There are two questions to consider when thinking about upgrading to Lion:
- Will my Mac run Lion?
- Will my current software run on Lion?
- Yes, everything will be fine.
- Yes, with some limitations.
- Nope, sorry.
If your Mac is from 2007 or later, Lion will run. Any aluminum framed MacBook Pro or iMac makes the cut. If you have a white or black MacBook or a white iMac with a release date around 2007 or earlier, you will need to check.
To check it out, hold down the Option key and click the Apple Menu. Choose System Profiler... Click the word Hardware on the left pane and look at the Hardware Overview. Under Processor Name, it must say "Intel" and anything BUT "Core Duo" or "Core Solo".
UPDATE: Lion also requires 2 gig of RAM. You can find out how much RAM your Mac has from About This Mac under the Apple Menu. If you don't have 2 gig RAM, you can add more RAM.
Even if your Mac will run Lion, there may be hardware limitations that prevent some features of Lion from working. The biggest hardware limitation I see at the moment is going to be Lion's increased reliance on Gestures. The smaller trackpad of the older white and black MacBooks only support a few gestures. The Mighty Mouse (the one with the little roller ball) doesn't support gestures at all.
What to do if your Mac won't run Lion or runs it with limitations.
- Consider if it is time to buy a new Mac. If your Mac is several years old, you will be amazed at how much faster/better/cooler the current Macs are. Of course, this requires that you have the cash in your pocket for a new computer.
- Do nothing. Just because you can't run Lion on your current Mac, nothing is going to change with your current system. What works now will continue to work. Not everyone feels the need to be on the cutting edge.
- Work around the limitations. Some things your can work around and some you can't. As far as gestures go, up can upgrade to a Magic Trackpad or a Magic Mouse.
Older apps may bite the dust with Lion. Here's how you can see if the software will run in Lion:
In System Profiler (see above), click Applications on the left pane. It may take a while for anything to show up, but eventually you will see a list of all the apps on your Mac. Click the "Kind" column header to sort the list by kind of app. Scroll down the list. The apps listed as "PowerPC" don't make the cut to Lion. Here are a few common apps that are still PowerPC:
- Microsoft Office 2004 and older
- All versions of Quicken
- Appleworks (Yes, there are folks out there who still use Appleworks. It is actually quite a fine app.)
- FileMaker 6 and older
- Don't upgrade to Lion. The app will continue to run fine just as it always has.
- Migrate to a similar app that will run on Lion. Check out the Mac App Store or MacUpdate". The time to move to a new app is BEFORE you upgrade to Lion so you can move your data from the old app to the new one.
As I get more details about Lion, I will share them with you here.