Apple demonstrates Mac OS X Lion

At today's WWDC keynote, Apple demonstrated what users can expect from their upcoming operating system release, Mac OS X Lion. Following some new sales figures, Phil Schiller took to the stage to show off what Cupertino has been hard at work on. Ten years have passed since the original Mac OS X was released, and Schiller took the opportunity to reminisce on how far the company has come in that time. While Lion has around 250 new features, Apple took the time to show off just 10 of them.

The first feature demonstrated was multi-touch gestures. Some of these gestures made their debut with the MacBook Air, and take advantage of either the MacBook's trackpad or the new Magic Mouse. Taking what Apple has learnt from iOS, Lion has gestures for scrolling, pinching, zooming, and several more. Scrollbars disappear when not in use, much like on the iPhone. The new full-screen mode makes use of this to allow users to switch between applications quickly. A new control in the top right corner of windows lets users enter full-screen mode when available. Full-screen mode, along with Expose and Spaces, have all been brought together in Mission Control.

Developers familiar with the preview builds will have had the chance to try out these features for themselves. First-hand accounts describe the system as feeling like iOS, and today's demonstration shows that Apple intend to carry on with this theme. Safari now has a two-finger back gesture, support for flicking through history, and scrollbars that disappear, giving the webpage more of the user's attention. iPhoto and Safari, among others, make full use of the full-screen support. Another small new feature in Lion's Photo Booth app is head tracking, which can add effects in real time such as bigger eyes.

Next up was the Mac App Store. Familiar to users of Snow Leopard, the Mac App Store is a way for developers to distribute their apps to a wide audience with little effort. In Lion, the Mac App Store now features in-app purchases, much like the iPhone. Push notifications are also available, as well as a sandboxed mode for added security. Finally, delta updates have made their appearance, a welcome introduction for users of large apps such as Xcode. These are all linked in with Launchpad. Accessible with a gesture, Launchpad resembles the home screen on iOS where users can access all of their apps. Downloaded apps fly onto the grid.

Resume and Autosave will mean saving and closing are even more trivial than before. Closing an app no longer means work is lost, as any changes are picked up and stored immediately. The document name at the top of the window is now a control, where a user can lock changes, create a duplicate, revert to the last copy, or view all copies. Only the changes are saved, meaning no space is wasted with unnecessary copies. Changes can be copied, pasted, dragged and dropped between versions. Resume will let users jump back to the last place an app was at before it was closed, but more interestingly it will resume all apps open before the Mac was shut down. The Resume and Autosave system is so precise that even  text selection in Pages persists.

AirDrop is a peer-to-peer WiFi-based file sharing system that Apple hopes will make transferring files between Macs quick and easy. AirDrop shows up in the Finder, and a transfer is a simple case of dragging and dropping a file on top of a computer's icon. The recipient then gets a prompt to accept or deny, and the transfer is complete.

Mail has also received an overhaul. Resembling its iPad cousin, the client now has a conversation view for messages with in-line attachment view. A more intelligent search has also been included. Mail will detect whether something is a subject, person, or date and search accordingly. The three types can be combined into a single search, avoiding the need for any clunky advanced searches. Like Safari and iPhone, Mail also has a fullscreen view.

Beyond the 10 demonstrated features, users can also expect other new additions, such as FileVault 2, FaceTime built-in, Windows Migration and Lion Server. Apple also revealed that Mac OS X Lion will be an exclusive in the Mac App Store. Weighing in at 4GB, the upgrade will cost $29.99 and can be used on all authorised Macs.

Mac OS X Lion will be available in July.

Image credit: Apple

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47 Comments

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Gee, this article almost makes it seem like the Mac OS is somehow...meaningful. 25+ years and 92% of computer users choose something else?...here's a news flash: The Mac OS is relevant to only a very (very) few. I mean, it's not like a substantial number of users are gonna say "wow, got the BIG love for Mac now that Lion is here". Yeah, right. Sooner or later, even Apple is gonna understand that the future does NOT have some half-bitten fruit on it.

I was amazed using iMacs in shops and not being able to fullscreen. I thought I was doing something wrong until I asked a know-it-all on how to do it, and he basically replied with "you can't" so I lol'd

For some reason I really do want to buy a Mac, unfortunately I can't see me justifying the price of it to start with and what can I do differently on a Mac which I can't on my PC and the answer is nothing everytime.

I believe one day I'll buy it and it'll be purely on why most other people do "it looks nice"

Oh wow i have to jump in on this. Apple is moving OSX in a Windowsy direction, lets not kid ourselves. The funny thing however, is that alot of linux users especially Ubuntu users and their developers have a hard on for Apple so Ubuntu latest iteration is more like what OSX was before lion and less like Windows than it used to be. What does this mean.... Well a total fail from Ubuntu. Their new interface is so conflicted and hard to use. They have poorly ripped off, some of the best features from windows 7 and the worst features of OSX that even Apple is now removing.

yay lets dumb things down more for the average joe. come on apple give me something fun I can play with.

.Neo said,

How does that address his issues?

