As published by many blogger… Apple’s currently working on Mac OS X 10.7 - codenamed Cheetah, Lion, Ocelot, Lynx, or, er, Lolcat, depending on which rumour you subscribe to - isn’t interesting in itself. What I believe, it should be Cheetah. What we’d love to know is what new features it’ll bring to the party.
We’ve listed what we’d like to see below; post a comment if we’ve missed something from your wish list.
1. A unified interface
Since Apple started mucking about with brushed metal in 1999, the Mac interface has lost the elegance and consistency it had in its early years. Apple should unify the interface, perhaps drawing on recent iterations of iLife, along with Quick Look and Dock stacks. And if the revised interface is sluggish, this merely leaves the door open for Mac OS X 10.8 - “Cape Lion” - to increase snappiness, the cape referring to the operating system’s superhero-like qualities.
2. System-wide tagging and smart collections
From online services to mobile devices, it’s clear the hierarchical file/folder system is on borrowed time. Apple realised this when it introduced Spotlight, and yet system-wide tagging doesn’t seem to be on the company’s radar. Along with adding such a feature to Mac OS X 10.7, we’d like to see smart collections extended to other apps, such as smart bookmarks for Safari.
3. Superior Spotlight
Spotlight is a great technology with a poor interface. We hope Mac OS X 10.7 improves Spotlight’s usability significantly, perhaps taking a few tips fromLaunchBar. At the very least, Spotlight’s menu should support Quick Look, and although Apple rarely looks back, it’d do well to revisit the excellent Spotlight sorting window from Tiger.
TAKE A TIP: LaunchBar is what Spotlight could be, if it wasn’t a little bit rubbish
4. Better Stacks
Stacks evolved in Snow Leopard but still fall short of the original rumoured concept: an arbitrary but easy to access ‘pile’ of user-defined documents. A workaround would be to make smart folders accessible in a stack - currently, clicking one in the dock opens it in Finder. Stacks should also support Quick Look.
5. More multitouch
Although an industry-wide transition to multitouch is underway, it’s going to be a while before it’s the default system for interaction; no-one wants to spend their time with an arm outstretched, swiping at a vertical iMac screen. However, Mac OS X 10.7 will likely integrate more concepts from iPhone, enabling laptop and tablet users to benefit from system-wide gestures and actions that developers can utilise with ease.
6. Configurable Spaces
Spaces are quite powerful but configuration options are basic and limited. Advanced options should ape Hyperspaces, enabling you to name and define an individual background for each space. And while we can’t see Apple doing this, space-specific Docks would be great.
7. Cloud services
Apple’s web services are stale, but perhaps Mac OS X 10.7 will improve things. We hope a user-friendly and robust built-in cloud back-up and sync system will be integrated and that more Apple apps will integrate with cloud services. We don’t, however, want to see the operating system called Cloud Leopard, because that’s a rubbish name.
8. Finder tabs and enhancements
Finder is now a Cocoa app, but it still needs a kick up the bottom. We’d like to see broken FTP support fixed, optional window tabs (see TotalFinder for an indie’s crack at this), per-folder show/hide settings for hidden files, cut/move, window snapping, and better labels that offer user-definable colours.
FIX THE FINDER: We’d like to see Finder tabs in Mac OS X 10.7, as per TotalFinder
9. Embrace third-party services
Some Apple apps now deign to notice non-Apple services - iPhoto can upload to Flickr, and iChat grudgingly works with Jabber. Apple should take this further - iChat should become a truly multi-service IM client, Address Book should integrate with Skype, and Mail should integrate with social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
10. A Mac app store
This might be a controversial choice, but it could be a smart one. The iPhone/App Store ecosystem has shown that making apps affordable and accessible, easy to install and simple to update, benefits developers and Apple alike. A Mac app store shouldn’t be the only way to get apps into Mac OS X 10.7, but we’ll be astonished if it isn’t announced as an option within the next year.