Mac OS X Lion Unleashed Via Mac App Store, Over 700K Downloads in 15 Hours

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Apple has finally released the much-anticipated and touted Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the eighth major release, via digital download from the Mac App Store. It is the first ever Mac OS X release sans a retail box, available as a download only option for a cool $29.99. Lion unleashes some 250 new features including new Multi-Touch gestures; full screen apps; Mission Control, which unifies Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard; Launchpad, an iPad-inspired new home for all your apps; and a sexier, redesigned Mail app.

Based on unconfirmed reports, over 700,000 downloads were recorded from the Mac App Store, within the first 15 hours it was made available.

“Lion is the best version of OS X yet, and we’re thrilled that users around the world can download it starting today,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Lion makes upgrading a Mac easier than ever before; just launch the Mac App Store, buy Lion with your iTunes account, and the download and install process will begin automatically.”

With a fast internet connection, users should be able to have a complete copy of 4GB Lion downloaded in under 30 minutes. Early impressions of Lion has been very positive, with early adopters reporting excellent, responsive performance and useful new multitouch gestures. Some touting it as the “best Mac OS X yet”. There’s mixed reviews on “inverted scrolling” ala iOS though, although fret not, this is a user-controllable option that can be switched off. It is reported that Apple will be offering a USB thumbdrive version of the update later.

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The last major release for Mac OS X was v10.6 Snow Leopard, which debuted on June 9, 2008, some three years ago. Lion is a transitionary release and from the looks of things has become more and more iPad and “Post-PC-like”. We should be seeing even more great things to come as Apple redefines what a desktop OS should be.

It’s interesting to note that the final release build number is 11A494, which is older than the Golden Master that Apple seeded to developers which bore build number 11A511. GM builds are usually pretty much final builds which make it to final public release, barring any last-minute changes or bugs.

Before you upgrade, make sure you backup all your data and also it would be wise to check the Mac OS X Lion App Compatibility List to make sure your favourite apps are up-to-date. Being a new release, there may be apps which are not updated yet for Lion.

Lion requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor and 2GB of RAM. Lion is an upgrade and can be installed on all your authorised personal Macs.

The OS X Lion Up-to-Date upgrade will be available through the Mac App Store at no additional charge to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on or after June 6, 2011. Details can be found at apple.com/macosx/uptodate.

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