Apple yesterday gave a sneak peek of Mac OS X Lion, the eighth major release of the operating system. Shipping next summer, Lion is inspired by many of iPad’s software innovations. Features include the Launchpad, a new home for Mac applications; system-wide support for full-screen apps; and Mission Control, which unifies Expose, Dashboard, Spaces, and full-screen apps into a new view of everything running on the Mac, allowing instant navigation.
Most interesting to developers will be the coming Mac App Store, which will be a means of distributing Mac OS X apps just like the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It promises to make it as easy to download Mac OS X apps as it is to add a favorite magazine to an iPad or a new game to iPod touch. Developers utilizing Mac App Store will pick the price to charge for their apps, receive 70% of sales revenue, and will not be charged fees for hosting.
Apple also unveiled the new MacBook Air, the first of the next generation of notebooks that will replace mechanical hard disks and optical drives with Internet services and solid-state flash storage. Available in 11-inch and 13-inch models and weighing as little as 2.3 pounds, the MacBook Air is Apple’s lightest notebook ever. MacBook Air uses the same solid-state storage technology as iPad to deliver instant-on responsiveness, up to seven hours of battery life, and up to 30 days of standby time.