Today, Apple announced that Mac OS X Lion will include software that previously cost IT departments an extra $499: Mac OS X Lion Server.
"Lion Server is now part of Mac OS X Lion," says Apple's marketing web page. "It's easy to set up your Mac as a server and take advantage of the many services Lion Server has to offer."
Some advantages of the newly integrated suite of server administrative software include a guided setup process for configuring a Mac as a server; "local and remote administration - for users and groups, push notifications, file sharing, calendaring, mail, contacts, chat, Time Machine, VPN, web, and wiki services - all in one place"; "simple, profile-based setup and management for Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices" with Profile Manager; Wiki Server 3, designed to make it "even easier to collaborate, share, and exchange information"; and WebDAV services that give iPad users "the ability to [wirelessly] access, copy, and share documents on the server from applications such as Keynote, Numbers, and Pages."
The built-in server software joins a long list of new features planned for inclusion in Mac OS X Lion, including Launchpad, full-screen apps, Mission Control, new gestures, global auto save, Versions, Resume, and AirDrop. According to Apple's documentation for developers, Lion Server will appear as a customizable option during the initial installation process.
Mac OS X Lion is available as a developer preview today. It is scheduled for release this summer.