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Apple says Mac OS X Lion downloads top 1 million in first day

Apple on Thursday announced that downloads of Lion, its latest upgrade to the Mac OS X operating system, exceeded one million in its first day of availability on the Mac App Store.

Those numbers put Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X, off to the fastest start of any operating system in Apple history.

"Lion is off to a great start, user reviews and industry reaction have been fantastic," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Lion is a huge step forward, it’s not only packed with innovative features but it’s incredibly easy for users to update their Macs to the best OS we’ve ever made."

The performances of Apple's operating system releases continue to improve over the years, with this week's launch of Lion representing a new personal best for Apple. In 2009, the debut of Snow Leopard doubled the efforts of its predecessor, Leopard. Like Snow Leopard, Lion carries a low $29.99 upgrade price.

Lion launched on Wednesday and is available exclusively through the Mac App Store for $29.99. It is the first operating system that Apple has not offered on any sort of physical medium, as users can only download it with an Apple ID account, though it will become available on a USB thumb drive for $69 in August.

Lion boasts more than 250 new features, including new Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control to view everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store; Launchpad, an iPad-like home screen for apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app. Other major features include:

  • Resume: brings apps back exactly how they were left when restarting a Mac or quitting and relaunching an app
  • Auto Save: automatically and continuously saves documents as you work
  • Versions: automatically records the history of a document as it is created, and gives an easy way to browse, revert and even copy and paste from previous versions;
  • AirDrop: finds nearby Macs and automatically sets up a peer-to-peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy.

Initial impressions from the mainstream media have been extremely positive, with tech journalists at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today giving the latest version of Mac OS X high marks.