Apple unveils OS X 10.8 'Mountain Lion' to developers

Lots of iOS 5 features make it into Mac OS X.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Image credit: Apple

Seven short months following the release of Mac OS X 10.7 'Lion,' Apple is today unveiling the next generation Mac OS X to developers - 10.8 'Mountain Lion.'

I've only had a brief look at the early release but I can tell you that there's a lot of cool stuff in it, and a lot of the best features are ones that have been ported over from iOS 5:

Name change Apple has confirmed that from 10.8 onwards the 'Mac' name will be dropped and the OS will be called 'OS X'. Also, according to Apple, the preferred name for the release is 'OS X Mountain Lion'

Messages Basically replaced iChat, brings with it iMessage integration into the OS. Support for attachments up to 100MB, as well as iChat supported services such as AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, and Jabber.

There's a public beta version of messages available for Lion users over on the Apple website. More details here.

iCloud Full iCloud integration, including support for Finder so you can find files stored in the cloud.

Reminders iOS 5 users will recognize this new feature. Share reminders between your Mac and iOS devices. Also share them via email or Message with others.

Notes Another iOS 5 feature that makes it into Mac. Again, full sync support and the ability to share via email or Message.

Notification Center Again, bringing cool features from iOS into Mac OS X. Push notifications remind you of emails, appointments and reminders.

Twitter Get to Twitter without needing to install an app.

Game Center Finally Apple acknowledges gaming and integrates the iOS Game Center into the Mac OS so you can keep track of your scores (and those of your friends) when you play a Game Center enabled App Store game.

Gatekeeper Antivirus technology comes to Mac OS X in the form of Gatekeeper. Not much information of this right now, other than it seems to involve Mac App Store devs signing code and users having granular control over what's installed. It's certainly a step in the right direction.

More information on Gatekeeper here.

Image credit: Apple

First impressions - Mountain Lion is to Lion what Snow Leopard was to Leopard. It's an evolutionary step forward, rather than a revolutionary leap. However, it seems that Apple is learning a lot from iOS and has been busy integrating these features into OS X.

This makes it a value-add for those who own both iOS and OS X hardware because the data on your iPhone or iPad is no longer confined to your mobile device. This is Apple's insurance policy against the Mac becoming a victim of the post-PC world that iOS devices help to create.


Want to get your hands on this code? Well, if you are a registered developer with Apple you can grab it today;otherwise you're going to have to wait until the summer when it's expected to be released to the public.

No word on pricing, but I'd expect it to be priced along the same lines as 'Lion'; something in the region of $29 for installation on up to 5 systems.

Image credit: Apple.


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