Apple announces Mac OS X Lion, brings iPad experience to the Mac
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) provided sneak peeks of the Mac OS X Lion yesterday at Apple’s ‘Back to Mac’ event and informed the new OS will start shipping next summer.
The Lion will be the eighth major release of Apple’s Mac OS and it seems to have been inspired by many of the iPad’s software innovations. At yesterday’s sneak peek, Apple highlighted a few of Lion’s features, including the Mac App Store, a new way to discover, install and automatically update desktop apps; Launchpad, a new home for all Mac apps; system-wide support for full screen apps; and Mission Control, which unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces and full screen apps into a new view of everything running on the Mac.
“Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really like,” remarked Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Lion has a ton of new features, and we hope the few we had time to preview today will give users a good idea of where we are headed.”
The Mac App Store brings the App Store experience to OS X, making discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier. Like on the iPad, one purchases apps using their iTunes account and they download and install in just one step. App updates are delivered directly through the Mac App Store, so it’s easy to keep all of the apps up to date. The Mac App Store will be available for Snow Leopard within 90 days and will be included in Lion when it ships next summer.
Launchpad makes it easier to find and launch any app. Similar to the Home screen on iPad, one can see all the apps on the Mac displayed just by clicking the Launchpad icon in the dock. Apps can be organized in any order or grouped into folders, and one can swipe through multiple pages of apps to find the one wants.
Lion includes system-wide support for full screen applications. With Lion, one can enter full screen mode with a click, switch from one full screen app to another with a swipe of the trackpad, and swipe back to the desktop to access multi-window applications.
Mission Control presents a unified view of every app and window running on the Mac, so one can instantly navigate anywhere. Mission Control also incorporates the next generation of Exposé, presenting all the windows running on the Mac grouped by application, alongside thumbnails of full screen apps, dashboard and other spaces.
With hardware and technology issues surrounding the iPhone 4G, Apple failed to counter the growing popularity of phones based on Google’s Android OS. Other competitors like RIM have released strong products like the BlackBerry Torch. Additionally, the first phones featuring arch rival Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 are expected as early as November this year. In this scenario the iPad’s success has been a shining light for Apple and with the Lion Apple will look to replicate the success on the Mac platform too.
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