Apple’s “Back to the Mac” invitation left little to the imagination, featuring the face of a lion peering from behind a tilted version of the company’s iconic logo. Today, CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to give the wold a sneak preview of the next Mac OS X -- codenamed Lion 10.7.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs followed up the announcement of iLife ’11 and FaceTime for the Mac by explaining what today’s “Back to the Mac” event is really about, which is bringing some of the iOS technologies back to the Mac platform where it all started, with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
Jobs went over a list of ways that iOS technology is now being ported over to the Mac, including multitouch gestures, a new Mac App Store, app home screens, full-screen apps, auto save and apps that resume when launched. The CEO also threw cold water on the concept of a touchscreen laptop, claiming “It gives great demo, but after awhile your arm feels like it’s going to fall off. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal.”
LaunchPad is a new way to launch apps on your desktop, similar to how it’s already done on the iPad. You can even create Folders in exactly the same way that’s currently done with iOS to keep similar apps in one easy-to-find place.
Full-screen apps will also be a big part of 10.7 Lion, which was already demonstrated earlier in the event using iPhoto ’11. A simple multitouch gesture can be used to swipe away your full-screen app and get back to the Desktop or another app. Dashboard is also now a screen that can be easily summoned with a gesture, which should give the often-ignored feature a lot more utility with the new Mac OS X.
Also new to Lion 10.7 is a feature called Mission Control, which unifies Exposé, Dashboard, full-screen apps and Spaces under one roof. The feature collapses everything into a stack and layers apps so you can quickly find what you’re looking for.
Among the most controversial elements of the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will likely be the Mac App Store. Jobs claimed that with seven billion downloads under their belt from the iOS App Store, the new Mac App Store is the next logical progression.
Apple claims that the Mac App Store will be the “best place to discover apps,” with one-click downloads, both free and paid apps (split 70/30 with developers, same as with iOS), automatic installation, automatic app updates and apps licensed for use on all your personal Macs.
Apple vice president Craig Federighi took the stage to demo how the Mac App Store will work. Although it looks a lot like iTunes, the Mac App Store will be a standalone app with much of the same navigational features that users already know -- including descriptive product overview pages with screenshots and reviews. One click on the “Buy” button and your app drops into the Dock and automatically downloads.
Choosing not to wait for Lion 10.7 to arrive next year, Apple will be opening the Mac App Store on Snow Leopard 10.6 within 90 days, with app submissions for developers starting in November.
Apple intends to release Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in the summer of 2011 and plans to preview additional features of the new OS X in the coming months.
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