Today Apple released a developer preview of the next major release of its operating system named Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
You can get a look at one of the significant new features to preview if you download the beta version of Messages. From those who have had a look, Apple will mostly be enhancing what’s already there instead of revolutionizing the desktop and laptop operating system. Look for that in a couple of years with a version 11, or OS IX, maybe. For now the theme of Mountain Lion is iOS on your computer. Most of these enhancements bring many of the new features of iOS 5 to Mac OS X.
Let me show you what’s coming and check out the preview video from Apple.
Video Preview of OS X Mountain Lion
In this video from Apple, we learn more about how OS X Mountain Lion will bring more of iOS to your Mac. This includes Messages, Reminders, Notes and a unified Notification Center on the Mac.
You will get a deeper integration of iCloud into the OS. Upon setup it will ask you to either sign in or create a new account. If you have iCloud set up already, it will merge the local information with that of your iCloud content. In the future this will speed up setting up your new Mac. It will download things like contacts, email, calendars, reminders and the like. I hope they add back settings and include permanent storage of images. Right now iCloud only keeps images for a couple of months.
For a teacher and presenter, this alone might be worth the upgrade. The ability to stream your displayed content wirelessly to an Apple TV will be a boon to those who do presentations of any kind. You will also be able to use your Mac to play games on a big screen and you will be able to send movies from your iTunes account to your projector or TV.
Messages hit when iOS 5 shipped on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It means to replace regular text messaging and now allows you to interact with users via your Mac once you get Mountain Lion. You will be able to start conversing with a friend via your Mac and then move over to your iOS device. See more about this in our post about Messages for Mac.
Reminders serves as your hub for To Do lists and lets you know about important things you need to remember. Create a simple To Do list or add visual and audible notifications to a reminder. You can also prioritize the reminders. I’m looking forward to this since I am at my computer a lot of my day. I like the ability to sync with my iPhone or iPad.
The third iOS app to graduate into iOS will be Notes. It looks like a legal pad and lets you create multiple notes listed along the left. You can add text, links and images to a note and they will all sync with your iOS devices.
The iOS-ification of OS X continues with a big-boy version of Notifications, the new drop down list form iOS that now shows up on the computer too. instead of coming from the top down it comes from the right.
If you use Growl for your Mac, then you might not have to anymore with Notification Center coming. It will include all the OS notifications, like new email, reminders, appointments from your calendar and more. It shows up in the menu bar at the far right as a circle with a dot in the center. Click it to see your notifications sliding out from the right of the screen. When you get a message the menu bar icon lights up with a blue glow and lets you know about it. Click it to see center move over from the right show a new window listing all the notices. With your track pad you can do a two-finger swipe from the right edge inward mimicking the swipe down on iOS.
You know how you can share items in iOS with other applications, like sharing images via Twitter or opening a link in Safari, thanks to the share button – the square with the little arrow in it? It’s coming to OS X via Share Sheets. A new icon in Safari will let you share a link of the current page to Twitter. Share a file with other computers on the network via Air Drop. Expect an API letting developers add themselves to the list of recipients for sharing items. I just hope they also let you control what goes in the list so it doesn’t get over populated with too many apps.
Like IOS 5 Twitter integration will come to OS X. Sign into your account and it will show up in many places, like the above mentioned Share Sheets and in other places.
While not in the current developer preview, Mountain Lion will include Game Center in a future release letting you interact and brag about your gaming prowess with others. Could we see the ability to play a game on your iOS device and continue it on your desktop via Game Center syncing?
Apple adds more security with a new feature called Gatekeeper. This will let Apple vet the web for you. An app developer will get a certificate that she can include in her app and it will tell the OS that the app is safe to install even if it doesn’t come from the Mac App Store. If a problem exists, Apple will be able to trace it back to the developer. Call it a kind of “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval:” for non-Mac App Store apps.