Thursday, February 16, 2012

Apple Reveals Developers Preview Of Mac OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion"

Today Apple announced the availability of the developers preview of Mac OS X 10.8, dubbed "Mountain Lion," a new upgrade for Mac customers which will be widely available late this summer.

This new release of OS X marks the ninth major release of Apple desktop operating system, which now brings over a 100 new changes to the Mac's desktop operating system and integrates many of the popular apps and features from the company's iOS mobile operating system.

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.

What's new in Mountain Lion

On the outside not much looks new. You'll see the familiar OS X user interface, icons ect. It's what is on the inside that matters most. Apple claims a 100 new features, many of which are minor updates or changes. For now it looks like Apple isn't offering a full look at the features the new OS will have when it ships but is instead focusing on 10 features that it will launch with that the company deems the most important.
  1. iCloud
  2. Gatekeeper
  3. Game Center
  4. Messages (formerly know as iChat)
  5. Reminders
  6. Notification Center
  7. Share Sheets
  8. AirPlay
  9. Twitter integration
  10. Localizations to OS X aimed at Chinese users

To the iCloud

Mountain Lion's major focus is all about cloud computing integration and the use of Apple's iCloud service. iCloud was initially released back in 2011 as a way for iOS users to store, share and sync things like music, photos, applications, documents, bookmarks, reminders, backups, notes, iBooks, and contacts with their iPhones or iPads.

Mountain Lion uses your Apple ID and iCloud to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. The new iCloud Documents pushes any changes to all your devices so documents are always up to date, and a new API helps developers make document-based apps work with iCloud.

Gatekeeper Security

The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac.For Windows users think of it as User Account Control on steroids. The security software allows you to choose to install and run apps only from the Mac App Store and apps that have a Developer ID or you install all apps from anywhere at anytime.

Getting the messages

Apple has chosen to replace their iChat application with the new Messages app found in iOS5. The new program allows users to send unlimited messages to any Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 5. You can send and recieve high-quality photos and videos as well as attachments, contacts and locations. You can even launch a FaceTime video call and bring the conversation face-to-face. The new app also supports AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. Lion users can download the beta software right here.

But wait there's more

We've only covered a few of the major changes. For a more in-depth look at the developer preview of Mountain Lion, I suggest checking out some of our favorite sites to see what they have to say.

The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. (Sorry we don't have a direct link for the download yet but I'm working on it)  Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

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