Apple has today launched its latest operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. The reference to the high altitude big cat is pretty irrelevant, but what isn't irrelevant are the steps that Apple has made towards creating an Mac OS that is more integrated with its mobile devices, such as the iPad and iPhone. See also: Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion review
OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 is not quite the one size fits all operating system to work across desktops, laptops and mobile devices like Windows 8 promises to be, but it's a big step in the right direction. Visit Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion for £13.99
Apple describes OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion as an operating system that makes 'the Mac, iPad and iPhone work even better together'. The new OS comes with over 200 new features. See also: Mountain Lion features you may have missed.
Here's exactly what you need to know about OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion:
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: iCloud
iCloud now comes built in with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. You sign in once with your Apple ID on your Mac and iOS device(s) and iCloud will keep your mail, contacts, calendars, reminders and notes automatically up-to-date on all your devices.
In Apple's OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion promo video, the tech giant boasted that when you make a change to a document stored in the cloud, iCloud will update it on all your devices - which is a solid feature, albeit pretty standard practice with cloud storage.
Safari has been integrated with iCloud now too. Your search history, most visited sites and bookmarks will now be compiled and synced to all your Apple devices that access iCloud.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Social
Facebook and Twitter are now fully integrated on the Mac just like they are on iOS devices. Sign in once and you can share content from any Mac app that features a share button. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion also features added social interaction with other social communities such as, Vimeo, Flicker and Yahoo.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Messages
iMessage also comes to the Mac in the form of an app simply called Messages. This app lets you send an uncapped amount of messages from your Mac via the internet, to anyone using an iPhone, iPad, iPod or even another OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac.
Messages isn't limited to just sending text to other compatible Apple devices, you can also send contacts, photos and HD video - it's pretty much just a MMS service for Apple.
There's an added bonus for the new Messages service and this is that you can start a conversation with someone on your iPhone and then pick it up and carry it on seamlessly, using either your iPad or Mac.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Notification Centre
The notification centre is a new way that Apple gives you "an elegant way to see the new stuff that pops up on your Mac". Pop-ups that it will notify you of include: new emails, messages, calendars alerts, system updates, reminders, twitter interactions and updates from third party apps of your choice.
In a refreshingly unannoying way, new notifications with appear in the same place on your desktop every time and only remain there for a short time before they disappear, leaving your desktop free from clutter.
Should you want to expand a notification, you simply click on the icon. Alternatively if you want to see a full list of your notifications you simply drag the right hand side of the screen to the left and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will reveal the Notification Centre.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Dictation
In a bit of a Siri spin-off type of way, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion boasts a new Dictation feature. In short you can click a button when emailing, using Message or simply word processing and Dictation will type everything you say.
The cool thing about Dictation is that it learns your voice and accent, and apparently will get better the more you use it. Not ideal for office environments, but a good feature if you're on your own and it's quiet…or if you're brave and don't mind talking to a computer in public.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Airplay Mirroring
Airplay Mirroring works with Apple TV to wireless mirror what's on your Mac to a connected TV screen. In layman's terms it'll basically just display whatever's on your Mac screen on your TV screen - it works with audio too.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Game Centre
Apple has now made the popular iOS Game Centre available on the Mac. This new feature enables you to play games socially against your friend whether they're on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPad.
To find out more about OS X 10.8 read our Apple OS X Mountain Lion review.
Like Lion, Mountain Lion offers numerous feature additions that will be familiar to iOS users. This OS X release continues Apple’s philosophy of bringing iOS features “back to the Mac”, and includes iMessage, Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Twitter integration, Game Center, and AirPlay Mirroring. Also see: Apple OS X Mountain Lion review.
So what exactly is different about Mountain Lion? Here's a few bite-size snippets and links to articles to help you find out more:
Mountain Lion: Hands on with Notification Center
By Jason Snell
Like its counterpart on iOS, this new service is called Notification Center. With Notification Center, Mac developers now have access to features much like those already found in iOS.
For years, many Mac app developers have had to design their own ways to get your attention. The open-source project Growl helped save those developers from reinventing the wheel by creating a more general notification system supported by lots of apps. But with Mountain Lion, a true systemwide notification service will finally arrive when the Mac OS X update ships this summer...
Mountain Lion: Messages replaces iChat, gets public beta
By Jason Snell
iChat is dead—long live Messages. With Thursday’s announcement of Mac OS X Mountain Lion comes the news that iChat is being upgraded and renamed to Messages, with support for the iMessage chat system introduced with iOS 5.
If you can’t wait until Mountain Lion arrives this summer to finally use iMessage with your Mac, relax—you don’t have to. On Thursday, Apple will also release a beta version of Messages for Lion users. (The final version will be available this summer when Mountain Lion ships.)
I’ve spent the past few days using Messages and Mountain Lion. Here’s a first look, keeping in mind that Mountain Lion won’t be released for months, so features are in flux and could change.
Mountain Lion: Hands on with Notes and Reminders
By Jason Snell
Two of the new iOS-flavored apps to move to the Mac with the release of Mountain Lion this summer are Notes and Reminders. Here’s a sneak peek at how they work.
As in its iOS incarnation, the Notes interface on the Mac is dominated by a yellow text-entry area that resembles a legal pad. There’s even a hint of torn paper at the top of the window, and yes, the app’s title bar offers a leather texture. The top right corner displays the date on which the note was last modified…
Reminders is an even more basic app than Notes. There’s a reminder window full of tasks you can add and check off. A collapse/expand button at the bottom left corner lets you toggle a sidebar that lets you navigate between lists and search. When the sidebar’s not visible, you can navigate between lists via a two-finger swipe on the Trackpad or by clicking on the tiny dots at the bottom of the Reminders window. Items sync via iCloud with the Reminders app on devices running iOS 5…
Mountain Lion: Hands on with Gatekeeper
By Jason Snell
Last year saw the arrival of the Apple-curated Mac App Store, a creation very much in the mold of the iOS App Store. And many people wondered: Would a locked-down version of Mac OS X, one incapable of running apps not approved by Apple, be far behind?
Apple certainly could have done something like that with Mountain Lion, the company’s planned update to Mac OS X that should arrive this summer. But it hasn’t—instead, the company has created a new way for developers to sign their work and a new set of options in the Security & Privacy preference pane. According to Apple, it’s all an attempt to improve Mac security. Here’s how the new Gatekeeper feature works.
Hands on with Apple's new OS X: Mountain Lion
By Jason Snell
Apple updates its iOS mobile operating system once a year. But why should the iPhone and iPad have all the fun? On Thursday Apple announced that it will release a new version of OS X—Mountain Lion—this summer, just a year after the release of OS X Lion.
Like Lion, Mountain Lion offers numerous feature additions that will be familiar to iOS users. This OS X release continues Apple’s philosophy of bringing iOS features “back to the Mac,” and includes iMessage, Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Twitter integration, Game Center, and AirPlay Mirroring.
As the first OS X release post-iCloud, there’s also much more thorough integration with Apple’s data-syncing service. Mountain Lion also brings options to limit which kinds of apps users can install. And although there are no actual mountain lions in China, OS X Mountain Lion does add a raft of features to speak to users in the country that’s Apple’s biggest growth opportunity…