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The Top 10 Unsung Features Of OS X Lion (Part 1)

The Top 10 Unsung Features Of OS X Lion (Part 1)

Following our feature of the top 10 unsung features of iOS 5, we’ve decided to round up 10 really interesting features of the upcoming Mac OS X Lion that weren’t emphasized or fully addressed in the WWDC 2011 keynote, so sit back, enjoy, and let the Lion hype build within you like a shaken bottle of seltzer.

1 – System Preferences

Although it’t not exactly at the forefront of every Mac user’s computing experience, OS X Lion has made some significant improvements in the System Preferences app. Improvements include the ability to set up internet accounts all from one place (supports Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and many others), new options for scrolling, including momentum scrolling, and the ability to scroll “with the content” (like manipulating a piece of paper) rather than “against the content”, and the ability to turn the indicator lights off that show when your apps are running.

2 – QuickTime Player

Ever since QuickTime Pro went away, some users have been disappointed that the current version of QuickTime X has lost a few abilities. A few of these return in OS X Lion, including the ability to combine multiple clips together into a single file (by simple drag and drop, no less!), exporting of audio-only files, video rotation, and showing pointer clicks when doing a screen capture. Also new is the ability to share videos directly via Vimeo, FaceBook, Flickr, iMovie, or Mail.

3 – iChat

I don’t know many “convert” Mac users that didn’t go through some kind of positive experience with iChat when they first switched to the Mac, and now iChat has improved, adding support for Yahoo! Messenger! Now you can tag your friends with iPhoto pictures, and developers can create custom service plug-ins for chat protocols that are not currently supported in iChat.

4 – iCal

iCal, considered by many to be a staple of the Mac, didn’t get much love during the WWDC 2011 keynote (although it was shown a few times). iCal has gotten a makeover to make it appear more similar to the iOS version, has finally gained a day view, as well as a yearly view (including support for printing annual calendars), and an interesting new view that shows the days when you have lots and lots of things planned (similar to a heat map). To top it all off, iCal is redesigned to look and work great as a full screen app.

5 – FileVault 2

FileVault 2 is one of the features of OS X that not many people talk about – it’s a built-in encryption service that can encrypt and protect your files, protecting them from unauthorized access. Rather than just encrypt your home folder, as the previous version of FileVault did, FileVault 2 can now encrypt your entire hard drive, as we;; as any external hard drives you connect to your Mac. Further, now FileVault can encrypt your Mac in the background while you are working, so you don’t have any down time and aren’t interrupted. You can use instant wipe to immediate cripple your data in one pass, and eliminate it entirely in the second.

There are so many cool unsung features in OS X Lion, it just didn’t feel right to cram them all on one page – click here to move to the second half of our list, and see features 6 through 10.

Official OS X Lion Features Page