Apple takes the wraps off Mac OS X Lion

24 Feb 2011

Apple has released a developer preview of Mac OS X Lion. The new OS gleans ideas from the iPad and brings them back to the Mac.

Lion, which Steve Jobs previewed in October, features Mission Control, a new way to look at everything that’s running on your Mac; Launchpad, a new home for all your Mac apps; full-screen apps that use the entire Mac display; and new multitouch gestures.

Lion also includes the Mac App Store, the place to discover, install and automatically update Mac apps via the iTunes store. Apps purchased from the Mac App Store are installed directly into Launchpad.

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,” said 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

Mission Control is a powerful, new feature that unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces and full-screen apps to give a user a bird’s eye view of every app and window running on the Mac.

With a simple swipe, the desktop zooms out to display open windows grouped by app, thumbnails of full-screen apps, as well as Dashboard, and allows the user to instantly navigate anywhere with a click.


Launchpad makes it easier than ever to find and launch any app. With a single click, Launchpad displays all of a user’s Mac apps in a full-screen layout where a user can launch, re-order or organise apps into folders. The user can also arrange apps into multiple pages and swipe between them.

Lion brings the full-screen experience that iPad users love to the Mac. With one click, a user’s application window goes full screen, taking advantage of the Mac’s brilliant display. A user can swipe from one full-screen window to another and even back to his or her desktop or Dashboard.

Multitouch gestures

New multitouch gestures and fluid animations give a user a natural and intuitive way to interact with his or her Mac. New gestures include a user being able to pinch their 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.

Additional features in Lion include:

·        A new version of Mail, with an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010

·        AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup

·        Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of a user’s document as he or she creates it, and gives a user an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions

·        Resume, which brings a user’s apps back exactly how he or she left them when the user restarts the Mac or quits and relaunches an app

·        Auto Save, which automatically saves documents as a user is working

·        FileVault, that provides high-performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from the Mac instantaneously

·        Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years