Mac OSX 10.8, Mountain Lion announced!
Completely out of the blue Apple released the developer preview of Mac OSX Mountain Lion. This surprise announcement is still a mystery to most people; this is the first time Apple has just plain released something with no build up what so ever, strange huh? Anyway the latest update promises improvements to Lion, in a Snow Leopard esq format. I’m sure you’ll notice a theme soon! Furthermore I think I should work for Apple, as I suggested the name Mountain Lion months ago!
- Notification Center; after being released on iOS, the latest version has come to Mac with an open API for developers. This of
course will replace poor old Growl which has been pocketing off of Mac’s non standard notifications. It can be accessed by swiping left across the trackpad with two fingers. It looks great and works great, a great addition to Mac OSX.
- Messages; A new messages app has appeared in Mountain Lion, sporting a connection to iMessage services, all messages now are synced across the cloud to all devices, never leaving your short of conversation. Furthermore Facetime has been integrated well into the app sporting the usual array of fluidity associated with Apple software. Bug Fixes, probably one of the problems with Lion was the amount of bugs, although most ahs been ironed out now, the change in name will surely bring back some non-Lion believers. When lion first came out I got a lot fo stick for saying it was Apple’s version of Vista, obviously this was hyperbole but it held true to some extent. If Lion was Vista than this makes Mountain Lion, Windows 7, which was arguably the best ever MS OS; if the same improvement is shown here, then this will be the platform to beat!
- AirPlay mirroring; you know that Apple TV which you bought but never used, because as Apple put it, “it was a hobby”, well know you can turn your plasma into a Mac, with Airplay mirroring perfect for showing home movies, photos, and even streaming videos off of iPlayer and its contemporaries. Extremely useful but only if you’ve got an Apple TV.
- Game Center; the Apple version of XBL, with Microsoft bring XBL to Windows 8 this year it seems as though Apple had to respond. They DID, this advancement allows cross platform gaming ona level never seen before, from iPad to iPhone to iMac, they can all play up against each other in the same race online. It was demoed by Apple using Real Racing 2, combined with Apple TV mirroring this could be a killer point to buy a
Mac. The App Store as well is full of thousands of Games which will soon be available across all platforms, the second coming for PC gaming? We can’t say yet, but one thing is for sure, with Steam, Onlive and Game Center, Mac OSX is a valid choice for the modern gamer.
- iCloud; you knew this was coming sometime, and it has. iCloud is now available on all Macs running Lion but this takes it to the next stage with increased file sharing capability as well as more supported applications there is no way that Apple was going leave this out. Yet another way to get those iPhone, iPod or iPad users buying Macs, and from Apple’ recent figures it seems to be working. With some figures stating the Macs now have over 30% market share in some countries this method is nothing to be ignored.
- More iOS stuff coming to Mac, and in a good way! Reminders, notes, Calendar, and even sharing features are coming to OSX, sporting Mac adapted UIs with unique and great features, these sure are great additions to the OS. However as many have pointed out these are basically carbon copies of the iPad versions now further suggesting Apple’s unification motive.
The sharing features are probably most important offering one click sharing to twitter, Facebook and a variety of other services allowing the user to further communicate and share their online, and offline, lives.
So the what’s the verdict?
This is clearly a minor upgrade, but still carries some heft to it. This although minor is definitely a must upgrade upgrade. In fact this is more of a must than LIon was, this is the first version of OSX which properly integrates all of Apple’s services into its hub device. Frankly were surprised how soon this come, but Apple have announced that they are going to update OSX more often, to the same extent as iOS. Good news for some bad news for others. Unfortunately this is going to be a paid update when it comes out in the Summer, probably somewhere around the £20 mark, nothing when compared to Windows 8′s £100 upgrade price, but considering how often these updates are going to come out it may be worth thinking about which updates you can skip, this though is not one of them!