Mac OS X 10.7 Lion testers have confirmed that Developer Preview 4 adds a cool new feature that allows users to ‘Restart to Safari,’ effectively turning any Lion machine into an Internet kiosk.
Reminiscent of Google’s Chrome OS, the new boot-mode in Lion allows a user to start the computer and use the one built-in application that Apple offers users for browsing the web - Safari.
This mode is an alternative to logging in, as opposed to booting as a regular user with all the Lion applications and functions.
The mode allows even non-authorized users to use a machine, albeit only for accessing the Internet through the Safari interface.
It is unknown at this point whether unauthorized users can also use the various extensions, history, RSS and so on, that were potentially installed when running Lion full throttle.MacRumors
that the feature seems to be tied to "Find My Mac," a MobileMe function designed with the purpose of locating a misplaced, or stolen machine.
To do this, Internet access is imperative.
And even though Safari mode is useful enough as it is, the function may well be intended to also access iCloud, the forthcoming suite of Internet services from Apple.
When it’s released this Fall, iCloud will provide every Apple ID holder with a ‘locker’ to store their digital life in.
Requiring Internet access, the service will undoubtedly also be available via a web interface (much like Dropbox), which users will access through Safari, or any other supported web browser.
Safari in Lion brings a host of new features that are currently unavailable in the Snow Leopard version.
Most noteworthy are the iOS-like download manager interface, the Reading functions, including one that lets you save content for offline viewing, improved graphics performance, full-screen web apps, Multi-Touch support (for moving back and forth through pages, or zooming in and out) and more.