The latest version of Apple’s operating system OS X Lion has 250 new features and will be released in July, the company announced at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco today.
Unlike previous releases, with this version consumers will only be able to purchase the software through Apple’s Mac app store. The upgrade will cost just $29 and will be available to all authorized Apple devices (provided they have 4 GB of storage).
Apple showed off ten of its key features, including:
Multi-touch gestures — Lion will have increased multi-touch gesture functions. The functions can be used with all Mac laptop trackpads as well as Apple’s Magic Trackpad. The company put a lot of emphasis on this change, but I’m sure users will be able to assign hot keys to duplicate this functionality as well.
Full Screen Apps — Apple has built new tools into its developer kit to make it easier for developers to use full screen functionality natively for their apps. Users will be able to run multiple full screen apps and switch between them using multi-touch gestures. Apple noted that all of its core apps will have this functionality built in when Lion launches.
Mission Control — This is basically a merger of the Expose and Spaces functions (Expose lets you manage your open windows, Spaces lets you group application windows together). A two-finger swipe lets you go back through history; three fingers changes between apps. You can drag windows out of your main view into the spaces up top to create new spaces or add to an existing space. Looks extremely cool.
Enhanced App store — “The Mac App Store has become the number 1 source for buying PC software,” Phil Schiller said.
Launchpad — Looks kind of like a Springboard for OS X. So, if you’re a fan of navigating between apps via iPhone or iPad, then you’ll probably love this new addition.
Resume — “Now when you launch an app in Lion, it remembers what you were doing and where you were.”
Auto Save — It can save your work for you. Super useful when working in pages.
Versions — Again, useful when working on a document. The name of the doc is actually a menu, which users can use to choose between versions of the document.
Airdrop — A peer-to-peer file sharing utility that uses p2p Wi-Fi, no setup required. It makes users confirm on both ends and all data is encrypted.
New Mail app — (About time.) It includes search tokens and conversation view. No labels though.
The new Lion features reflect Apple’s strategy to merge the desktop experience with the that of its iOS platform.