The beta software, labeled Mac OS X Lion Developer Preview 2 and carrying build number 11A419, is available to registered developers through the Mac App Store after requesting a redemption code.
It was accompanied by Mac OS X Lion Server Developer Preview 2, also carrying the same build number, as well as Xcode 4.1 Developer Preview 2 -- a pre-release version of the Mac OS X development environment provided by Apple.
Contrary to recent reports published by TechCrunch, however, the new builds are not Gold Master candidate status and instead contain roughly a dozen known issues each.
For instance, Apple reportedly told developers that Thunderbolt devices are not fully supported, users with NTFS volumes (such as BootCamp) may experience a panic during reboot or shut down and videos purchased from the iTunes Store will not play on early 2011 MacBook Pro models.
Apple also reportedly warned developers that the new Recovery HD feature in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will not be created on unsupported partition schemes and that iPhoto 9 will crash when users try to create a book, card or calendar from an event or album, and when clicking a photo's info button.
People familiar with the matter report that known issues with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server include: installation problems when using local or caching Software Update, new sharepoints not inheriting group permissions and support for just Safari when using Wiki Server and Profile Manager. Additionally, Lion Server does not yet include support for Podcast Producer Server, NetBoot/NetRestore from install source, and booting into a NetRestore.
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will be the eighth major release of Apple's flagship operating system. The Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker unveiled the upgrade in October of last year at the Back to the Mac event. The first developer preview was released in late February and contained several previously undisclosed features, including AirDrop and FileVault.
Last month, security researchers reported being invited by Apple to examine Mac OS X 10.7 for security flaws in an unprecedented move by the company.
Earlier this week, Apple announced it would be showing "off a preview of the future" of Mac OS X at its Worldwide Developer Conference June 6-10 in San Francisco's Moscone West just over two months from now.
Rumors suggest that the event will focus on software (including Apple's new mobile iOS 5, which has not yet been publicly announced), rather than being a "hardware event."
Tickets to WWDC sold out the day they went on sale. The event is limited to the capacity of the Moscone West building, and the constraints of making around 1,000 Apple engineers available to developers and presenting more than 100 technical sessions during the week-long event.
For more information on new features in the forthcoming update, see AppleInsider's Inside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion series.