature with each new OS that unfortunately will probably need to be polished in the next year's OS. Full screen apps and Mission Control were Lion's "big features" and could really use some attention in ML that unfortunately isn't there yet. I'm still holding out hope that they get fixed and ML's showcase feature will be announced when ML is more formally introduced.
  5. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I must admit Gizmodo seems unnecessarily negative but I'm having a few doubts of my own. I picked up a refurb 2010 mini to play with ML. It came with SL. It was fast. Stinking fast. With 2 gig of RAM and a 5400 RPM drive it was fast. Compared to Lion on my aging Macbook, it was fast. Compared to Mountain Lion on that very same mini, SL was fast.

    But the speed of an early beta is not the real source of my doubt. I'm just frustrated that Apple has voted so many relatively recent Intel Macs off the Mountain Lion island only one year after they voted Rosetta off the island.

    I'm mildly annoyed by the new iCal and Address UI but it's not as big a deal as Apple's quickening pace of making old hardware obsolete. I would argue that Mac users need iCloud. iCloud really should be available on SL. In fact, I'd go so far as to say iCloud really should be available on Leopard. And these things should happen before somebody in Cupertino switches off mobile me. Perhaps this is an opportunity for a 3rd party app to sync from iPhone to Mac wirelessly on older versions of OS X. I guess the glaring issue here is Apple supports iCloud on Vista. Vista. The dorky OS Apple used in it's "I'm a PC I'm a Mac" commercials gets more current support than an OS Apple released after the last of those commercials stopped airing.

    So I'm not as wildly negative about ML as Gizmodo, but I'm a bit worried that Apple isn't taking care of its older customers and oddly enough Apple is neglecting some of its more recent customers. To me the answer is to release updates for Leopard and SL that bring iCloud to those users who have older hardware and aren't ready to upgrade by June 1, 2012.

    Now I turn to some of the criticism of ML based on how it works. In my brief usage, while I find it slow I find it every bit as usable as Lion or SL. I like gatekeeper and by default it's set to permissive. I bet if a bad malware threat emerged, Apple could switch the default to "identified developers only" by a software update.

    As for creating a walled garden, I don't mind so much. I like curated computing. I look at my Mac like a "data appliance." Sure I could have bought a cheaper brand and spent my valuable time worrying about virus definition updates, direct x and dll heck but I opted for an environment where I'm not clicking on irrelevant warnings every 30 seconds and gatekeeper, if done right, could be another significant step in the direction of a quality "curated" desktop computing experience. If I was setting up a Mac for an 80+ year old senior, I'd switch gatekeeper to "app store only" and I'd be able to walk away secure in the knowledge my phone wouldn't be ringing the next morning with "i can't print" "i can't connect to the internet" "i can't get email" "i cant boot up" like a windows user might run across.

    The ability to optionally "make a Mac run like an iPad" is a good thing to a person like me that spends a good chunk of my time helping family members with computer problems. And no, my Mac-using family members never call me but there are at least half a dozen who refuse to switch because they are afraid they can't "learn" OS X. In an iOS-like OS X, there's nothing to learn.

    So while I'm frustrated with all the haters saying ML is the end of the world for Apple, I'm disappointed Apple doesn't offer iCloud to users on older OS/hardware so they can switch at a time of their own choosing rather than losing services (mobile me) they enjoy today.
  6. macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    Depends what you'd class as new?

    The synchronicity between my iPad/iPhone will be greatly improved with the stand alone applications that are being introduced in Mountain Lion (Notes, Reminders, Messages), which are applications I use a lot of on iOS and find limited on a desktop because you've got to do a lot of messing about on there to get it to work as intended.

    Throw in the Notification Centre on top of that (again, desktop versions are a bit flaky IMO), and I'm well happy as are a lot of people I've discussed this with.

    I get the benefits of complete synchronisation between my devices, and also get to use all the applications on the Mac that I normally use.

    Here is where people chime in that its too much like iOS!! OH NOES!!

    Get a grip.

    Its still Mac OSX with some features that unify a lot of day to day applications. Big deal if it uses some of the aesthetics for it. Its not like they've removed any major functionality from OSX to cater to this.

    In response to the original "review", innovation? For me, Mountain Lion is about completing iCloud across all devices. Where as the Mac had the benefit of some of the features that can be used from iCloud, this completes it. iCloud is now (will be) fully operational. iCloud is the innovation and making it the superior cloud service.
  7. macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2012
    I agree with them on the User Interface aspect of apps like Calendar and Notes and such. I hate "kitschy" UI artwork. The first thing I turned off in Lion was the "lego" Dashboard and its widgets, ugh. I have to live with Calendar and Address Book, though.

    And really, the problem isn't so much that Apple's designs are bad (Dashboard aside, ugh :p)... it's that they open the door to other developers to do the same thing. And with that, you run the chance of spawning some truly god-awful UIs on a per-app basis. I want at least *some* uniformity, not a mish-mash toybox.

    I recently downloaded Gemini2 from the App Store, to remove some duplicate files on my Mac. The app started out with a clean, interesting interface... then went into this iTunes-like look, which I was OK with. When I confirmed files to delete, however, it did this crazy "printout" summary... and then a double confirmation to delete... which then fed the "printout" into a "shredder." I asked myself, was all that really necessary guys?
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2009
  9. macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    This is what I'm worried about, it feels like Apple realized it hasn't been paying as much attention to it's computers so they're trying to bring the faster iOS cycles to the slower Mac OS cycles. Generally speaking most people see their Macs as a sort of "investment" and plan to get as much out of them as possible, cutting off some machines that are only a few years old doesn't sit too well with me.

    Maybe we on an Mac oriented forum get it, but the Average Joe that goes on the Apple Support forum to ask why his older version of Word doesn't work isn't going to understand why his iMac can't be upgraded.
  10. macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    OK, just read the Mountain Lion review on Gizmodo. It didn't strike me as anti-Apple at all. For sure the reviewer doesn't like some of the choices in the UI nor is he a fan of the ever closing walled garden designed for the collection of money.

    As an Apple user I agree with most of the review's conclusions with a few exceptions. The coverage concentrated on features while ignoring questions of power as in "what can this new OS really do for those who need a really fast computer?".

    It strikes me that after one has spent some time reading Mac oriented Web sites from the pro-Mac MacRumors to the stupidly fanboy Appleinsider and MacLife it's easy to view the honest yet neutral Gizmodo review as "anti-Mac". It's just that they didn't drink the Kool-Aid before publishing it and therefore they don't consider everything Apple tries to shove down our throats as being the latest, grooviest, most wonderful route into the new paradigm of the future.
  11. macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2010
    Gizmoto does not see the big picture. They say its not the future, but yes it is. Mobile devices ARE the future. They are finishing the transition to making their mobile apps onto the desktop. So when they get back to the home or office they can continue working using the same apps on the desktop.

    Since we are going to see yearly releases expect to see not as many changes/features then previous releases. Really less time to do so.
  12. macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2003
    How much more big innovations are going to happen on desktop OSes? The desktop has simply matured to the point where there's just not much more you can do.

    It's all about mobile now. Actually, for Apple it's more than that. It's about keeping everything in sync. This is exactly what was meant when Steve talked about the Mac being demoted to "just another device." It won't matter what device you're on, whether it's your Mac, your iPhone, your iPad. All your data will be there.

    That's the future.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2010
    You could say the innovation is bridging mobile devices and desktop devices. That's a big step a lot of people have tried but no one has made it work.

    1 unified experiences across all devices. Hell look at Microsoft they've been in the cross platform market MUCH longer than Apple and they haven't gotten close.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    None of the Lion features bugged me even as they didn't impress me much. What did annoy me a lot however was how buggy it was and still is. Sleep/Wake is unbelievably still screwed up and that was Apple's forte. Besides no usability improvements for Finder - I hate using Finder and am sure many others do to - but Apple doesn't bother, which is the biggest frustration of all.

    But no - I think I am done with Apple's desktop OS - I am on Windows 7 and I repeatedly find myself less annoyed. I have until 2020 in terms of Microsoft support, so I am golden!
  15. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Refuse to go to Gizmodo's site.

    Does anyone really expect insightful coverage from Giz? iCloud alone is a HUGE undertaking from Apple. It's not a Dropbox where they are just syncing documents that can be dragged into a folder.

    iCloud has to permeate the entire system. It's in the Core Data frameworks, It's built right into many API that developer use everyday. Apple had to insert it into so many areas I'm not surprised that it's a bit half backed at this point. I find my Contacts, Calendar, Reading List sync fine but more work needs to be done and judging from the preliminary features of ML I'm eager to see what they do.

