In Short

OS X 10.7 Lion was introduced in 2011. OS X Lion saw more than 250 new features added including new multi-touch gestures, system-wide support for full-screen apps, Mission Control, Launchpad and a redesigned Mail app. OS X Lion is also the first Mac operating system to include the Mac App Store from the start.

Apple released OS X 10.7 Lion in July, 2011. It was the eighth major release of OS X.

Apple first previewed Lion at a special event it called "Back to the Mac." The event's theme heralded Apple's strategy with Lion: to integrate technology and user experience elements the company had previously developed for use in iOS. In total, Apple introduced 250 new or changed features in Lion.

Lion would be the last OS X upgrade that Apple distributed on physical media. Initially, the only way to get it was to download a Lion installer from the Mac App Store for $29.99. Within a few weeks Apple offered a $69 USB flash drive as an option for users unable or unwilling to download the software. Subsequent releases like Mountain Lion and Mavericks have been download-only.

iOS-style innovations introduced in Lion include support for fullscreen apps and multitouch gestures on trackpads and Apple's Magic Mouse. Lion also introduced Mission Control, the unified interface for controlling the Dashboard, Finder windows and individual applications. Launchpad was also introduced, a new app that made it easier to find applications installed on the Mac.

iCal, Address Book, Safari and other core applications gained interface refinements and new features. QuickTime incorporated elements of the previously-available pay-to-play QuickTime Pro,

Other new features included the introduction of AirDrop, a peer-to-peer file-sharing technology that enables Mac users to exchange files over local Wi-Fi connections. FileVault disk encryption was strengthened with FileVault 2. And Lion also saw the introduction of Recovery Partition, a portion of the hard disk allocated for disk repair and system recovery tools.

Lion was also the first version of OS X to integrate the Mac App Store from the start — the Mac App Store made its debut after Snow Leopard's release.