Apple engineers have been hard at work in the eight months since Apple CEO Steve Jobs first previewed Lion at last October’s Back to the Mac event, and the next version of Mac OS X got a thirty-minute spotlight—led by Apple executives Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi—at Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. That preview focused primarily on expanding on features previously showcased (during October’s event and on Apple’s Website), but Schiller also revealed three brand-new bits of information: the new OS’s ship July date, $30 price tag, and Mac App Store exclusivity.
In the past, every version of Mac OS X shipped on an optical disk, but Apple will stop that practice with Lion, which will instead be available as a direct download from the Mac App Store, and the Mac App Store only. The download will let you install Lion on all Macs authorized with your Apple ID. However, as the Mac App Store is available only for customers running OS X 10.6.6 or later, users who wish to upgrade to Lion will presumably need Snow Leopard installed. (There's no word yet on whether Apple will provide other options for people running older versions of OS X on Lion-supported hardware, or for those who need to roll out Lion to a large installation of Macs.)
Schiller and Federighi had time to talk about and demonstrate ten of Lion’s over 250 new features at Monday’s keynote: multitouch gestures, fullscreen applications, Mission Control, the Mac App Store, Launchpad, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, AirDrop, and improvements to Mail. The two tag-teamed the presentation, with Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, giving general overviews while Federighi, vice president of OS X software, provided hands-on demonstrations.
Mac users have long relied on the mouse to painstakingly click, drag, and move windows around, slowing down productivity. With Lion, multitouch gestures have been implemented across the board, letting you swipe, pinch to zoom, and more—even momentum-based scrolling is systemwide. Both execs also emphasized Lion's iOS-like scroll bars, claiming (much to chagrin of more than one Macworld editor) that we no longer need scroll bars because we can now "push" content using gestures. (Lion's default setting is to show scroll bars only when you gesture to scroll.)
Federighi demonstrated these new gestures in several of Apple’s default applications. In Safari, for example, he used a two-finger swipe to go forward and backward in the browser; he also showed how to zoom fluidly by using a reverse-pinch gesture, and how to swipe full-screen apps on and off the screen.
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