Apple releases OSX Lion preview to developers

Apple has released a preview of OSX lion to developers which features some of the lessons learned from the iPad and its ilk.

Lion will be the eighth major release of the Unix-based operating system released by Apple and, as was mooted in Steve Jobs' recent keynote, will build on developments to the Cupertino company's portable gadgets, particularly when it comes to user interaction.

“The iPad has inspired a new generation of innovative features in Lion,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s main marketing man. “Developers are going to love Mission Control and Launchpad, and can now start adding great new Lion features like full screen, gestures, Versions and Auto Save to their own apps.”

It seems like most of the new features will be reliant on user having either a recent Apple notebook with its giant glass touchpad, a Magic Mouse (which has much the same built into the rodent's carapace) or a Magic Trackpad as most rely on multi-touch gestures or swipes.

Mission Control unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces, and full screen apps to give a bird’s eye view of every app and window running on a Mac. A quick swipe zooms the desktop out to display open windows grouped by app, thumbnails of full screen apps as well as Dashboard, and allows instant navigation anywhere with a single click.

Launchpad makes it easier to find and launch apps with an iPad-aping interface complete with app folders.

There's no solid date for the Launch of Lion but we wouldn't be surprised to see Jobs or one of his minions, depending on the Leader's health, giving more details at what everyone is now assuming will be the launch of the iPad 2 next Tuesday.

In the meantime, we've been pondering where Apple will be going after 'Lion' because we reckon it's the last of the well-known big cats.

Wags in the office have suggested a new direction with 'Scarecrow', 'TinMan' and 'Dororthy', (they could even call iOS5 'Toto') or even 'Witch' and 'Wardrobe'.

Perhaps you can do better.