Apple is just full of surprises these days. If the company isn’t busy stunning Wall Street with $100-billion in cash while leading the smartphone and tablet races, it’s sneaking out the latest version of OS X for the Mac with yet another in the long line of cats.
While no one was looking or even speculating, Apple announced OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion. If you thought Mac OS X Lion had the unmistakable flavor of iOS for Apple’s iDevices, get ready for another step toward the iOS-ification of the Mac.
OS X vs. iOS: The Fun and The Function
Gone is Mac OS X. It’s now just plain old OS X. What’s next? iOS for Mac? That’s next year.
OS X Mountain Lion brings a bunch of iOS-inspired functionality that blurs the lines of distinction between Apple’s handheld devices and the venerable Mac.
What all the iOS integration? Remember, Apple sold more iOS devices last year than all the Macs that have ever been sold since 1984. That should tell us where the future is, and, in a word, it’s seamless integration.
Alright, that’s two words, but you get the idea. The Mac’s screen is beginning to look like a giant iPad with a keyboard.
10 New Features You Will Love (or not)
Guess what? Twitter, as it was with iOS just last year, is integrated into OS X 10.8 (the aforementioned Mountain Lion).
What up, Facebook folks? No integration for you. Apple’s apps, and eventually many third party apps, will have a way to integrate your thoughts and photos and videos right into Twitter tweets. That’s good. But there’s no Facebook. That’s bad.
iCloud Rocks, Rolls, and Rules in OS X ML. It’ll sync mail, contacts, calendar, and documents. No more iCal (it’s Calendar). No more Address Book (it’s Contacts). That’s just like in iOS (the way Apple’s engineering gods decreed it to be).
Messages From Here To Eternity and is an integral part of Apple’s new integration mantra. That means iMessage is in, and iChat is out. Send text messages right from your Mac. And Messages beta is available right now. The ugly? Try figuring out how to manage your Apple IDs.
The Malware Gatekeeper means yet another layer of protection against wayward apps. The good? Buy clean apps from the Mac App Store. Use third party apps with a certified developer ID for more security. The ugly? Suffer the consequences by downloading and installing malware from evil people.
Hello, Reminders. Sync me one more time. If you loved Reminders in iOS iDevice-whatever, you’ll love the synchronization of Reminders in OS X ML. And, yes, they’re all connected to your iCloud account.
Notify Me About Notifications, please. Just like iDevices circa 2011, Macs in 2012 will come with a Notification Center which also syncs with iCloud and pops out of the side of the screen to notify you of whatever notifications you have.
The iOS Share Button debuts in the Mac with Share Sheets. Those are the little buttons you click to email, share, tweet, upload, iMessage, Flickr, Vimeo, et al, web pages, documents, photos, movies, etc. What about Facebook?
Play games with a predator in Game Center. Apple’s social gaming network comes to the Mac. Look for a gazillion Mac App Store games that will work with iOS counterparts, so you can waste time playing against friends and family or unshaven old men posing online as teenage girls.
Your Mac’s screen just went to 55-inches with AirPlay. iOS iDevices have had AirPlay through Apple TV, and now the Mac gets the sharing goodness, too.
Whatever is on your Mac’s screen can also be displayed on the television, provided you have an Apple TV.
If Reminders are out of iCal, and iCal is now Calendar, and To Do items are now Reminders, then what of Mail’s Notes? They’re just plain old Notes in OS X ML, but they have word processing abilities, can detach and drop onto the Mac’s screen, and they totally synced between devices using iCloud.
So, in OS X Mountain Lion, due for release later this year, you’ll have seamless integration of content from your Mac to your iPhone to your iPad via iCloud. That means music, photos, documents, messages, calendar, contacts, and more.
What’s missing? Where’s Siri? Surely modern Macs have the horsepower to handle Siri’s voice recognition and speech requirements. I suspect that Siri will come once Apple figures out a way to integrate Siri’s responses into third party apps.