Apple is just full of surprises aren’t they?
Apple announced and released the developer preview of the next Mac OS X, version 10.8 “Mountain Lion“. This unveiling of the new OS comes just 7 months after the release of the OS X 10.7 “Lion”. Initial reports expect the Mountain Lion be a relatively minor upgrade, much like the jump from OS X 10.5 Leopard to 10.6 Snow Leopard - notice the naming scheme? That said, the Mountain Lion, according to Apple’s Press Release on Thursday notes that over 100 new features will be included with the latest version of the cat.
The version announced is the Developer Preview version so the rest of us will have to wait until the summer to get our hands on the latest upgrade. Venture Beat notes that “for the most part, the new OS looks the same, but it also includes apps that first appeared on iOS, deeper integration with iCloud, as well as the Notification Center and Game Center from iOS.”
Apple plans on a deeper integration with iCloud to combine all the Apple products together. Once you sign in with your Apple ID on any/all Mac devices that you own, iCloud automatically kicks in to set up all your accounts – no need to configure your mail, calendars, contacts, documents, and more. Also whatever you add, delete, or edit something on any of the Mac devices, iCloud will synchronize the changes across your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch…yes, “Boom” indeed. (#ImissSteveJobs)
Farewell iChat, Hello Messages! iChat will be replaced with Messages – another move towards integrating OS X with iOS – and will include iMessage among other new features. iMessage will allow Mac users to send unlimited messages to and from anyone on a Mac, iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 5. Messages are always in sync, so you can start a conversation on the iPhone and continue it on your Mac.
Apple actually released a Beta version of Messages for you to try! Check out the official page to download.
Reminders and Notes
Just like on the iOS, Reminders and Notes will be on your Mac. Again, with iCloud, whatever you jot down on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch will be reflected on your Mac, and vice versa.
Is it a farewell to our current favorite notification app, Growl? Notification Center comes to Mountain Lion, looking very similar and helpful to the clone on the iOS. Just like on your iPhone, clicking on the Notification will launch the respective program.
Mountain Lion will feature a familiar sharing feature – Apple calls it “Share Sheets” – we may know it as a simple “Share” function on our iPhones. Share Sheets will allow the user to share contents via Email, Message and Twitter…which brings us to our next feature showcase – Twitter, everywhere and anywhere.
Twitter, everywhere and anywhere!
Similar to iOS, Twitter comes to Mountain Lion with native support. You’re able to tweet pretty much anything from anywhere, pretty much exactly how we’ve been doing from our iOS devices. “Share” option is built-in to most of the Apple apps and replies and mentions will appear on the desktop as notifications.
Game Center visits us from iOS – it brings leaderboards, game discovery from friends and even multiplayer gameplay. Yep, multiplayer and again, yes, you can hand your friend an iPad to play a game with you on a Mac. Apple will be releasing a Game Kit tool to help developers integrate the multiplayer-multiplatform gameplay for their games.
AirPlay comes to your Mac as well with Mountain Lion. With Apple TV, you will be able to stream a mirror image of your screen onto your HDTV. No cables, no hassle. Just enable it and Boom.
As the name suggests, Gatekeeper does…well pretty much exactly what you imagined – it’s Apple’s new way to protect your Mac from malware. Gatekeeper allows you to choose from 3 Security Options:
- Download and run applications from anywhere, just like OS X Lion
- Download and run applications from the Mac App Store and apps with a Developer ID
- Download and run only apps from the Mac App Store
Despite the recent iPad trademark legal battles, Apple is not ready to give up on China. The market in China is obviously huge and Apple seems to want to make the platform as Sino-friendly as possible. Mail, Contacts, and Calendar on Mountain Lion comes with a native compatibility with some of the top Chinese online services, such as QQ, 163, and 126. Also Baidu comes as a built-in option with Safari along with added compatibility on Share Sheets with video-sharing websites such as Youku and Tudou.
So there you have it. All things included with this Developer’s Preview of OS X Mountain Lion. What do you think about these changes? I’m personally pretty excited about the Notification Center, although I do have Growl running on my Macbook Air. We’ll see more when summer rolls around and we get to play around with our own Mountain Lion!
- Slideshow: Mountain Lion’s new features (macworld.com)
- Why Apple Dropped “Mac” From OS X Mountain Lion [Opinion] (cultofmac.com)
- With iMessage & notifications, OS X Mountain Lion looks more like iOS (gigaom.com)
- Tim Cook discusses Mountain Lion with the Wall Street Journal (tuaw.com)
- OS X Mountain Lion: 5 Most Exciting New Features (wired.com)
- Apple Announces OS X Mountain Lion For Mac Desktops (wired.com)
- With Mountain Lion, OS X Prowls Closer To iOS (techcrunch.com)
- What’s in a name with Mountain Lion apps (macworld.com)
- Apple’s Mountain Lion Gets Ready to Roar (beta.fool.com)
- Next version of OS X to be more iOS-like than ever with Mountain Lion (arstechnica.com)