The big news revealed today, however, is that the OS will now only be available in the Mac App Store as a 4GB download -- which installs in place, no reboots -- and that it will run you just $29.99 for all of your authorized Macs. It will be available sometime in July, but developers can get the latest preview release today. Head on past the break for the official press release.
Update: It didn't garner much fanfare, but Apple has also revealed that Lion Server will be available as an App Store download in July as well, with it set to run you $49.99 (a veritable bargain by Server standards).
Mac OS X Lion at WWDC 2011See all photos
SAN FRANCISCO-June 6, 2011-Apple® today announced that Mac OS® X Lion, the eighth major release of the world's most advanced operating system with more than 250 new features and 3,000 new developer APIs, will be available to customers in July as a download from the Mac® App Store™ for $29.99. Some of the amazing features in Lion include: new Multi-Touch® gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control, an innovative view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store, the best place to find and explore great software, built right into the OS; Launchpad, a new home for all your apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.
"The Mac has outpaced the PC industry every quarter for five years running and with OS X Lion we plan to keep extending our lead," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "The best version of OS X yet, Lion is packed with innovative features such as new Multi-Touch gestures, system-wide support for full screen apps, and Mission Control for instantly accessing everything running on your Mac."
New Multi-Touch gestures and fluid animations built into Lion let you interact directly with content on the screen for a more intuitive way to use your Mac. New gestures include momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps. All Mac notebooks ship with Multi-Touch trackpads and desktop Macs can use Apple's Magic Trackpad.
Full screen apps take advantage of the entire display and are perfect for reading email, surfing the web or browsing photos, especially on a MacBook Air® or MacBook® Pro. With a single click your app fills the display and you can swipe from one window to another, between full screen apps, or back to your Desktop, Dashboard or Spaces® without ever leaving full screen. iWork® and iLife® apps, as well as Safari®, iTunes®, Mail, FaceTime® and others, all take advantage of Lion's system-wide support for full screen apps.
Mission Control combines Exposé®, full screen apps, Dashboard and Spaces into one unified experience for a bird's eye view of every app and window running on your Mac. With a simple swipe, your desktop zooms out to display your open windows grouped by app, thumbnails of your full screen apps and your Dashboard, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere with a tap.
The Mac App Store is built into Lion and is the best place to discover great new Mac apps, buy them with your iTunes account, download and install them. Apps automatically install directly to Launchpad, and with Lion's release, the Mac App Store will be able to deliver smaller "delta" app updates and new apps that can take advantage of features like In-App Purchase and Push Notifications.
Launchpad makes it easier than ever to find and launch any app. With a single Multi-Touch gesture, all your Mac apps are displayed in a stunning full screen layout. You can organize apps in any order or into folders and swipe through unlimited pages of apps to find the one you want.
Lion includes a completely redesigned Mail app with an elegant widescreen layout. The new Conversations feature groups related messages into an easily scrollable timeline, intelligently hiding repeated text so the conversation is easy to follow, and retaining graphics and attachments as they were originally sent. An incredibly powerful new search feature allows you to refine your search and suggests matches by person, subject and label as you type. Mail includes built-in support for Microsoft Exchange 2010.
Additional new features in Lion include:
Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
Auto Save, which automatically and continuously saves your documents as you work;
Versions, which automatically records the history of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, revert and even copy and paste from previous versions; and
AirDrop, which finds nearby Macs and automatically sets up a peer-to-peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy.
Pricing & Availability Mac OS X Lion will be available in July as an upgrade to Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard® from the Mac App Store for $29.99 (US). Lion will be the easiest OS X upgrade and at about 4GB, it is the size of an HD movie from the iTunes Store®. Mac OS X Lion Server requires Lion and will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $49.99 (US).
Lion requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor and 2GB of RAM. The Lion upgrade can be installed on all your authorized personal Macs.
The Mac OS X Lion Up-To-Date upgrade is available at no additional charge via the Mac App Store to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on or after June 6, 2011. Users must request their Up-To-Date upgrade within 30 days of purchase of their Mac computer. Customers who purchase a qualifying Mac between June 6, 2011 and the date when Lion is available in the Mac App Store will have 30 days from Lion's official release date to make a request.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.