Apple announced today the eighth major release of its Mac OS X operating system (OS) is now available from the Mac App store.

Called Lion, the new OS, is perhaps the most radical OS update in years thanks to more than 250 new features including Multi-touch gestures, system-wide support for full screen apps and resume, which brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your computer or quit and relaunch a program.

Multi-touch gestures, adopted from much of what Apple has learned from its development of the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad is the most notable new interface change. It allows users to control what's on the screen by with intuitive gestures on your trackpad. For example, when you scroll down on your trackpad or Magic Mouse, your document scrolls down. When you scroll up, your web page scrolls up. When you swipe left, your photos move left.

System wide support for full-screen apps means that any app can be expanded to take up every pixel on your display. When a program takes up a full screen, gestures allow you move between them by swiping three fingers left or right on the trackpad.

Other notable features include: 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 sets up a peer-to-peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy.

Early review of Mac Lion are generally very positive. Popular tech writer Walt Mossberg says it "gives the Mac a much more modern look and feel for a world of tablets and smartphones", however, he does caution that the new look and feel is a big leap which will be a major adjustment, even for veteran Mac Users.

The Mac OS X Lion upgrade is now available as a 4GB download from the Mac App store for $29.99 in both Canada and the United States. In order to upgrade, Mac users must first have Mac OS X version 10.6.6 Snow Leopard installed on their system.

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