WWDC 2011: Apple Unveils Lion (OS X 10.7)

Lion update is going to be an App Store-only release set to launch in July at a price of just $29.99!

The WWDC event holds great promise for Apple fans as well as the rest of us in the technology space. While Apple has been in the spotlight in recent times for their iPad, iPod and iPhone devices, a big chunk of their user base are users of the Macbooks and Mac desktops. Apple today showed off their Lion update to the aging OS X operating system for Macs. In fact, it was the first product to be talked about at WWDC 2011.

250 updates in all, just 10 shown at WWDC 2011

250 updates in all, just 10 shown at WWDC 2011



The event started with Phil Schiller, Senior VP, Product Marketing at Apple coming on stage and emphasising the achievements of the Mac over the last few years. Macs have seen a 28 per cent growth year after year for five years. He went on to show a screenshot of OS X from the early days. OS X is more than eight years hold now. The new Lion update is another one of their iterations that’s set to hit customers next month. Currently, the preview build is available for developers.


The next big release, Lion would have 250 new features. Phil along with Craig Federighi went ahead to talk about 10 of them. 


1. Multi-touch Gesturing

Multitouch is a feature that’s been present on OS X builds for a long time now, but the ability to swipe through pages while browsing would be one of the improvements to come along with Lion.

Even more emphasis on gestures in Lion

Even more emphasis on gestures in Lion



All users using Macbooks with multi-touch and desktop users with the Magic Trackpad would be able to use this feature with the update.


2. Applications in full-screen

While full screen applications have been a common feature with many Windows applications, it’s something that’s arriving on the the new OS X version.

Better use of workspace - full screen applications

Better use of workspace - full screen applications



Users will smaller displays, typically those on Macbooks and Macbook Pros would be able to take advantage by making better use of the workspace. Gestures would still allow you to switch between full-screen applications though.


3. Mission Control

What was for a long kept a secret and had many pondering, is something of an advanced yet simplified overview of your system, task manager. It lets you get a bird’s eye view of all the software running on your system and you can switch between them using, (yes) gestures.


4. App Store for Macs

App stores were traditionally made for mobile phones and other similar devices such as tablets. Recently, we’ve seen browsers such as Chrome having their own app stores. Apple’s decided to create an app store specifically for Macs. It’s exactly what it sounds like - buy an app using your iTunes account and the software gets downloaded to your PC. There will even be updates and in-app purchasing features for the applications


5. Launchpad

Launchpad is a new, yet once again gesture-powered way of getting access to your applications directly instead of using the mouse and scrolling through a list of them. This one’s for better productivity. 


6. Resume

Apple’s calling this next feature Resume.The new feature is going to let users resume applications just from where you left them. All of the settings and parameters stay even if you shut down and restart the system.


Resume will let you return to your software, the way you left it

Resume will let you return to your software, the way you left it




7. Auto saving work

Say goodbye to the habit of saving your work over and over again. Don’t mistake this with Resume. This feature, that’s present in some Microsoft products auto saves work so you don’t have to. Data is saved as you’re working and you can switch between different versions of the document as well. 


8. Versions

Versions allows saving of different versions of the file you’re working on. Like most modern version systems, this too is incremental so your saved files don’t end up taking up a ton of space.


9. Airdrop

The new Airdrop feature is designed to be an easy way to transfer files from one computer to another. The trick is to use a a P2P network, which is what Airdrop is. Users can use the Wi-Fi based, data encrypted network to transfer files using Finder. Computers using Airdrop will show up instantly allow you to drag and drop files to them with ease.


10. Mail

In this day and age, where everyone uses Gmail, Apple has tried to really make a mark. A lot of design elements come from the iPad version of the software.

A conversation-style view instead of the usual, boring view

A conversation-style view instead of the usual, boring view



There are some interesting features added to the software. One of them is detecting whether search keywords are for a subject or a person. A threaded, conversation style display stripped of all unnecessary information and tags is also part of the update. 


Once all of the features were shown off, details about the launch of the Lion OS were released. The most interesting bit about the update was the fact that Lion would only be available on the App Store. It would be a 4GB download and it would be priced closer to an app at just $29.99. That roughly translates to Rs. 1,300 in Indian Rupees. It’ll be available on the store starting July and developers can get their hands on the preview build even today. 


While many of these features are pretty unique, Apple hasn’t reworked anything from the ground up. A small fee means that almost every Apple OS X user out there is going to update to it without much regret. We’ve only been shown 10 of these features, another 240 still lie unexplored. This is a good move by Apple and this just might be the era where desktop operating systems merge into mobile apps. 

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