∞ Lion Server to be included with core Mac OS X Lion

When Mac OS X “Lion” debuts this summer, it will include something that, up to now, has cost Mac IT departments $499 extra: Mac OS X Server. The Loop has confirmed with Apple that Lion Server indeed will be included with the core operating system.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]”Lion Server is now part of Mac OS X Lion,” says Apple on a new splash page outlining many of the features of the forthcoming operating system.

With Mac OS X Server heretofore mainly the domain of IT staff, Apple is taking a seemingly more democratic approach with Lion Server. “It’s easy to set up your Mac as a server and take advantage of the many services Lion Server has to offer,” reads the text.

Features of the new Lion Server include easier Mac server setup, providing local and remote administration for users and groups, push notifications, Time Machine backups, Virtual Private Network (VPN) settings, and more. The new software will also enable users to manage profiles for Macs, iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices; includes Wiki Server 3 collaboration software; and wireless file sharing on the iPad using WebDAV and applications such as Apple’s iWork suite – Keynote, Numbers and Pages.

Apple on Thursday introduced a “Developer Preview” release of Mac OS X Lion, to assist registered Apple developers that are making apps for the new operating system.