Mac OS X Lion update coming in July for $29
Kind of lost in all the hoopla about iOS 5 and iCloud was the presentation on OS X Lion, which is due to be released in July. With more than 250 new features, Apple is calling it a major release, and rightly so. A bunch of new features were demonstrated at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, with some obviously inspired by the iOS and the iPad. Apple stated there are now 54 million Mac users worldwide and three-fourths of recent Mac sales have been for laptops. The features in OS X Lion reflect this trend.
Monday's demonstration showed some of the "ooh and ah" features of Lion. Many more multi-touch gestures have been added (desktop users will want to get a Magic Trackpad for this) and full-screen apps, like iPhoto, iMovie and Safari, will make the Mac seem more like a giant iPad. The new Mission Control feature combines the functionality of Spaces and Expose to quickly show you open windows and running apps for quick navigation. Launchpad, a gridded icon-view of all apps is another feature rooted in iOS and again will make the Mac very iPad-like.
Resume is a new feature that takes you to the precise point where you left off in an application, right down to cursor placement and highlighted text. A new auto-save feature not only saves documents but also saves multiple versions of them and they can be accessed for comparison at any time. AirDrop is a new peer-to-peer file-sharing feature that sounds similar to the free DropBox service. AirDrop features automatic discovery of other AirDrop users on a network and also includes direct sharing through WiFi. Wrapping up the demo was a reworked Mail app with an improved search function and a threaded conversation view.
Perhaps the biggest news about Lion is that it will only be available in Mac App Store as a 4GB download and will not be sold in stores. In the past, major OS X updates have been $129 for a single copy. Lion will be just $29 and a single copy can be installed on all the authorized Macs you own. Lion is scheduled for a release in July.