Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Developer Preview [Updated]

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Update: Check out an official video of new OS X Lion features in action at the bottom of this post.

Mac OS X Lion, the next version of Apple’s Mac operating system, got a developer preview release today alongside the introduction of new MacBook Pros. The OS update was announced in October 2010 at Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event. Expectations of an release grew recently as sites reported seeing increased traffic from users with 10.7 on their machines, meaning Apple had ramped up internal testing.

Lion (version 10.7 of OS X) brings a number of features from the iPad to the Mac, among others. Apple breaks down some of the new features in its press release announcing the new developer preview:

Lion features Mission Control, an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac; Launchpad, a new home for all your Mac apps; full screen apps that use the entire Mac display; and new Multi-Touch™ gestures. Lion also includes the Mac App Store℠, the best place to discover, install and automatically update Mac apps.

Mission Control is like Exposé and Spaces on steroids, giving you tons of control over windows and workspace management. Launchpad basically brings iOS home screens to your Mac, allowing you to quickly organize apps. In addition to full-screen and multi-touch gestures, Lion also introduces support for Auto Save and Resume in Mac apps, which should essentially mirror the way apps can quit and jump back to exactly where they left off using iOS’ multitasking features. And Versions should also be great for productivity, as it allows you to compare your current document to past iterations side-by-side.

Another great new change detailed in Apple’s press release is a brand new version of Mail, which brings “an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010.” I never stray far from using Mail in OS X, but these changes sound like they’ll be huge improvements to a product that is admittedly showing its age.

The main new features in OS X Lion were all shown off when Apple first unveiled the new operating system, and you can see our more detailed look at each individual aspect of the new OS in Alex’s article about the 10.7 launch announcement. As users dig into the new developer preview, I’m sure we’ll see many more details emerge regarding Apple’s latest major OS update.

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