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Apple releases Mac OS X Lion developer preview

The preview is now available to members of Apple's Mac Developer Program, giving them time to create programs that tap Lion's new features ahead of its arrival in the summer.

Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Amid the flurry of news surrounding Apple's updated line of MacBook Pros, the company also announced today that it's one step closer to launching Mac OS X Lion.

Starting today, software developers will be able to get their hands on Mac OS X Lion. The developer preview is available to members of Apple's Mac Developer Program, and will give folks time to create programs that take advantage of Mac OS X Lion's new features before it hits store shelves.

Apple first announced Mac OS X Lion last year. The next version of Apple's operating system will deliver several new features, including Mission Control, which shows what's running on a given Mac, and Launchpad, which displays the user's many apps to help them find what they want to boot up. Apple says that Mac OS X Lion "takes some of the best ideas from iPad and brings them back to the Mac."

Mac OS X Lion will also come with support for Apple's Mac App Store. That marketplace launched last month to Mac OS X Snow Leopard users. Those running previous versions of Apple's operating system aren't able to access the App Store.

Mac OS X Lion is expected to launch this summer.