Mac OS X Lion roars

In the review of Mac OS, Schiller showed how file management will be easier in Mac OS X Lion owing to a few new features that help users save their work, track previous changes, and pick up where they left off after a shutdown. With Versions and new auto-saving features, Lion automatically creates a version each time users open it and every hour they work on it. Just like the interface in Time Machine, users will be able to cycle back through versions if they just want to retrieve a previously deleted item, for example. They can then cut and paste work from an earlier version of their document to the current version.

Mac OS X Lion’s new Resume feature lets users get back to where they left off after a shutdown or restart, bringing them back to exactly where they were when they closed out. This means they won’t need to reopen all their apps and set everything up after a restart–all will be ready right from where they left off. In the demo, Federighi showed off how quitting an app doesn’t prompt you with a save dialog because Lion has not only auto-saved your work, but also will save all your settings and how each window was laid out in the app.

Next up was AirDrop. Schiller showed how using AirDrop will let you drag and drop documents to nearby users. Simply open the peer-to-peer Wi-Fi based network, drag the document to your chosen user, and the AirDrop automatically saves it to that users Downloads folder.

Apple’s Mail program will receive a face-lift as well, using much the same layout found on the iPad’s Mail app. Now with Mail 5, users will be able to quickly browse through messages on the left and get a full-screen preview of every e-mail on the right. The addition of a new Mailbox bar will let users quickly access the most-used mail folders, letting them get where they want to go quickly. Schiller demonstrated the improved searching in Mail 5, showing how the app automatically gives you contacts and content from actual e-mails through the drop-down so you can find what you want quickly.

Mail 5 also offers a new conversation view, much like an organization system found in the latest versions of Microsoft Outlook. With Conversation view, users will be able to group an entire thread of e-mails by conversation so they can quickly get to everything said about a subject. From there they can either save or delete entire conversations with only a couple of clicks. You can also drag-and-drop entire conversations to your favorites bar in Mail.

Schiller pointed out that they were only demonstrating the main features, but there was plenty more to look at. As expected, Lion will only be available in the Mac App Store and will be 4GB in size. It installs right in place, and when you purchase it, you can use it on all your authorized Macs. Mac OS X Lion will retail for $29.99.

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