WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

Summary: Just as promised, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the newest and upcoming version of Mac OS X, Lion, at WWDC 2011 in San Francisco on Monday.

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Just as promised, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the newest and upcoming version of Mac OS X, Lion, at WWDC 2011 in San Francisco on Monday.

Although it was briefly introduced last October, Apple's SVP of WW product marketing Phil Schiller gave a full rundown and demo of the latest operating system to the keynote audience.

One of the biggest surprises that this isn't simply an upgrade (much like Snow Leopard was to Leopard), but that Lion comes with over 250 brand new features.

Obviously, there wasn't time to address all of these during the presentation, but some of the highlights included new support for multi-touch gestures on track pads (i.e. tap-to-zoom, pinching, etc.) and Mission Control, which unifies Expose and Spaces into a single interface to view multiple open apps at once. This last one basically comes in handy if you're the type of computer user who needs to keep multiple windows open at once often, but this way you should be able to keep track of everything more neatly.

Another feature singled out was that apps can be expanded to full screen viewing. That goes for Safari, iMovie, iCal - basically the works. Although some apps can already do this to some extent (such as iPhoto in slideshow mode), this takes things to a new level. It might be difficult to conceive doing this for browsing the web in Safari as there are a lot of toolbars involved that might be used frequently. But for graphic designers, video editors and other professionals might appreciate the extra desktop space when viewing and editing their work.

Since Lion was first unveiled, it has been obvious that Apple is moving in the direction of developing along the lines of the iOS look more than anything else. That was confirmed in full by the introduction of Launchpad, which basically has the same app and folder interface seen on iOS 4.

Launchpad also acts a screensaver of sorts that automatically saves open windows, settings and documents when exiting an application. (However, it is possible to turn the auto-save feature off for whatever reason.) This feature also has shades of Time Machine as users will be able to track changes throughout saved versions, but only a master copy is created so that there aren't a million files on one's hard drive of essentially the same file.

As far as apps go, AirDrop debuted as essentially a digital USB drive to share files in a drop box-style with full encryption. Mail got the biggest revamp, bringing it closer to the version seen on the iPad. Apple Mail now has a favorites bar, email preview snippets and a new conversation view. Finally, Apple is also beefing up the Mac App Store with in-app purchases and push notifications. Based on everything else presented, which basically brought iOS to Mac OS X, these updates aren't too surprising.

Speaking of the Mac App Store, Lion will only be available to download from that portal - not from the online or brick-and-mortar Apple Stores. The 4GB upgrade also met the predicted price tag: only $29.99.

Extra numbers:

  • There are 54 million Mac users worldwide and counting
  • IDC numbers: PCs have shrank 1 percent and Macs have gone up 28 percent
  • Almost 3/4ths of Mac sales today are notebooks
  • Mac App Store beat out Best Buy, Walmart and Depot as top channel for buying PC software

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Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Software

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115 comments
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  • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

    ONly a matter of time before the Mac App store becomes the only place to get software!!
    jatbains
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

      @jatbains

      I doubt that day will ever come
      5FingerDiscount
    • Yep, my fear too...

      @jatbains I'd so much rather deal straight with the dev than get apps through a third party (Apple). Devs do much better support on their own. And (yes, I know, not explicitly relevant, but symbolic): while Sparrow's first release was on the MAS for quite awhile, they had a hard time getting a new release approved for MAS publication. Odd and unpredictable publication standards, AFAIK.
      fjpoblam
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

      @jatbains Well, you will still be able to get Mac Defender via Google...

      ;-)
      Stark_Industries
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

        @Stark_Industries LMAO :D
        MrElectrifyer
      • Message has been deleted.

        Bonchucin
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

      @jatbains That's one of those things that I'm a bit concerned about. I'm not a mac developer, but I am a software developer (and some of my company's stuff runs on macs, but never exclusively) and I don't want that distribution model to become the norm.
      snoop0x7b
  • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

    JUST IN: Apple copies DropBox, Windows Live Mesh, and Windows HomeGroup functionality. iCabal goes wild.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

      @Cylon Centurion Someone file a suit against them for blatant copying! oh wait
      fer.paredesb@...
    • OS X is getting more like Windows 7 with every release

      @Cylon Centurion

      I wonder if Apple will make their logo with 4 color quantrents going forward?
      Will Pharaoh
      • Funny...

        @Will Pharaoh, I don't recall multiple desktops, (spaces) in Windows? Basic functionality that has been around in *nix for years.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh I believe NVidia and others had multiple desktops about five years ago. They dropped it after interoduction of the new Win7 interface
        pupkin_z
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

        @Will Pharaoh
        You've never seen an old Mac with the six (?) coloured Apple logo?

        Apple abandoned it decades ago because it made everything from their packaging to their letterhead so expensive.
        StandardPerson
    • Dang

      Who knew? I thought that was all coming in Windows 123456789.
      ego.sum.stig
      • Most of that is in Windows 7

        @ego.sum.stig@...
        You have to wait for OS XXXXVII before it has the same features as Windows 7
        Will Pharaoh
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

        @Will Pharaoh... Your roman numerals are incorrect. The correct way is XLVII.

        If you are going to provide a rebuttal, at least know what you are doing first makes any sense at all.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • Oh, Snooki_smoosh_smoosh, don't get so jealous

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
        and defensive. Most people just roll with it and have fun.

        Or are you upset because I dare talk back to an ABMer?
        I comitted the ultimate sin!

        Lighten up already
        Will Pharaoh
    • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

      @Cylon Centurion
      Way to not grasp what was demoed.
      Anim8me2
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

        @Anim8me2 Yes I think he did. A lot of the software features et al were already in Win7. And yes I have a Mac as well, and these are much needed. I mean mail preview - come on, that's been there forever in Windows.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: WWDC 2011: Apple Mac OS X Lion sports over 250 new features

        @ItsTheBottomLine... Except Mail Preview is a feature of the Mail Client, not OSX. Spaces is a feature of OSX, a Desktop experience is a Feature of an OS, what a Mail Client does is not. It isn't as if OSX was preventing a Mail Client from generating a reading pane.

        After all, an OS's sole purpose is to act as an intermediate between software and the hardware, providing a surface for other software to install on and interact with hardware, so that software writers didn't have to build that into the software. Anyone remember having to set IRQ's for software or defining COM ports?

        I find it ridiculous to sit a blast people over their choice of OS and software platforms that work for them. What a waste of time. I own a Mac Mini, that I bought barely 3 months ago, overall, I can live happily on either Windows or OSX, both do what I need it to, except that Many of the games I play are Windows only, but overall I am running OSX more right now, and have had little reason to go back to the boot camped Windows.

        Reality is for many users, cloud computing is the future, and the need for a Fat Client is fleeting. Sure there are IT people who are always going to want to control their files, but for the average consumer, they could care less if it is local, or living in server somewhere.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh