Apple took the wraps off OS X Lion, their latest Mac operating system, during a special media event yesterday. Now that the dust has settled, we look at what iPad and iOS related features Apple will be integrating into Lion.
Steve Jobs said that Apple had learned a lot from the launch of the iPad and that they were ”inspired by some of those innovations in the iPad and iPhone and we want to bring them back to the Mac.” This “Back to Mac” theme was echoed throughout the day’s event where Apple made it clear that OS X and iOS would be coming closer together as the company moves forward.
Jobs outlined six key new features inside OS X Lion that are inspired by the iPad and iPhone and we summarize each below.
- Multitouch Gestures – Apple is continuing the Mac’s existing multitouch capabilities and OS X Lion will include additional multitouch gestures. These new gestures will be accessible via Apple’s Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad and the built in trackpad on the MacBook and MacBook Pro product line.
- Mac App Store – One of the biggest announcements was that Apple is bringing the very popular App Store concept to the Mac. The new Mac App Store will allow users to discover, browse and buy new Mac applications all from the comfort of their Mac. Apps can be purchased from the Mac App Store and installed on the Mac with a single click greatly simplifying the Mac application buying experience. The Mac App Store will also automatically update Mac apps similarly to the process on the iPad or iPhone. The app licensing model is also identical to the iPad, any app downloaded from the Mac App Store is licensed for use on all of your personal Macs.
- App Home Screen – The new Launch Pad is essentially an iPad or iPhone like system to browse, launch, arrange and organize all your apps. The Launch Pad screen will be very familiar to current iOS users and provides an intuitive way to work with your Mac’s apps.
- Full Screen Apps – Taking another cue from the iPad, Apple has embraced the ability to run apps in full screen mode on your Mac. When an application is launched, users can click on a window to have it takeover the entire screen similarly to how apps currently run on the iPad. Apple demonstrated the feature with iPhoto and iMovie on the Mac and is incorporating the feature in all iLife 11 apps.
- Auto Save – When you exit an app, your work as well as the current app status will be automatically saved. This feature is an important part for the new Auto Resume function.
- App Resume When Launched – When you launch an application from the Launch Pad, the app will resume right where you left off the last time you used the app. The app will bring up any current documents you were working with and restore the app state to your previous work session. This behavior is common on the iPad and a top feature for many users.
Lion is targeted for release next Summer and the Mac App Store will be available for OS X Snow Leopard Mac users in January of 2011. With the launch of Lion, Apple is beginning to blur the lines between the Mac and iOS based devices like the iPad. The Mac App Store should be a huge hit when it goes live next year and several developers have already announced support for the new app distribution platform. This is the first real platform that could make Internet software distribution a reality and will likely lead to the decline of physical distribution of software on CD or DVD.