Apple took the wraps off of the latest versions of its software at the Worldwide Developers Conference, unveiling Mac OS X Lion, the eighth release of Apple's Mac operating system, and iOS 5, the updated version of Apple's mobile operating system for its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.
Mac OS X Lion will offer some 250 new features, Apple said during its keynote Monday. Apple executives, among them vice president Phil Schiller, walked the audience through ten of these updates, including multi-touch gestures (scrolling, pinching to zoom, swiping, and more), full-screen apps, "resume" (a feature that enables users to return to an application exactly as they left it), Mission Control (which presents a "bird's eye view" of all open windows, documents and applications), Auto Save (just what it sounds like--Lion will automatically save a work-in-progress document), AirDrop (an encrypted, peer-to-peer, WiFi-based file sharing network), and a revamped version of Mail, which offers better search tools, a "conversation" view, and a more iOS-like interface.
Mac OS X Lion will cost significantly less than in the past: whereas previous versions of Apple's Mac software have been around $129, Lion will cost $29. A preview will be available for developers June 6, with Mac OS X Lion launching for customers in July.
Apple boasted that Apple's Mac App Store, launched in January of this year, has grown to become the top channel for buying software of PCs, ahead of outlets like Best Buy, Walmart, and Office Depot.
Apple described iOS 5, which will include some 200 new features for users, as a "major release."
Ten of these features were highlighted during the WWDC keynote: a new Notification Center that will combine all notifications in one place, show notifications on the lock screen and replace the current pop-ups that appear; Newsstand, a centralized place where all magazine and newspaper subscriptions will be stored; Twitter integration that will make it easier to tweet from apps, such as Camera, Photos, Safari and Maps, and automatically update contacts that also have Twitter handles; Safari Reader, a button that simplifies the display of an article to show just the text; Reading List , a Safari-based Instapaper-like tool that lets users save stories they want to peruse later; tabbed web browsing; Reminders, a high-tech to do list that syncs tasks to dates, locations, and across apps; faster access to the device's camera, which can be accessed via the lock screen just by hitting the volume-up button, as well as a way to edit photos on the iOS device, via the Photos app; a Mail revamp with enhanced formatting, better search, a built-in dictionary, the ability to split the keyboard, and more; "PC Free," providing over-the-air software updates for devices in a nod to the "post-PC world" Apple is pushing; Game Center updates that enable users to buy and download games from Game Center, browse game recommendations, and connect with friends; (more to come); and iMessage, a BBM-like messaging service communication between iOS users that will work via WiFi and 3G.
iOS 5 will be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, both versions of the iPad, and the third and fourth-generations of the iPod touch. Developers will have access to iOS 5 today, June 6, and the software will be launched later this fall.