The next version of Apple’s operating system for desktop and laptop computers was unveiled at the World Wide Developer’s Conference, and here is a rundown on the Mac OS X Lion features that were shown off by Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of World Wide Product Marketing.
Multi-Touch Gestures: Mac OS X Lion will now support multi-touch gestures. Multi-touch trackpads will also be built into all of Apple’s new notebooks to let users make use of multi-touch gestures. Working like multi-touch on iOS, users will be able to tap-to-zoom, pinch, perform two-finger swipes, and more. Scrollbars have also been removed, only appearing when scrolling.
Full-screen applications: apps can now take up the full screen of a display, similar to how apps run on iOS –taking up the whole screen. Gestures can be used for people to switch between full screen apps as well. All of Apple’s apps: iLife, iWork, Safari, iTunes, Mail, FaceTime and more will be taking advantage of this new full-screen feature.
Mission Control: a new feature that combines full-screen apps, Expose, Dashboard and Spaces, letting users view all their desktops, apps, and widgets on one screen, so they can easily choose which one to switch to. Task switching is handled like a stack of cards – similar to how WebOS or QNX handles it.
Mac App Store: it is now built into Lion, letting users buy apps for their computers much more easily, and without any hassle. Like iOS, it will deliver delta app updates which makes updates smaller and less bandwidth consuming. It will also support in-app purchases and Push Notifications.
Launchpad: a new way to launch all the apps you have available on your computer. Pinching will cause a grid of all your apps to show up, similar to the iOS homescreen, and you can organize them any way you want, dragging them into different folders etc. Whenever you leave an app and go back to it, it will bring you right back to where you left it.
Auto Save: never worry about forgetting to save again – Mac OS X Lion does the job for you, letting you focus on whatever you’re doing instead of having to remind yourself to hit the save button. Though this is a function you can disable if you feel like it doesn’t suit you. There is also an option to easily recall a previous version of the document, letting you perform neat tricks like recovering deleted images or text from an older version and bringing it back in the latest one.
AirDrop: a feature that finds nearby Macs and automatically sets up a peer to peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy. Say goodbye to thumbdrives and burning CDs.
Mail: the email client has been completely redesigned with a widescreen layout, there’s a Conversations feature that groups your mails into an easily scrollable timeline, hiding repeated text (like Gmail), a powerful new search feature that lets you refine your search and suggest matches by person, subject and label as you type, and built-in support for Microsoft Exchange 2010.
Other features shown off but not talked about: Windows Migration, FileVault 2, Yahoo! Messenger in iChat, Resize from any edge, Dictionary Lookup, Time Machine local snapshots, New About this Mac, Sandboxing, and more.
Mac OS X Lion will only be available in the Mac App Store. It will only cost $29.99, and will be usable on all your personally authorized Macs – there’s no need to buy multiple copies. It will be a 4GB download that doesn’t require a reboot either. Mac OS X Lion will be released in July.