Desktops and Notebooks: Apple's Mac OS X 'Lion' Prepares for Windows, webOS Competition
Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at San Francisco's Moscone Center June 6 to kick off his company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. As expected, Jobs and a host of other Apple executives profiled the company's upcoming operating system offerings, including iOS 5 and Mac OS X "Lion." The latter is a major update to Apple's long-running Mac OS X franchise, with a variety of new features designed to take advantage of the burgeoning interest in applications. To that end, Lion offers full-screen applications, tethered to features like "Resume" that restores an application to the same condition prior to logging out or restarting. Individual windows within applications can be blown up to full screen, and swiping the track pad will allow users to cycle to other windows. On top of that, Apple has tweaked the basic Mac OS X interface, seeking to evolve how users interact with the system. Those tweaks include the scroll bars, which now remain visible only when in use, and an increased range of gesture controls, including page and image zoom and full-screen swiping. On the productivity side of the equation, Lion includes Auto Save, an AirDrop feature that wirelessly shoots files to other users, and a FileVault for keeping information secure with XTS-AES 128 data encryptionfor both internal and external drives. In the coming year, Apple will face renewed competition from not only Microsoft, which is gearing up the next version of Windows for release in (probably) late 2012, but also Hewlett-Packard, which plans to load its webOS onto tablets, desktops and laptops.