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Apple Lion: 5 Things You Need to Know

1. Integration could pose challenges. Possibly the biggest issue with Lion has been how it gets along with existing applications-especially Adobe's-because it doesn't support Flash. Both sides say they are working on this, but for now this limitation restricts the use of Adobe applications. Bryson Payne, CIO of North Georgia College and State University, says, "if these [Adobe] issues aren't 100 percent resolved, we'll halt the rollout of Lion completely." Tom Catalini, VP of IT at William Gallagher Associates, also noted that the download and upgrade process was anything but quick: "It was confusing at points because the install process did not report a lot of progress."

2. It has an iPad feel. Lion has an iPad-like feel that makes personal computing easier and more intuitive without trying to re-create the tablet experience. As Tim Bajarin, president of consultancy Creative Strategies, explains it, gestures on the trackpad create the feeling of a touch screen. But he doesn't believe users want to do everything the iPad way. "If I'm using the Mac, I'm producing content; if I'm using my iPad, I'm consuming it," he says. "If they were going to carry over iOS to Macs, they would have created Macs with touch screens." Another new feature that channels iPads is Launchpad, which allows you to clear all applications in one swipe and thumb through multiple desktops.

3. New features protect work. The new auto-save feature saves all the changes you make to your work-either when you pause, or every five minutes-not in files, but by versions. And a new feature called "resume" brings crashed applications back to life exactly as you left them. Meanwhile, iCloud, which is scheduled to launch this fall and is free for the basic service, will allow you to back up your work in the cloud so it can be accessed from an iPhone, iPad or home device, making it easier to switch between a computer and mobile devices or to work at home.

4. It's available in the app store. Lion is downloaded through the App Store and can be transferred to as many licensed computers as you'd like via a single corporate redemption code. Bajarin says Apple users are used to downloading software this way and competitors need to catch up. "Microsoft and cronies have to figure out a way to do this," he says. Payne agrees it's convenient. "People are used to buying apps the iPad way."

5. It's easy and cheap. The price is low enough to tempt a closer look. It's cheaper than Windows 7 (businesses can purchase 20 licenses for $29.99 each). Bajarin expects quick adoption because "cost of entry is so nominal and Apple has showed everyone that the learning curve is small."

Follow Editorial Assistant Lauren Brousell on Twitter: @lbrousell.

Read more about consumer in CIO's Consumer Drilldown.


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