Apple has released the latest version of its desktop operating system: Mac OS X Lion. Installing Lion, which is available from the Mac App Store for $31.99, requires Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
First previewed in October 2010 by CEO Steve Jobs, then touted in more detail at Apple's annual developer conference in June, Lion was dubbed "Mac OS X meets the iPad" by Jobs to emphasize that parts of Lion, notably its multi-touch gesture support, had been inspired by iOS.
One example is the new LaunchPad. You can still keep much-used applications in your Dock, but LaunchPad will also display them using your full screen, just like the iOS home screen. Also as with iOS, you can group related applications together in folders.
In another major UI shift, Apple has unified two technologies called Spaces and Expose. In previous versions of OS X, Spaces let users create virtual screens that could hold different applications for distinct tasks. Expose was a quick way of seeing all the applications running. Lion integrates these functions into a single tool that's accessed with one gesture.
Other new features in the OS include automatic saving and version control for documents and the ability to create ad hoc Wi-Fi networks with other Macs.
Additional reporting by Gregg Keizer and Michael Gartenberg.