Apple Releases OS X Lion Gold Master: Digital Download Days Away?


7 Apr 2011
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Hold onto your hats, Apple enthusiasts: The latest iteration of your OS X operating system could be beating down your digital door within days.


According to various news reports, Apple has released the gold master of OS X Lion to developers, suggesting that we're but a few days away from the official release of OS X 10.7. Apple hasn't provided an official release date for the operating system update, except to say that it was scheduled to arrive sometime during July.

Don't plan on camping out on local Apple stores in an attempt to be one of the first to get your hands on the new software: There's no need. Lion marks the first operating system that Apple will be releasing as a digital download via the Mac App Store—which also means that the company should be able to significantly shorten its typical two week waiting period between releasing an OS gold master and seeing a tangible product on store shelves.

Users will only have to pony up $29.99 to upgrade from Snow Leopard–OS X 10.6–to Lion via digital download. However, you'll want to make sure that you've installed all of the Apple-specific updates released over the past month before Lion hits the Mac App Store. Version 10.6.8 of the operating system contains tweaks that enable the digital download and upgrade process, a must-have in order for the upgrade to function correctly.

We've covered the various features of OS X Lion pretty extensively, so here's the short list of what users can expect to see come Lion Launch Day: an automatic restoration feature that allows users to resume their apps exactly as they left them after quitting or shutting down the system, a brand-new "reboot into Safari" mode that turns one's system into a simple Web-browser-only kiosk of-sorts, and a comprehensive autosave feature that keeps your data safe (and version-tracked) analogous to a Google Docs file.

It remains to be seen just how Apple's hardware is going to shift around once the Lion is let loose into the wild. Rumors have suggested that Apple's been waiting for its operating system's official release before unveiling souped-up hardware, including a new Thunderbolt- and Sandy Bridge-enhanced refresh of the company's MacBook Air, that would come with the new operating system preinstalled.

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