Published on February 16th, 2012 | by Ramon Trotman1
OS X Mountain Lion [ Apple’s Latest Mac OS Version ]
Not to be buried by the hype beast that is Windows 8, Apple quietly outs a developer preview build of their up coming Mac OS. Mountain Lion is the new ridiculous name and with it comes a many great revelations into Apple’s desktop strategy. Hint: iOS is still very much the front runner and grand daddy of features.
With Apple’s last iteration of Mac OS, iOS influenced features like Mission Control and Launchpad stole the show. It was clear to see Apple had already banked huge on iOS and saw great value in porting mobile features and architecture over to the desktop. In Mountain Lion, this trend is very much alive! In fact, all of Mountain Lion’s main features are ported from iOS.
The first and arguably the biggest feature is the inclusion of Notification Center. If you are familiar with iOS 5, then you already know what to expect, it’s the same thing. This is actually a really good thing. Notification Center sits off to the right of the screen and can be invoked by a new target like icon sitting where spotlight use to be. It captures all occurrences from apps and much like iOS will feature APIs to allow developers to use the system as well.
Second is iCloud. Apple has worked hard to roll out iCloud and now you’ll be seeing it pay off. You’ll be asked to sign in to iCloud from early in the installation process, this ensures all you data (docs, pictures, music, ect.) is available on setup. The end result is unification of your data if you are vested in the Apple echo system. You will not have all data on your iPad, iPhone and now Mac.
Next up is Messages. iChat as been parading around on the Mac for a while now, and while it was useful, it was still no big deal. Apple is now canning iChat for it’s latest Messaging app seen in iOS 5. Same exact app, except its built in and will not be called iMessage.
The share button seen in iOS will now be baked in, as well as the twitter integration. Odly enough the integration stops at twitter, I wish they found a way to get Facebook involved.
Game center will also make its way to Mountain Lion. Although not available in the dev preview, Apple made it known it will work the exact same way it does on iOS. You can also expect cross platform gaming between iPads, iPhones and Mountain Lion. AirPlay Mirroring makes an appearance as well. You’ll be able to stream your Mac screen to an Apple TV.
Other “not so big of a deal” features, but niceties to have include apps like Reminders, Notes and Calendar (replacing the old iCal.) They all function the exact same way they did on iOS 5. A new security attempt called Gatekeeper, which will now insure apps are trusted via certificates. And lastly a whole host of Chinese support, including some popular social networking integration.
Over all, Mountain Lion does have a few great additions, but not much on the innovation side. Perhaps if iOS as a platform never existed, this would have been a much bigger deal. Apple’s direction of mobile to desktop delivery is an interesting one, one I think has its perks; but it will not be enough to subdue the wake of Windows 8. Of course, ask any Mac fan about all of the above, and they’ll tell you this is the best thing since they figured out how to slice bread. But never mind that, I’ll let you tell it! Look for production release at the Apple store later this year.