Mac OS X Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X, Apple’s desktop operating system, will be released this summer. Mac OS X Lion was first revealed at the “Back to Mac” event last year in October.
The Developer Preview 2 of the operating system was released last month exclusively to developers and an update was released today with a do-not-track function for the Safari web browser, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The upcoming version of Mac OS X will include many features from Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, such as the Mac App store, which is similar to the App Store in iOS. Newly purchased apps will appear in the Launchpad, which is another new feature in Lion.
By clicking on the Launchpad icon, users can view all of their applications laid out on a grid and then launch them with a click. The layout mimics the presentation of app icons on the iPhone or iPad.
Users can also make their applications display fullscreen by clicking on a control and they can swipe the trackpad to switch to another app window or return to the desktop. Again, this feature was inspired by iOS.
Another notable addition are new multitouch gestures, which basically allows users to control everything using the tips of their fingers. In addition to basic pinch zoom and full screen swiping, users can customize their gestures to make full use of the trackpad, which can recognize gestures with up to four fingers.
In addition to taking existing elements from iOS and moving it to the Mac, Lion also offers some brand new features created specifically for the Mac.
The new Mission Control feature allows Mac users to have an overview of everything they are running on the desktop. By swiping the trackpad with four fingers, all opened windows will be arranged into several groups including the Dashboard and all full window apps.
Mail 5 on Mac OS X Lion offers faster inbox searching and a feature called Conversations, which groups messages by threads to show conversations in a streamlined chronological order.
Mac OS X Lion also includes automation functions such as the Auto Save feature which automatically saves all work instead of forcing users to save their work manually. Another related feature called Versions guarantees safety by making a copy of a document when it is first opened and automatically saves the most current version every hour.
To top it all off, Mac users no longer have to set up their applications and windows again after restarting their computers. The Resume feature returns every app to the way it was left before a system restart.
Other new features include a heightened security system with FileVault, which now provides full disk-level encryption for internal or external drives. It also allows users to clear out all data on the Mac at once. Air Drop allows users to send documents quickly to other Air Drop users wirelessly.