As part of our reveal of FindMyMac last week, we detailed the browser-only mode that Lion can boot into as a security precaution
…Interestingly, when Find Myis enabled, lets “Guest” users use Safari and nothing else on the machine. That is a trick to help the Mac figure out where it is (IP address) and let you connect to it.
Macrumors expands on this by saying that the Safari-only mode could be used in Kiosk-only mode.
This browser-only mode is reminiscent of Google’s lightweight Chrome OS which is designed to offer the user a web-only based operating system.
’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 but is instead offering a nice sandboxed mode so Lion can easily act as a secure and anonymous web kiosk.
It isn’t likely that Apple is positioning Safari-only as a competitor to Google’s ChromeOS (Apple’s hardware starts at more than double of where Chrome is priced). But for both of the above reasons, it makes sense to include a browser-only mode.