    Lion ushered in Core Storage the vestiges of a volume manager. You can do a lot of handy things with a volume manager

    Apple creates File Vault 2 which does full disk encryption without speed penalty and can even encrypt external drives.

    Even Quicklook improved greatly with the ability to view more data types.

    Just what the hell is Gizmodo looking for? What glaring features have been omitted?

    You know I can go read whining from a million sources. Gizmodo's job is "inform" If OS X is lacking innovation then deliver a persuasive argument as to what it is missing and what features should be added to improve.

    Don't let yourself become a no talent hack. Anyone can blog about "no innovation" and rattle off a bunch of gripes. That's not doing your readership right IMO
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2011
    Gizmodo is a really interesting tech blog, but you really can't take their "reviews" seriously. They published an iPhone 5 review before the iPhone 5 (which was actually the 4S) was even announced, if that tells you anything. Their reviews of Apple's software are always negative even though the blog is written by a bunch of Apple fanboys (yeah, I'm a fanboy too). First they talk ****, then a couple weeks later they are in love with the stuff. It makes no sense to me.

    Mountain Lion isn't really about innovation. Apple is transitioning from OS X to iOS. Yes, I believe this is what's happening. OS X isn't iOS at this moment, but it may very well be one day in the future. Apple is making this a long transition in order to make it easy on the users. They're not the only ones doing it, either. Look at Windows 8: a combined desktop and table OS. Consumers love the iPhone and they love tablets. This simple approach to computing is where technology is headed. I don't necessarily like it, it's just my observation.
  17. macrumors 68030


    Jan 19, 2006
    I think Giz may lack the technical expertise to review the areas where ML is likely to innovative. They say nothing of New API's or significant below the hood changes. Really just scratching the surface of UI changes.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2007
    Here, there and everywhere
    I've seen this argument before but having run the betas of Snow Leopard & Lion from DP 1 there really hasnt been (any?) missing features (certainly big ticket features) that appear suddenly at the end. Usually it's things that suddenly go missing in the last couple of DP's as they drop features that aren't quite ready.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    True but both Snow Leopard and Lion were given proper announcements to showcase their new features before the developer previews were released. That didn't happen here so in true Apple fashion I'd expect they are saving a few things for the actual announcement. Take Siri for example. She never showed up in the iOS 5 betas at any capacity.
  20. macrumors 68040


    Aug 6, 2007
    I was kind of grumpy about the Mountain Lion release until I saw what was in store for the Windows 8 crowd. What a disjointed mess. Made me appreciate Lion again.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2009
    Gizmodo isn't exactly praised for the quality of its journalism. There's also been some hostility toward Apple after that incident a couple years back when one of their staff had purchased and reviewed a stolen iPhone 4 and had refused to return it after multiple requests. That's gotten them banned from all future product announcements, and whenever they do a product review, they tend to blast Apple pretty harshly regardless of how positive the reception is amongst fellow news outlets.
  22. macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Huntington, WV
    They seem to not take into account the fact that these updates aren't spread out over the same time period they used to be. We aren't going to see a Tiger to Leopard type of jump again. Just too much stuff to pack into a short period of time.
  23. macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    No it isn’t. Natural scrolling is really the only one of Lion’s disasters it was possible to easily disable.

    You can’t turn off versions. The UX for disabling resume is *horrible*. You can’t restore coloured finder icons. Full screening web video is still a complete mess. You can’t revert gestures back to SL’s much more accessible ones if you have RSI or a hand disability. You can't revert the various applications back to the pre-skeudomorphed mess they are now.

    None of this stuff is "easy" to turn off, and most of it is impossible.

  24. HLX
    macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2006

    Much like when someone asks in a meeting "How can we make x more innovative?", the same applies when someone asks 'where is the innovation in x'? In itself, it's a point-missing question.

    It's almost like the reviewer is really railing against the old guard of the desktop. Like someone mentions above, it's a matured paradigm that is more about refinements than sea changes.

