Lion's New Recovery Partition

This morning, shortly after Lion hit the App Store for the general public, I posted a link to several notable reviews of Lion where you can read all about the nit-picky details that have changed or been added/removed. I won't attempt to write a comprehensive review of my own, simply because people like John Siracusa will do a much better job at it than I will. One notable new feature of the operating system that I would like to point out though, is the new recovery partition that Lion makes when it installs itself. Apple has posted an entire knowledge base article detailing how this process works:

OS X Lion includes a new feature called Lion Recovery that includes all of the tools you need to reinstall Lion, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup without the need for optical discs. A lot of people noted that the new Mac Minis released this morning no longer contain optical drives built-in. Jim Dalrymple actually managed a brief interview with Brian Croll, Apple's vice president of OS X product marketing who told Jim: A new Mac mini was also released with faster processors, and surprisingly to some people, no optical drive. Apple said the popularity of the Mac App Store helped with that decision. “We found that the majority of customers don’t use the optical drive on a regular basis,” said Moody. “Things are changing. The primary use for the optical drive was to install software, but the Mac App Store provides a more efficient method for doing that.” Clearly Apple is not afraid to eliminate components that customers don't regularly use in order to take advantage of the extra space to add new hardware on the inside. They first did this with the MacBook Air, and now the Mini. As John Gruber says: Optical drives are the new floppy drives.

Why Windows 8 Fails To Learn The iPad's Lessons

Jason Snell writes at Macworld:

The problem with the announcement is that Microsoft has failed to commit to the tablet as a unique type of device. The company that spent a decade trying to push Windows tablets on a market that just didn’t want them is still convinced that it’s a selling point that Windows 8 tablets will run Microsoft Excel for Windows and if you hook up a keyboard and mouse to them, you can get an arrow cursor and click to your heart’s content. Imagine if Apple had done that with the iPad. When Apple announced the iPad, the company showed off early versions of the iWork apps: Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. Those apps are utterly unlike their Mac equivalents, optimized for the tablet form factor and the size of your fingertips. Imagine if the iPad was, instead, just a tiny Mac that ran the regular version of Keynote. Oh, sure, there might also have been a bunch of touch-focused Dashboard widgets that took greater advantage of the touchscreen, but in the end if you wanted to run a Mac app, you could just do it. If Apple had done that, I think the iPad would’ve been a failure. The iPad, like the iPhone, was a success because it did not attempt in any way to replicate the desktop PC experience in the way that Windows tablets (and Windows Mobile) did. Apple used the underpinnings of OS X to form the basis of iOS, but at no point in iOS do you see anything that could be remotely mistaken for a Mac. On Windows 8, in contrast, Sinofsky says that there’s no way to kill the Windows desktop: “It’s always there.” ... With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft made a bold choice: to break free of its past and build a new platform that was specifically designed to run on a phone. One look at the touch layer in the Windows 8 demo and you can tell that something similarly bold is going on. But I can’t help but feel that Microsoft just can’t commit to that level of boldness; maybe it’s pride that stock Windows really should be the basis for a strong tablet operating system? I quoted a lot from Jason above, and I wanted to quote more but I am reticent to do so because I felt it would be too much. You should really just go read Jason's entire article. Jason writes an article as if it were a 10 book series where the first few novels are just character development. You need to go read his entire piece. It's worth it.

Why Windows 8 Is Fundamentally Flawed as a Response to the iPad

John Gruber writes at Daring Fireball:

But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows. The idea is that you get the new stuff right alongside Windows as we know it. Microsoft is obviously trying to learn from Apple, but they clearly don’t understand why the iPad runs iOS, and not Mac OS X. Microsoft’s demo video shows Excel — the full version of Excel for Windows — running alongside new touch-based apps. They can make buttons more “touch friendly” all they want, but they’ll never make Excel for Windows feel right on a touchscreen UI. Consider the differences between the iWork apps for the Mac and iPad. The iPad versions aren’t “touch friendly” versions of the Mac apps — they’re entirely new beasts designed and programmed from the ground up for the touchscreen and for the different rules and tradeoffs of the iOS interface (no explicit saving, no file system, ready to quit at a moment’s notice, no processing in the background, etc.). You really should read John's entire piece as he goes on to make several other points worth hearing but I don't want to quote his entire article here. Just go read it. My take? Steve Ballmer just can't let go of the product he helped to successfully bring to market. Internal politics matter to him as much, if not more, as what could actually help the company the most. He can't see the forest for the trees. He just wont let Windows go. I'm not saying Windows is a horrible product (despite the fact that I despise it personally), as it makes Microsoft a lot of money. Ballmer just can't get it through his head that you cannot put a desktop driven legacy OS and shoe-horn it onto a consumer electronics device with no peripherals. It just wont work. You make to many compromises of what makes the iPad great in order to do so. Ballmer's days are numbered.

Microsoft Announces Windows 8 at D9

Microsoft PR:

Today, at the D9 Conference, we demonstrated the next generation of Windows, internally code-named “Windows 8,” for the first time. Windows 8 is a reimagining of Windows, from the chip to the interface. A Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse. Demo video shown at the conference: More from the PR: We also showed effortless movement between existing Windows programs and new Windows 8 apps. The full capabilities of Windows continue to be available to you, including the Windows Explorer and Desktop, as does compatibility with all Windows 7 logo PCs, software and peripherals. Big mistake. Ballmer's days are numbered.