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.