Mac OS X Lion has now reached Golden Master and is now available to all registered Apple Developers. If everything goes as expected, this Golden Master release will be available to all users through the App Store very soon.
This comes months after Lion was first announced to the world, at a Mac-oriented event in October of last year, and several weeks after it was demoed again to developers at WWDC. According to Apple, Mac OS X Lion aims at taking usability paradigms from iOS and adapting them to the Mac. Lion includes, for example, a new application manager named LaunchPad, which can be seen as the Mac version of the iOS Home Screen, since it takes up the whole screen and allows applications to be sorted into folders, much like they can on iOS devices.
Another feature that was clearly inspired by iOS is enhanced multi-touch support. Although it found its way onto Mac OS X slowly, Lion has been designed to respond to multi-touch interaction like never before: features like Exposé, for example, are just a swipe away, using a Trackpad or Apple’s Magic Mouse.
Lion does more than just bringing features from an already released product, however. In fact, it does a great deal to improve the reliability of standard computers. Resume, for example, allows the state of applications to be saved whenever they’re closed, or whenever the computer is powered off, allowing users to start working right where they left off afterwards. AutoSave takes this feature one step forward by saving all changes made to files on the fly, even if users don’t manually save them.
If you’re a registered Apple developer, you can download the final version of Lion for free right now, from Apple’s Developer Center. If you don’t have a developer account, you can purchase one for $99, which will give you access to developer tools as well as full operating system releases for a year.
Remaining users will have to wait until Lion ships, which should happen sometime this month, as promised by Apple. Users will be able to download it exclusively from the Mac App Store, since, for the first time, Apple won’t be selling DVD copies of the operating system.