    The reference to Windows seems a bit flawed too; whilst MS are really going hell for leather and creating some very interesting stuff, it's not like they've completely exited Aeroland for Metroville.

    The geometric rise of the mobile and its OS has hastened the need for the desktop to evolve, and everyone's trying to figure it out. Apple are doing it slightly differently to MS but their end goal is basically the same.

    Still, it is a bit of a downer to see the Lion OSes being more resource hungry, and some of the cheesier skeumorphs are a bit icky.
  25. haravikk, Mar 2, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    The problem really is that most of the innovation is now occurring on iOS rather than OS X, with OS X mostly just getting ported iOS features.

    Now, I don't have a big problem with this, as iOS, being a mobile platform, is where innovation really shines as it needs to marry all the best new features with strong performance.

    Where I see Apple falling down is that they're not doing enough to make these ported iOS features desktop friendly. In particular many of the features are over-simplified, which might be fine on a more limited platform, but on good laptops and desktops it's resulting in features that are prettier than they are function.

    Some examples I can think of:
    • Launchpad - didn't really add much value to regular OS X users except that I can see it being easier to use for those with touch-pads, though even then, touch-pads aren't the same as capacitive screens so it's not that much easier to use. While being able to search in Mountain Lion will be nice, it doesn't really add any value beyond Spotlight and the Dock; in fact it's less powerful than either. What would have been more interesting would be if icons were automatically grouped on screen to keep things like your common apps (Mail, Safari etc.) arranged close together, allowing for quick access to one, or even the option to launch all of them at once, this being instead of folders which are, IMO, not really that useful on bigger screens (I don't even like them on the iPad).
    • Mission Control - replaced Exposé as we knew it without keeping enough of the functionality. It's saddening to see that Mountain Lion doesn't seem to be fixing any of this, as simply being able to click a window group to expand them into application-windows view would make a huge improvement to Mission Control's usability; while I support the idea of the changes, the simplification, and lack of fixes, has made it less usable.
    • Fullscreen Apps - so what, Apple suddenly forgot that it's possible to have more than one screen? Even laptop users are sometimes going to hook up to a second screen now and then, in which case Fullscreen mode is worse than useless. No sign of this being fixed either, looks like the future of computing is… one screen!
    • Notification Centre - sounds like it's going to be another overly simplified, single-monitor only feature that might even be Mac App Store only! What happened to the Apple that encouraged innovation by giving developers access to as many great APIs as possible? I really hope they're going to change this, and remember that people might actually like to control where it goes, especially one multiple monitor set-ups.
    • Messages - fine, integrate iMessages, was hoping for that feature. But it's still fundamentally iChat, and I hate iChat; the buddy-list is much too unwieldy and in dire need of a rethink, especially compared to Adium's excellent Contact Bubbles. No innovation here, which is a shame, as it really needs a lot more done to it, particularly on the iMessages side; getting alerts on all devices or none, and never quite being able to tell when the behaviour will switch or why is not a good way to work with this.
    • GateKeeper - this is one of the features that I'm most looking forward to, as it's a wonderfully simple security feature. But again, it seems like it doesn't do enough, as there's no way to insist that an app be Sandboxed without switching to Mac App Store only. Seems like an oversight as I'd like to allow Mac App Store + signed developers, while requiring Sandboxing. Also, am I right in saying that Gatekeeper doesn't allow its settings to be overridden on a case-by-case basis? I'd much rather the dialogue give users the option to seek authentication, so I can force Sandboxing for most apps, but relax that restriction if I know what I'm installing doesn't work in a sandbox (anti-virus, disk utilities etc.), rather than having to switch Gatekeeper to Anyone (along with the warning it gives when you do), then switch back after the first run.
    • Social Networking - is it me or is Apple getting too cosy with specific social networking solutions? Why can't the social networking features (share sheets and twitter integration) be more plugin based? By all means supply Twitter and Facebook plugins by default, but how are the alternatives supposed to get the same level of integration?

    Aside from all this, the Finder still could use a major rethink; aside from adding tabs to the current Finder, I can't help but think that Apple's innovation could be applied to creating a new method of browsing the file-system that's more streamlined, or at least less buggy and inconsistent. Considering it's such a commonly used part of the OS, it really does get overlooked; I'd pay for an OS update for nothing but a Finder upgrade, if it was good enough.

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