New Features in OSX Lion

Apple today released the Developer Preview of Mac OS X Lion. This gives us a better look at features coming to OS X that were first announced last autumn. Apple are billing Lion as a meeting of the best of OS X with the lessons learned from the iPad.

Obvious imports from the iPad are the gestures, like pinch zooming and so on, and the introduction of iOS-like app displays. You’ll be able to browse your installed apps just like you do on the iPhone, and navigate them with gestures via the touchpad.

Document-based applications will now auto-save, which should eliminate one of computing’s most common gripes –  ‘I lost all my work’! There’s also a new way of copying files between Macs called Air Drop, which apparently requires no setup and makes the process much simpler.

There are also some neat visual touches, like overlay scrollbars brought in from iOS. The most interesting change I saw, though, was how apps will be handled…

A new system that manages your applications called Resume has been introduced. The state of an app will be saved when closed, so you can reopen it just as it was. That’s interesting enough, but more so is that Resume will automatically close apps you aren’t using, saving their states and therefore using less system resources. This will reduce energy use without inconveniencing users. For all of you that like to run ten applications at once, you’ll now be able to do that with a clear conscience (and a cooler computer)!

OS X Lion is due for commercial release this summer.

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