The Washington Post

Mac OS X Lion’s new features aim to boost productivity

In the frenzy over iCloud, OS X Lion got overshadowed after Apple CEO Steve Jobs spoke at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

But the new operating system has some pretty neat features. Here’s what you need to know about Lion:

What’s new? Apple exec Phil Schiller said Monday that the Lion has over 250 new features. He highlighted a few meant to boost productivity and make Apple’s user interface even easier to navigate.

One thing is clear: Lion emulates the mobile iOS. Launchpad is the all-new way to operate a computer, with a main screen that shows all applications. It looks exactly like the home screen on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and it works the same way. Mission Control pulls together the features of Apple’s Expose, Spaces and Dashboard, letting users navigate between open applications and to group windows into different desktops.

New multi-touch gestures also incorporate mobile elements, with tap-to-zoom and pinch-to-zoom. Lion also lets users view applications in full screen, taking advantage of all the screen real estate.

AutoSave and Versions help users browse multiple versions of a document to keep track of changes. Another feature, Resume opens applications right where the user left off, cutting down on set-up time.

As for software and sharing, Apple unveiled a secure WiFi-sharing system called AirDrop and gave Mail an iPad-like makeover by introducing columns, a better conversation view and smarter search features.

When is it coming out? Lion is out to developers as of Monday, but it will be hitting shelves in July.

How much is it? Here’s the shocker. While most OS X updates have been $129.99, Apple has dropped the price of Lion to $29.99.

What are the requirements? To run Lion, users need an Intel Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor. They will also need the latest version of Snow Leopard to update, so eager upgraders should keep up-to-date with the latest system updates from Cupertino, Calif.

How do I get it? In another interesting move, Apple is offering Lion only through the Mac App Store. It’s a 4 GB download, so you may want to set it up and go fix yourself a snack while you wait for it to download. Jobs said that Lion can be used on multiple computers.

Related stories:

WWDC: Liveblog

WWDC 2011: iCloud, iOS 5, Lion and Apple CEO Steve Jobs

PHOTOS: Apple hits and misses over the years

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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