Recently I have been just using Mac OS instead of some flavor of Linux for my computing needs. With the announcement of the latest edition of the Mac OS X series I eagerly watched for the release of Lion. I followed all the predictions of it being released on the 14th, then when that didn't happen it was to be the 15th, because the last 3 releases where on a Friday, then it was to be on the 19th because Apple was releasing their financials. It was like waiting for Harold Camping's rapture. On the 20th when it was released I waited for it to be a hoax, and so I didn't upgrade till the 21st.
I did appreciate not having to go down to the Apple store to buy the product. The Apple store is always like a zoo with no cages, and no help. Just a gaggle of people standing around waiting for those with the all powerful blue shirt to pay attention to you. I just don't have the time. The download is big, but it is a new version of the OS. I would have waited just as long to download the ISO DVD of Fedora or Ubuntu. So no harm lost there. The install was smooth and I didn't loose any of my settings, well not a lot of my settings, but we will get to that.
Two things that I have read in other reviews that are very true. It is slower. My MacBook Pro lags on things that before where no problem. Sometimes on what seems to be the simplest task. Mind you I do have an older laptop, but still, this thing should be able to powerhouse through the occasional typing lag that I am now getting. The other piece of review fodder: there is noticeable change to be like the iPad interface.
For instance, there is no more Spaces or Expose (which constitutes my largest settings change), these have been replaced with Mission Control. Which acts like a hybrid version of the two. You do not have a preset number of desktops (or spaces) but you can create as many as you need. You must have these desktops arranged in a line. I used to keep my spaces in a square with two rows and two columns, but no more. Also the dashboard is by default the leftmost space, with your default space being the second, exactly like the iPad. While at first I had a hard time with the Mission Control change, I now find a certain amount of finesse with it.
Launchpad is another new addition to Lion. It's icon looks like the MacBook Pro power button but with a rocket ship on it, and rightly so. Using that shows you all the apps that you have, exactly like the iPad does. Complete with first screen showing all the default installed apps, and the second (and subsequent screens) showing apps that you have downloaded yourself. While it is easier and prettier than the default dock Applications folder, I don't see a lot of added value in having it.
Another iPad like change is the scroll direction with the trackpad. It has been changed by default to have the screen follow the direction of your finger. So if you drag down, you will actually scroll up. I read a lot of complaints about this, and when first using it I was thrown for a loop. But then I looked in the System Preferences, low and behold you can change it with the un-checking of a box. World is back to normal. I don't know why people complained so much.
Otherwise, while overall Mac OS 10.7 is more ascetically pleasant, I am not finding a lot of other things improved. I was looking forward to a better terminal, which I didn't really notice a change on. I was also looking forward to better SMB performance, which seems to have only a minimal change. It does however handle crashes much better. Banshee would just hang in 10.6.* but with Lion it actually kills the program, and gives me a very convenient stack trace to solve the problem.
While looking forward to the new multi-touch gestures I can't seem to get them to work. I attribute this to my MacBook Pro being a 3,1 model, and maybe not capable but I am not sure.
All in all the upgrade is ok. If you are struggling financially to feed yourself don't upgrade. If you have the $30 bucks you won't loose out to much. I would not look to this to be a revolutionary change, but I will say that not a lot has broken with the upgrade, and I really like that.