When Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, stated last year that we live in a “post-PC world,” we were curious as to how Mac computers would compete against mobile devices.  So like all Mac enthusiasts, we waited (not so) patiently for the launch of its latest operating system, OS X Lion.  Amid the 250 new features and tweaks, there are a few things that have caught our eye as clues to how Apple plans on changing with the mobile tide…

Mac OS X Lion

Download only
Apple will not be issuing OS X Lion on a disk, as it had previously done with earlier versions.  Instead, it is available as a download on Apple’s online app store.  Customers who want a physical copy of the operating system can buy a memory stick version, however OS X Lion will primarily be accessed via the Internet.  In order to accommodate those users who do not have good Internet access, customers will be allowed to download OS X Lion in Apple stores.

Selling OS X Lion as a download may be evidence that Apple believes online shopping has taken precedence over brick-and-mortar stores, at least for certain products.  The company has also discontinued its cheapest laptop, the MacBook, and has replaced it with the MacBook Air, a laptop that doesn’t contain an internal CD/DVD drive.   This further suggests that Apple sees consumers turning to online resources for their media (in this case online film and music providers like iTunes) rather than buying hard copies.

App-titude
OS X Lion helps laptops function like iPads and iPhones by allowing them to run full screen applications, with a similar launch screen and auto-resume functions. This comes as no surprise since OS X Lion needed to include functionality aimed at retaining laptop and desktop users amid the growing popularity of handheld devices and their apps.

This feature, as well as the fact Apple is using the App Store to distribute OS X Lion, banishes any doubt about the importance and influence of apps in today’s market.

It’s got the touch
While Mac has yet to deliver a touch screen laptop, the OS X Lion system has increased the touchpad functions to include movement similar to those found on mobile devices.  Improved horizontal and vertical flicking, as well as pinch-to-zoom movements, will help Mac functionality sync up with iPads and iPhones.

Although Apple does not necessarily determine the course the overall industry will take with future systems upgrades, they are often trendsetters.  Only time will tell what how we’ll interact with our computers in the future, but OS X Lion has given us a glimpse of what to expect.

*Image from TheAndrenator at deviantart.com