CUPERTINO: Apple today announced the next version of its Apple OS X — OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It’s available to developers now and due for final release this summer. Here are five changes to expect, a few more details and how you can beta test a new feature — Messages — for free.
With 100 new features Apple on the docket, the big theme is that the new version will be more like Apple iOS, the mobile OS that powers the Apple iPhone and iPad.
You see that clearly in a new feature it calls Notes, which is the first big change I’ll mention.
Notes, Apple reps say, is a standalone iOS app but now will be built into Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. (The current version is OS X 10.7.3 Lion). Check out a vendor-provided shot of Notes below.
Image Credit: Apple (screenshot)
Secondly, there is another iOS app that is getting feature status in the new OS– Reminders.
Both of the above, according to Apple, are accessible only through iCal. So far, anyway.
Third, Apple is replacing its iChat with iMessages, but won’t be losing any of its current functions, reps say. You’ll still be able to use the app with AIM, Jabber and gTalk. But now, Apple says, it’s designed to message iOS users, too.
Fourth, OS X is getting a Game Center.
And finally and, probably, most importantly, Apple reps say its iCloud is a significant part of this release. Apple says by summer, the service will be sync iWork documents automatically.
The ability to do this was strangely missing from Apple OS X Lion, forcing users to go to iCloud.com in the browser and manually upload and download documents so they can be accessed everywhere.
Other iOS features that will be debuting on the desktop include Notification Center, system-wide Twitter integration and AirPlay mirroring for use with Apple TV.
Apple is also introducing a couple of brand new things too. Share Sheets, which seeks to make it more convenient to share links, photos and videos on social networks and with friends. And Gatekeeper, which will keep your mac more secure by preventing malicious software from being installed.
Mountain Lion will make the overall Apple experience between mobile and desktop much more seamless. I am hoping it isn’t as sluggish and performs better than its predecessor. So many users are complaining about the Apple OS X Lion 10.7.3 upgrade.
The preview of Apple OS X Mountain Lion is available for developers now, and the official release will be available some time this summer on the Mac App Store.
But there is a little something everyone will get to play with today — iMessages for mac is being offered as a free beta download now.
Here is what it looks like.