Mac OS X Lion Also Features A Browser-Only Logon Mode Like Chrome OS

Apple’s iOS 5 might have stolen the show at the company’s WWDC event in San Francisco last week, but the next version of Mac OS X – Lion – also saw a new beta release. According to reports, the latest seed features a new ‘Reboot to Safari’ feature, akin to Google’s Chrome OS laptops.


The above photo courtesy of MacRumors shows a Mac laptop that has been restarted in a Safari-only mode, effectively sand-boxing off the rest of the operating system and turning a Mac into a dumb internet-only system.

The new feature goes head-to-head with Google’s own Chrome OS – a new initiative from Google and in partnership with a select few hardware manufacturers. Google’s thinking is that with more and more of our lives being housed online, a lightweight web-only laptop is all most of us need.

Obviously the push toward Google’s Gmail and Docs also helps.

MacRumors believes Apple’s angle is more one of a security. Users would be able to give people access to a computer with a fully featured web browser like Safari with there being no chance of anyone accidentally stumbling across private data or files.

Apple’s motivations for offering such a browser-only mode differs from Google’s. Google is partnering with manufacturers in order to build Chrome OS only laptops that offer cheap browser-only machines. Apple’s not likely to be going that route with Mac OS X Lion but is instead offering a nice sandboxed mode so Lion can easily act as a secure and anonymous web kiosk.

While a separate ‘guest’ account could be utilized, a quick restart into Safari would be both easier and less of a storage hog for those running on already anaemic SSDs. No word yet on boot-times, with Google’s Chrome OS boasting an instant-on capability.

Apple’s Lion will be a Mac App Store-only release – the first time an operating system of this magnitude has only been available via digital distribution.

OS X Lion

Priced at just $29.99, this major overhaul and iOS-ification of the Mac OS will be available in July, according to Apple’s Phil Schiller during the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote.

You can follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook fanpage to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google and Apple.