Not really an issue for me as i have a 20mbit line, i was thinking more of others who may not have such a connection

Dark Atheist said,
So you can only get it through the App Store? what if you want physical media, or if your download is capped or just plain slow

I thought the app store was a "feature" of lion.
WHAT IS THIS SORCERY!

Pam14160 said,

Please, you really cannot be that slow headed.

Illegally downloading Mac OS X Lion through a torrent won't make your copy physical, nor does it help people with slow internet and/or a monthly download maximum. Therefor your reply makes no sense at all.

Looks like Microsoft and Apple are going in the same direction in that they're making their OS more like smartphone OSs (Full screen view + launch pad = MoSh) except that Microsoft's vision is a bit more radical.

They need to either correct their stats or put them in context; the ones about the browser/5 usage is wrong. As usual. And everything else so far seems copied from websites/apps. Readitlater? Twitter?

The rules change, but the game remains the same. If it's not in Android already it probably won't be in iOS. Until next release. Notifications, search messages, account sync. iOS users: welcome to Android

Dusco25 said,
250 new features which 97% of users wont ever use more than 5 of them
Anyone seen the full list of the 250 features? I want to see if Like in Lepoard if "New DVD Loading Animation" or something silly is among it.

cybertimber2008 said,
Anyone seen the full list of the 250 features? I want to see if Like in Lepoard if "New DVD Loading Animation" or something silly is among it.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/whats-new/features.html

Among them:
New desktop pictures
Choose from several new desktop pictures included in Lion. You can find them in the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane.

Clean start
Lion lets you choose a clean start, so you return to a fresh desktop after you restart your Mac.

Built into Lion
OS X Lion includes the Mac App Store.

Reinstall OS X
OS X can be reinstalled on your Mac from recovery mode

Resize from any edge
You can now resize a window from any side or corner.

,

Resize from any edge
You can now resize a window from any side or corner.!

We've been doing this in windows for years and years and years!

hate when companies say this crap about the number of new features.. cause some of the changes are like a new button color in some random place..

looks like the majority of features are things that were in windows 7 over 2 years ago.. AirDrop = Homegroup, mail overhaul features = windows live, LOL @ fullscreen view for mail, resume and autosave shutdown feature = hibernate

Lachlan said,
hate when companies say this crap about the number of new features.. cause some of the changes are like a new button color in some random place..

and they show this number with a horrid 16-bit gradients...

Lachlan said,
hate when companies say this crap about the number of new features.. cause some of the changes are like a new button color in some random place..

looks like the majority of features are things that were in windows 7 over 2 years ago.. AirDrop = Homegroup, mail overhaul features = windows live, LOL @ fullscreen view for mail, resume and autosave shutdown feature = hibernate


I agree with all except the resume and autosave. I thought it is application-based, which means it behaves more like iPhone Apps - opening a previously closed app would return to the last state (or at least close to it). So I think if you have Pages opened with an unsaved document, next time opening it would have that document shows up.

AirDrop is not like HomeGroup. Firstly HomeGroup requires set up. The PCs must join the HomeGroup, assign password and it's always on. Second, the files are distributed across PCs but shown in a unified library-type view. If the PC that is part of the HomeGroup is turned off, you cannot access that file. AirDrop is more like file transfer/file sharing via P2P locally. Of course, Windows File Sharing/SMB is also P2P but you need to set up a workgroup/configure IP and permissions etc. Vista/7 already have a similar P2P platform/API for autodiscovery called People Near Me wherein you just opt in and your presence is declared. There's just no app yet to take advantage of People Near Me to transfer files.

xpclient said,
AirDrop is not like HomeGroup. Firstly HomeGroup requires set up. The PCs must join the HomeGroup, assign password and it's always on. Second, the files are distributed across PCs but shown in a unified library-type view. If the PC that is part of the HomeGroup is turned off, you cannot access that file. AirDrop is more like file transfer/file sharing via P2P locally. Of course, Windows File Sharing/SMB is also P2P but you need to set up a workgroup/configure IP and permissions etc. Vista/7 already have a similar P2P platform/API for autodiscovery called People Near Me wherein you just opt in and your presence is declared. There's just no app yet to take advantage of People Near Me to transfer files.
Agreed, but requiring the recipient to accept or deny the file transfer in AirDrop defeats its purpose and usefulness IMHO.

Then needed something equal or similar to Homegroup to help people with Macs set up their file sharing.

10 out of 10 PC experts say that upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 will be much more than 30 bucks.
Propably it will cost more than upgrade from Vista to Seven...

6205 said,
10 out of 10 PC experts say that upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 will be much more than 30 bucks.
Propably it will cost more than upgrade from Vista to Seven...

yeah and apple is a hardware company, microsoft is a software company... Apple makes their money on the sale of the hardware, which MS has to make up for in price of the OS

6205 said,
10 out of 10 PC experts say that upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 will be much more than 30 bucks.
Propably it will cost more than upgrade from Vista to Seven...

it seems Microsoft values their OS more than Apple does their.

