In this context, the name Lion starts to take on darker connotations. At the very least, it seems like the end of the big cat branding—after all, where can you go after Lion? Is this process of taking the best from iOS and bringing it back to the Mac platform just the first phase of a complete assimilation? Is Lion the end of the line for Mac OS X itself?
Lion is a large download and fast network connections are still not ubiquitous. But new Macs will come with Lion, so the most relevant question is, how many people who plan to upgrade an existing Mac to Lion don't have a fast network connection? The class of people who perform OS upgrades probably has a higher penetration of high-speed Internet access than the general population. I also suspect that Apple retail stores may be willing to help out customers who just can't manage to download a 3.76GB installer in a reasonable amount of time.
When this change was first revealed in the second developer preview of Lion, there was much gnashing of teeth. But ask yourself, is the function of every control in the toolbar clear? Or rather, it is any less clear than it would be if iCal used the standard Mac OS X toolbar appearance? The immediate, visceral negative reaction to the rich Corinthian leather appearance had little to do with usability. What it came down to—what first impressions like these always seem to come down to—is whether or not you think it's ugly. People will take "really cool-looking but slightly harder to use" over...
The brushed metal appearance of the QuickTime player would later inspire an officially supported Mac OS X window appearance starting in version 10.2, only to be dropped completely five years later in 10.5's grand interface unification. Now, three years after that, the pendulum is swinging in other direction again—and hard. In the case of iCal, Apple has aped the appearance of an analogous physical object (a tear-off paper calendar) but retained the behavior of standard Mac OS X controls. This avoids the problems of the QuickTime 4.0 player's dial control, but it's far from a clean win. The trouble...