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Mac OS X Lion out today, available from the Mac App Store

OS X Lion, the newest version of Apple's Mac OS X operating system is out today. The update is download-only, and will be available from the Mac App Store for £20.99.

Mac OS X Lion, the latest iteration of the Mac OS X operating system, will be released today.

We knew Lion would be stalking its way on to the Mac App Store at some point in July, but at an earnings call yesterday Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, revealed that it would be available today.

OS X Lion is an unusual update because it's download-only. You can buy and download it via the Mac App Store, but you won't find Apple selling it on a disk. If you do want to buy it, it costs £20.99, which we have to admit is impressively cheap. Once purchased, you'll be able to install it on all the machines you have registered to your Apple account.

To install, you'll need the latest version of OS X Snow Leopard (seriously, how did they get to snow leopard before lion?) and your Mac must have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor. That should cover every recent machine, but to make sure you're compatible, click 'About this Mac' from the Apple icon at the top left of your desktop, and check your processor there.

Lion takes inspiration from Apple's iOS mobile operating system and packs a host of new features, including the ability to swipe between running programs using multi-touch gestures, AirDrop for wirelessly transferring files to and from nearby Macs, and -- wait for it -- full-screen windows.

At the time of writing Apple's website still says, "Coming in July," but that will change at some point today. We'd recommend frantically hammering this link until the update goes live. Or if that sounds tedious, read up on Lion's key features ahead of its launch.

Are you keen on OS X Lion? And how do you feel about Apple making its updates download-only? Sound off in the comments, or on our Facebook page.