Apple has released a developer preview of Mac OS X Lion, which the company takes some of the best ideas from the iPad and brings them back to the Mac for the eighth major release of the Mac OS X.
Lion features Mission Control, a new view of everything running on your Mac; Launchpad, a new home for all your Mac apps; full screen apps that use the entire Mac display; and new Multi-Touch gestures. Lion also includes the Mac App Store. The Lion preview is available to Mac Developer Program members through the Mac App Store today, and the final version of Lion will ship to customers this summer.
“The iPad has inspired a new generation of innovative features in Lion,” says Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Developers are going to love Mission Control and Launchpad, and can now start adding great new Lion features like full screen, gestures, Versions and Auto Save to their own apps.”
Mission Control unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces, and full screen apps to give you a bird’s eye view of every app and window running on your Mac. With a swipe, your desktop zooms out to display your open windows grouped by app, thumbnails of your full screen apps as well as your Dashboard, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere with a click.
Launchpad makes it easier than ever to find and launch any app, says Schiller. With a single click, Launchpad displays all your Mac apps in a full screen layout where you can launch, re-order or organize apps into folders. You can also arrange apps into multiple pages and swipe between them.
Apple says that Lion brings the full screen experience that iPad users love to the Mac. With one click, your application window goes full screen, taking advantage of your Mac’s display. You can swipe from one full screen window to another and even back to your Desktop or Dashboard.
New Multi-Touch gestures and fluid animations give you a way to interact with your Mac. New gestures include pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps and swiping up to enter Mission Control.
Lion also includes the Mac App Store, where you can find new apps, buy them with your iTunes account, and download and install them in just one step. Apps purchased from the Mac App Store are installed directly into Launchpad.
Additional features in Lion include:
° A new version of Mail, with a widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
° AirDrop, a way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
° Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you a way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions;
° Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
° Auto Save, which automatically saves your documents as you work;
° A new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously; and
° Mac OS X Lion Server, which purportedly makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.