Launchpad, a new program in Lion, is a dark background with evenly spaced icons that represent all your programs (Figure 5-3). You can open one with a single click.

Why did Apple feel the need to create yet another way to open programs?

First, because Launchpad fits right into the general theme of Lion: making the Mac look and work more like the iPad. Launchpad is a dead ringer for the Home screen of an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Second, it’s a much less intimidating place for technophobes to learn to love than, say, the Applications folder.

And third, it’s a lot quicker to get to than the Applications folder. You can summon it instantly, using any of these methods:

  • Put four fingers on your trackpad and pinch them together. The Launchpad appears instantly, no matter what program you were in; you don’t have to duck back into the Finder, navigate to the Applications folder, and so on.

  • Press the Launchpad key. If your Mac came with Lion preinstalled, it has a special Launchpad icon painted right on the F4 key ().

  • Click its icon on the Dock. It’s the second one, resembling a rocket ().

  • Press a keyboard shortcut of your choice. To set that up, choose →System Preferences→Keyboard. Click ...

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