Apple releases Mac OS X Lion, $29.99 in Mac App Store

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Apple has released Mac OS X Lion its Mac App Store early Wednesday morning and, as promised, the new operating system is selling for $29.99.

There’s no going into an Apple store and buying a copy of this new OS for Intel-based Apple laptops and desktops on a DVD. Mac OS X Lion -- which touts more than 250 new features -- is only available as a 3.49-gigabyte digital download. Apple store employees will, however, help with downloading Lion for those who stroll in.


For those who don’t have high-speed Internet connections at home, work or school and can’t get to an Apple store to download Lion, Apple has said that later this August, Lion will be sold on a USB thumb drive from Apple in-store and online for $69.

Among the new features Lion is adding over its predecessor, OS X Snow Leopard, are new multi-touch trackpad features, including scrolling speed that varies depending on how fast you flick your fingers, pinching your fingers to zoom in on a Web page or image (as you’d do on an touch-screen smartphone or tablet) and new security features such as stepped-up hard drive encryption.

Lion is also ushering in a few new app-related features, too, such as automatic file saving when a user closes a program, full-screen views, and iPad-like Launchpad feature to organize and view apps as an array of icons across a screen.

The new version of OS X is a bit of a test for digital distribution methods at Apple, which is also prepping for the fall release of the Cupertino, Calif., company’s iCloud services.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles