Product Apple Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
Web Site Apple OS X Lion
Specifications Requires Mac with Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor, 2GB of memory (4GB recommended), broadband internet connection and 7GB hard disk space for installation
Price £20.99 + VAT
MAKER OF SHINY TOYS Apple is often accused of putting style ahead of substance, but sometimes the way a product looks and feels can be an important part of how it works. During the demo session of Lion, the latest major release of Apple's OS X operating system at the firm's London HQ, I found myself feeling rather unimpressed by the new features that were being unveiled.
After all, multi-touch gestures have been around in OS X for a quite while, so merely adding a few more finger-tangling gestures didn't seem like much of a big deal. The new Mission Control feature simply seemed like a prettier version of the existing 'Spaces', and LaunchPad - well, I couldn't quite see the point of LaunchPad at all.
Even so, after a few days of using Lion - or OS X version 10.7 as it's officially called - I found that I really rather like it. The ability to step backwards and forwards through a series of web pages simply by swiping your fingers left or right across the trackpad is really rather neat.
It's practical, but it's all the more effective because of Apple's attention to detail. The animation as pages flick across the screen is so smooth that it really makes the Mac feel more responsive - as though the trackpad were an extension of your fingers (assuming, of course, that your Mac actually has a trackpad).
Some of those new multi-touch gestures do feel a bit clumsy at first; the idea of a three-finger swipe initially reminded me of the old 'three finger salute' on Windows (Ctrl-Alt-Delete).
However, it really is rather satisfying when you flick your fingers up on the trackpad to activate the Mission Control feature and then just watch an entire screen full of overlapping programs and windows neatly reorganise themselves in an instant.