Hold on to your tents and sleeping bags, you Apple fans. No need to go line up at your nearest Apple reseller to grab the latest iteration of the OS X operating system, codenamed 10.7 Lion. Lion marks the first time that Apple will be releasing an operating system as a digital download via the Mac App Store.
Apple has seeded a Golden Master of OS X to developers a couple of days ago, bearing build number 11A511. Apple also seeded GM builds of OS X Lion Server components, Xcode 4.1 Developer Preview 7 and iCloud for OS X Lion Beta 3. GM builds are usually pretty much final builds which make it to final public release, barring any last minute changes or bugs.
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Typically, it takes about 2 weeks from GM to public release. However, being a digital download it could hit the Mac App Store earlier than expected. At the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple announced that the $29.99 update would be available in July, although it did not elaborate on a specific date.
Basic requirements for the 10.7 upgrade for users is that it requires users to first be Snow Leopard 10.6 users. Apple released OS X 10.6.8 a few weeks ago to prep users for transition to 10.7 Lion.
Lion packs over 250 new features which include full-screen applications, more multitouch gestures, Resume, AirDrop file transfers, AutoSave, and Launchpad (which is an iOS-like launcher).
There has been reports that a new, refreshed line of MacBook Air notebooks with 10.7 Lion will be released soon. The last MacBook Air refresh was in October 2010, where it featured an all-new design. Some retailers are indicating low or unavailable stock for the current MacBook Airs — usually a sign of new products coming soon. Can’t wait!
I’ll be downloading the GM build to test on my Core 2 Duo MacBookPro. Will be posting some highlights soon!