While much of the attention in recent months has centered on the iPad and what Apple has now confirmed will unveil next March 2nd, the company has also been hard at work on the next iteration of OS X.

Slated for release this summer, not much was known about OS X Lion and what new features it would bring besides some scattered details on how it meant to integrate the "best ideas" from iOS. Today Apple released the first OS X Lion Developer Preview giving us some hands-on action on what's coming next for the Mac.

Apple wants to take advantage of multi-touch trackpads and peripherals, marrying that functionality with software features like LaunchPad that turns your desktop into a set of swipeable home screens, similar to what you have on the iPad and iPhone. Mission Control is another actionable feature using touch that unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces to give you a bird's eye view of every app and window running on your machine.

Apple is also giving some weight to the notion of running applications in "full-screen" mode, a multi-tasking approach Windows users have grown accustomed to for a long time, though OS X's take will go in conjunction with the aforementioned features.

Other major features that have been announced and are certainly worth mentioning:

  • Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions.
  • 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 saves your documents as you work.
  • a new version of Mail, with a widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
  • AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
  • an all new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously.
  • Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.