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Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview

- February 21st, 2012

MountainLIon WIndow

 

When Mac OS X Lion (10.7) was released just 7 months ago, it was quite evident that its update was greatly influenced by the advancement and the success of Apple iOS for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Last Thursday, Apple took a further step in that direction and then some, with a surprise developer preview release of OS X Mountain Lion, OSX’s 9th major release of the Apple Mac operating system.

iPad features move to Mac

With Mountain Lion, the Mac OS still retains its own identity but it’s looking a lot more like the iPad with newer features trickling “back” to the Mac platform.

iChat as we know it will be history. It’s being replaced with the Messages app, so like the iOS version it will allow you to send pics, videos and unlimited messages right from your desktop or MacBook to another iOS device or even another Mac.

Apple says that Messages will continue to support AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk.

Mountain Lion also gets Reminders and Notes that help you create and track your to-dos now across all your devices. As well, a pleasant surprise to die-hard gamers is that Game Center is coming along too!

Other movers include Notification Center that provides easy access to alerts from Apple, third-party apps and system updates. Share Sheets, which makes it easy to share links, photos and Twitter integration that will allow you to tweet from almost any app are also in the mix.

 

AirPlay Mirroring

I was extremely happy to see that AirPlay Mirroring is finally on the list as well. I had found it frustrating at times to get wirelessly on-line content which would inevitably end up being non iOS-friendly, via Apple TV to my HDTV, even from the iPad. Mirroring will make it that much easier.

iCloud Friendly OS

Another thing that will be easier to maintain is access to your important documents across your devices. Mountain Lion is the first iCloud friendly Mac OS release and through your Apple ID, it’ll be a cinch to setup and integrate with apps like Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. And of course, with iCloud, changes to those documents can also be pushed to those devices.

The preview of Mountain Lion also introduces a new security feature called Gatekeeper, giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac and likely an answer to the Mac Defender malware episode that we’re all trying to forget which caused some to install fake antivirus software on their Macs.

 

Enhanced Chinese User Support

Mountain Lion also has features specifically designed to support Chinese users, including significant enhancements to the Chinese input method and the option to select Baidu search in Safari.

Tons of new APIs will give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X and a new graphics infrastructure will make life easier when creating OpenGL apps. The bottom line is that we will likely be seeing more apps work across both Macs and IOS devices opening the doors for some really cool multiplayer games that work across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Preview for Developers 

Members of the Mac Developer Program get access to the preview release of Mountain Lion, which will add over 100 new features to the Mac OS right away. Common folk like us will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store likely in late summer 2012.

Users: Try Messages Today!

But there is good news. If you are running Mac OS X Lion, you can download and try a beta of Messages right now from www.apple.ca, with the final version being available with the un-caging of Mountain Lion.

I suspect it will be a pay upgrade, with the price yet to be determined.

But before you get too excited, best to check if you’ll be able to tame the Mountain Lion, TUAW has an updated list – which will likely change by the time of the final release of Macs that will be supported and some that won’t. The list may surprise you.

The only challenge with the end of Summer is that we know that falling leaves and blustery days are around the corner, but hopefully at the end of this Summer, the Mountain Lion will bring to us just a little more sunshine.

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.

 

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1 comment

  1. NorfolkDirectory | March 12, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Excellent!

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