Last night I received a tip from a reliable source that Apple would be releasing something called "Mountain Lion" today. Low and behold, a select group of journalists got advanced previews and demos of Apple's forthcoming Mac OS upgrade -- Mac OS 10.8 -- about a week ago during stealth meetings in a New York hotel.
Previously rumored to be called "Cougar" or "Lynx" Mac OS 10.8 "Mountain Lion" appears complete the iOS-ification of the Mac OS.
According to CNET's Josh Lowensohn the major update to the Mac OS includes:
iCloud integration. iCloud is now present in all open and save dialogs. You have the open to open and save locally or to the cloud. The benefit of iCloud is that you can roundtrip documents on iOS and Mac OS and everything's in sync.
Messages, Reminders, and Notes. Three apps that were introduced in iOS 5 are now native Mac OS apps and they look and act the same way. Everything will stay in sync via, you guessed it, iCloud. Messages is available today as a public beta today for Mac OS 10.7 Lion.
Notification Center. One of the best features of iOS 5 is coming to your Mac desktop. Notification Center will arrive as a spiffy sidebar on the right side of the Mac OS desktop and look and act just like it's iOS counterpart. Growl just got whacked.
Game Center. This new Mac OS app is another direct port from iOS. It shows your full catalog of games and your friends. You can also view and launch games, view achievements and leaderboards.
Standardized naming convention. In addition to iChat morphing into Messages, iCal has been re-named Calendar; Address Book is now Contacts.
Apple has posted a press release noting that the Mountain Lion Developer Preview has 100 new features and that it will ship in "late summer."
Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay® Mirroring. Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud® in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a revolutionary security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac. The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store™ in late summer 2012.
The Mountain Lion Developer Preview is available now to registered Mac Developers and is a 3.7GB download. The build number is 12A128p. Like Mac OS 10.7 Lion before it, Mountain Lion is being distributed exclusively through a code that can be redeem via the Mac App Store.
One interesting wrinkle is that you must have a recovery partition on your Mac, otherwise you won't be able to download the Mountain Lion DP.