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Apple may introduce user interface overhaul in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

A new report shows that Apple has recently stepped up internal testing of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and also hints that the forthcoming operating system update could feature a new user interface design the next time it is publicly shown.

With Lion set to launch this summer, TechCrunch reported Wednesday that the appearance of machines on its tracking logs running an internal beta of the operating system has seen a "surge of usage in recent weeks." Appearances of Mac OS X 10.7 reportedly peaked in late August and early September of 2010, but fell off a bit until recently, suggesting that Apple is engaged in full-scale internal testing of the operating system update.

The report from author MG Siegler also hinted that Apple may have "a few surprises" up its sleeve with respect to Lion.

"One of these is a much-anticipated UI overhaul," the report reads. "But that means that developers are going to need to be ready when it rolls out. And along those lines, we're hearing that a developer beta should begin soon."

Apple first showed of Mac OS X 10.7 last October in a live demonstration. The "Back to the Mac" event was given its name because Apple is bringing certain features from its iOS mobile operating system to the Mac platform.

Systems running Mac OS X 10.7 Lion as tracked online by TechCrunch.

Lion will introduce new multi-touch gestures and application home screens, much like on the iPhone and iPad. It will also feature the ability to run applications in full-screen, as well as automatic saving and resuming of the software's status.

Another major feature is the Mac App Store, which was first introduced to Lion's predecessor, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, in early January. Like its iOS counterpart, the Mac App Store allows users to purchase and download software, and manage and update their applications.