Here we are, seven months after the release of OS X Lion, we’ve had a new iPhone, an event around education, Apple topping $500, and a grand number of rumours around the iPad (and iPhone 5). But today Apple brings the focus back to the Mac.
It’s nice to have a surprise from Apple. The only hint we’ve really had regarding today’s announcement is the rumblings of an “Unusual” event to be held in February. Although it’s not a keynote event, it’s far from the usual. This quote from Daring Fireball caught my eye (please read Gruber’s write up, it’s a microcosm of everything Apple stands for: Perfection, no matter the audience.)
“But this, I say, waving around at the room, this feels a little odd. I’m getting the presentation from an Apple announcement event without the event… That’s when Schiller tells me they’re doing some things differently now.”
Whatever that ‘now’ represents, there’s no denying that Apple are refusing to take their foot off the gas, they are powering forward, And this announcement shows it.
The most dramatic change Mountain Lion represents is bringing OS X updates at the same pace as iOS: Apple says it’ll be issuing yearly updates from now on. They’re not stopping there with the iOS parallels, Mountain Lion brings a slew of iOS features back to the Mac (or Just OS X as Apple have now officially dropped the “Mac” moniker for the operating system.)
Let’s take a glance at the new features:
Finally. OS X gets the full iCloud treatment. Simply login to iCloud on your Mac and right away iCloud keeps mail, calendars, contacts, documents, and more up to date on every device you use. So when you add, delete, or edit something on your Mac, it happens on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. And vice versa.
The documents in the iCloud feature is something I’ve been moaning about for a while. You can now save files directly to iCloud, When you edit a document, the changes appear across all your devices. There’s even a new iOS-esque save dialog
iOSification of Apps
So long iChat, hello Messages! The messages app replaces iChat, it includes iMessage, And just like iMessage in iOS, it lets you send unlimited messages to anyone on a Mac or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5. Send photos, videos, documents, and contacts.
Reminders, the todo list introduced in iOS5 makes it’s way into OS X along with a dedicated Notes app. The user interface is familiar if you’ve used the iOS apps.
Twitter & Share Sheets
As with iOS 5, OS X 10.8 brings Twitter integration. As with iOS you can share links, photo’s and your musings with the Tweet sheet. Which is a good segue into the new share sheets. These are similar in function to the tweet sheet but include other services to share to: Vimeo for Video (I Wonder how Google feel about that?) and Flickr. With Twitter, When you get a mention or a direct message, a Twitter notification appears in….
A unified notification centre for OS X is probably as big for me as the release of notification centre for iOS (even if I do love Growl). Notification banners appear on your desktop and disappear quickly (much like in iOS) so they don’t interrupt what you’re doing. To access notification centre, Swipe to the left, and you’ll see all your notifications in a simple, ordered list. This gesture interests me the most. You have to swipe from the right side of the trackpad to the left and vice versa to hide, there’s no keyboard shortcut it’s either the gesture or clicking the menubar icon.
Finally! What an awesome way to ensure Apple will dominate in the boardroom as well as the living room. No more having to connect to a VGA screen, no more cables. With an Apple TV you can live mirror your Mac straight to your HD TV.
Head to Head gaming between, iOS devices and Mountain Lion devices. I’m wondering if this will shed the bad name Apple has for gaming. The Game Centre app looks and feels just like the iOS Game Centre app, with friends, finding multiplayer opponents, leaderboards, achievements, and now in-game voice chat on OS X.
On paper this seems like a good idea, it all makes perfect sense. Gatekeeper is a system for developers to sign up to free-of-charge:“Apple developer IDs” which they can then use to sign their applications.
If an app is found to be malware, Apple can revoke that developer’s certificate, rendering the app (along with any others from the same developer) inert on any Mac where it’s been installed. In effect, it offers all the security benefits of the App Store, except for the process of approving apps by Apple. Users have three choices which type of apps can run on Mountain Lion:
- Only those from the App Store
- Only those from the App Store or which are signed by a developer ID
- Any app, whether signed or unsigned
For consumers this is probably the most sensible thing that can happen, ensuring your system is secure and malware free. But I daresay developers will be less welcoming.
Mountain Lion represents Apple’s view on the Post PC era. Microsoft are keen on creating a unified OS that works on a PC, Tablet and mobile device. This quote from Gruber sums it up perfectly:
“Apple sees a fundamental difference between software for the keyboard-and-mouse-pointer Mac and that for the touchscreen iPad. Mountain Lion is not a step towards a single OS that powers both the Mac and iPad, but rather another in a series of steps toward defining a set of shared concepts, styles, and principles between two fundamentally distinct OSes.”
Apple haven’t released a price for Mountain Lion, but we do know that it will only be available through the Mac App Store only, no USB sticks this time around. We also have a vague release date of ‘late summer’. As a first developer preview Mountain Lion, it’s received favourable reviews at the moment, I for one will be interested in how it will progress.
How do you feel about the new features?