Apple's upcoming Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" includes a feature that allows multiple users to work on a machine concurrently, via individual graphical sessions.
The blog Apple Insider, in a March 31 posting, suggested this multiuser screen-sharing is "similar" to Microsoft's remote-desktop service, which allows user access to a remote PC over a network.
The second developer preview of Lion, termed build 11A419 and released March 30, is intended to give IT pros in Apple's ecosystem some idea of what to expect when the operating system's final version ships to consumers this summer.
Lion will feature the new Mac App Store, with applications purchasable via the user's iTunes account. The storefront launched Jan. 6 with more than 1,000 free and paid applications, including the always-popular Angry Birds and more productivity-centric programming such as AutoDesk. In taking its mobile-applications model to the traditional PC realm, Apple evidently hopes to create a new paradigm for installing and running programs.
But the screen-sharing feature also suggests that Apple is continuing to think about business power-users in addition to consumers. Although Microsoft's Windows franchise continues to dominate the market for traditional PC operating systems, Apple has seen increased adoption among both the enterprise and SMBs (small and midsize businesses), thanks to its mobile devices, which increasing numbers of employees want integrated into their workaday lives.
In February, Apple released the first developer preview of Lion, with features such as Mission Control (touted by Apple as giving users "a bird's-eye view of every application and window running on your Mac") and LaunchPad, which displays all Mac applications in a full-screen layout. Using the new AirDrop, users can copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another. A revamped FireVault pairs full-disk encryption for local and external drives with the ability to wipe a Mac's data instantly.
Apple will almost certainly talk details about Lion at its annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), which will run June 6-10 in San Francisco. In addition to its new Mac operating system, the company is also expected to delve a little deeper into iOS 5, the newest version of its mobile OS. Whether the event also sees the unveiling of the iPhone 5, which some rumors have set for later in the year, remains to be seen.
WWDC 2011 will feature technical sessions by Apple engineers, who will also offer code-level assistance into development techniques.