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

yeah and apple is a hardware company, microsoft is a software company... Apple makes their money on the sale of the hardware, which MS has to make up for in price of the OS

People tend to forget that their hardware, in turn, costs about 2 to 3 times more than their non-Apple equivalents.

I'm pretty sure OSX would be much more expensive if it was also designed for PCs.

dhan said,

it seems Microsoft values their OS more than Apple does their.

My PC cost me $900 less than the Macbook Pro with the same specs. I dont mind paying more than $30 for an OS.

Benjy91 said,

My PC cost me $900 less than the Macbook Pro with the same specs. I dont mind paying more than $30 for an OS.

Wow a PC costing less than a laptop with the same specs, who'd of thought!!

imachip said,

Wow a PC costing less than a laptop with the same specs, who'd of thought!!

Laptop is a PC too!

FMH said,
Laptop is a PC too!

Yea but you can't as easily cram a desktop PC into your bag unlike a Mac Book Pro, can you now.

Billus said,

Yea but you can't as easily cram a desktop PC into your bag unlike a Mac Book Pro, can you now.

You can't cram a desktop mac into your bag either, dummy.

Airdrop seems very easy to use so that will be a great addition for Apple.
If I still had my Mac I don't know if I'd get the OS just yet but I guess for $29 it's a great deal.

KeR said,
Well I do like the price of 29 bucks.
Yeah, at least Mac OS X 10.6 SP1 will only be $29.

The only real feature on there is their improvement of Expose: Mission Control. Dumb name, but an admittedly cool feature. Expose is probably the most useful feature on a Mac that does not exist out-of-the-box on Windows. Mission Control sounds like a good touch, and it's the only feature I hope that Microsoft can steal.

Selling full screen programs as somehow innovative, or even worth noting is a joke in 2011.

1. Full screen? What? It's 2011.
2. Mission Control. Pretty cool improvement.
3. LaunchPad? What? A new folder view of your applications?
4. Mac App Store? The same Mac App Store installed in 10.6? You know, the one you use to download Lion.

pickypg said,
Yeah, at least Mac OS X 10.6 SP1 will only be $29.

The only real feature on there is their improvement of Expose: Mission Control. Dumb name, but an admittedly cool feature. Expose is probably the most useful feature on a Mac that does not exist out-of-the-box on Windows. Mission Control sounds like a good touch, and it's the only feature I hope that Microsoft can steal.

Selling full screen programs as somehow innovative, or even worth noting is a joke in 2011.

1. Full screen? What? It's 2011.
2. Mission Control. Pretty cool improvement.
3. LaunchPad? What? A new folder view of your applications?
4. Mac App Store? The same Mac App Store installed in 10.6? You know, the one you use to download Lion.

Nice try..... sigh

Anooxy said,

Wow, awesome... where can I orde... oh, forgot I need a Mac.

thats where they get you..its like the huge printer prices

pay tons for a printer and get cheap ink..or buy a cheap printer and pay double for ink...apple just charges you grossly for the pc

Dr Pepper said,
Nice try..... sigh
On their part? Not really.

I own a 2010 MacBook Pro and I am quite disappointed by the feature set, not to mention the manner in which I have to install Lion. I don't mind downloading it, but I had better be able to do a clean install of 10.6 SP1. Even so, I do look forward to using Mission Control while multitasking on travel.

It's not a terrible price for something deemed a major release, and I am glad full screen windows are finally joining the party in OS X, but to suggest that this is anything impressive is just pathetic. This is what we've been waiting for, for close to 2 years?

Looks like it is about time to start buying Microsoft stock again, finally.

pickypg said,
On their part? Not really.

I own a 2010 MacBook Pro and I am quite disappointed by the feature set, not to mention the manner in which I have to install Lion. I don't mind downloading it, but I had better be able to do a clean install of 10.6 SP1. Even so, I do look forward to using Mission Control while multitasking on travel.

It's not a terrible price for something deemed a major release, and I am glad full screen windows are finally joining the party in OS X, but to suggest that this is anything impressive is just pathetic. This is what we've been waiting for, for close to 2 years?

Looks like it is about time to start buying Microsoft stock again, finally.

Agreed - to call this 'lion' is a joke, it's a tabby cat, not a lion!

kingius said,

Agreed - to call this 'lion' is a joke, it's a tabby cat, not a lion!

Gotta take it to the wizard of Oz, lacks boldness.

pickypg said,
Yeah, at least Mac OS X 10.6 SP1 will only be $29.

The only real feature on there is their improvement of Expose: Mission Control. Dumb name, but an admittedly cool feature. Expose is probably the most useful feature on a Mac that does not exist out-of-the-box on Windows. Mission Control sounds like a good touch, and it's the only feature I hope that Microsoft can steal.

Selling full screen programs as somehow innovative, or even worth noting is a joke in 2011.

1. Full screen? What? It's 2011.
2. Mission Control. Pretty cool improvement.
3. LaunchPad? What? A new folder view of your applications?
4. Mac App Store? The same Mac App Store installed in 10.6? You know, the one you use to download Lion.

LOL...talk about an epic fail at a post.