I read many posts all over the web about workarounds to make KIES work on MacOS X Lion, or having to run the Windows version under Parallel, but it just works fine natively.
Went to samsung.com, and got redirected to samsung.com/es (I live in Spain). Then in the search bar I asked for KIES, clicked on the KIES icon that came back as an answer, and was prompted to download the Windows or Mac version.
Downloaded the Mac version (KiesMac_1-22.214.171.12412_6_9.dmg), installed it with all default settings, ran it, it went through a first update, then restarted the application and it went through another update. Restarted and it is now KIES version 126.96.36.19923_9.
I connected my Note to a USB port and it recognized it fine... including telling me firmware version of my note etc.
Anyways maybe this is already known to all Mac users... or maybe it helps!?