Lion OS X available for mere $29.99 from App Store. Arrives July.

OS X Lion revealed at WWDCFinally, Lion OS X was unveiled after much fanfare and expectation at Apple’s WWDC on the 6th June. Perhaps the greatest surprise was the price and the fact that it will be available only though the App Store. The download will be 4GB and you won’t need to reboot! The price will be $29.99 (£20.99) and you will be able to install it all your Macs that are authorised on your Apple account. You will also be able to purchase the Server version for just $49.99 (UK price TBC), a huge reduction on the previous price of $999!

The next iteration of OS X comes with 250+ improvements (though most are minor tweaks). Here is the most important ones (as chosen by Apple):

OS X LIon's new featuresHighlights look to be Mission Control, Multi-Touch Gestures and Resume.

Mission Control:

Mission Control brings together full-screen apps, Dashboard, Exposé and Spaces in one new feature that gives you a bird’s-eye view of everything on your system. With a single swipe on the trackpad, your desktop zooms out to Mission Control. Think of it as the hub of your system: view everything and go anywhere with just a click.

Mission ControlApple has brought together the functionality of Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces and full-screen apps into one place. By using the trackpad or the Mission Control icon in the Dock, you can zoom your desktop and voila, the Mission Control GUI appears! nWith Mission Control, a row of thumbnails appears at the top of your screen. Icons represent Dashboard, desktop spaces and your full-screen apps. The lower part of the screen shows an Exposé view of the open windows on your desktop grouped by app. To get where you want to go, just swipe left or right. Or click a thumbnail. Simple!

You can create new ‘spaces’ easily by just dragging an app to the top row of icons on the screen or by clicking on the + icon in the top row. If you want to move windows to a new space then just drag it from the Exposé area to the icon at the top for that particular space.

Multi-Touch Gestures:

Multi-touch gestures allows you to tap, scroll, pinch and swipe to navigate around your Mac in an intuitive manner.

Multi-Touch Gestures

With Multi-Touch Gestures, when you scroll down on your trackpad or Magic Mouse, your document scrolls down. When you scroll up, your web page scrolls up. When you swipe left, your photos move left. In addition, Lion introduces new animations, making it all seem more fluid and enhancing the whole experience. In addition, in OS X Lion, the scroll bar appears only when you scroll. So it doesn’t get in the way of the content on the screen.


Apps resume when launched

When you launch an application, it appears exactly as you left it. All the open windows, palettes and panes — even the cursor position and highlighted text — come back just as they were.

System resume on restart

When you restart your computer, OS X Lion pauses your system so everything comes back just as you left it. All the apps that were running reopen, and windows appear exactly as they were, so you can begin working immediately.

Clean start

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

All in all, the next version of OS X looks like it will improve what is already the best user-experience beyond anything in Windows 7 or Linux. Also, the gradual alignment of features in OS X and iOS should help make the whole experience of switching between your Mac, iPhone and iPad all that much more smoother. This can only be a good thing and may actually help sell more Macs. Good news all round basically.

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