With the kickoff of WWDC in San Francisco, Apple has announced the availability of their next major version of OS X: Mountain Lion. It will be available in July for $20 from the Mac App Store.
This version of OS X bridges the gap between iOS and Apple’s line of computers even more by bringing in elements that were formerly found only in iOS. What this means is a tighter integration of data for those that use an iPhone, iPad, and a Mac with 200 new features. Eight of them are being detailed today.
With iCloud on iOS it’s extremely easy for users to have all of their data safely backed up, secured, and available on all of their devices and Macs. With Mountain Lion, iCloud will have an even bigger role on the desktop, which is great since there are over 125 million users.
In Mountain Lion, just sign in with your Apple ID and iCloud is automagically set up to be used across your Mac. What will automatically be using iCloud? Your email, calendars, contacts, documents, and more — it will all be up-to-date on every Apple device you use. Any changes made will be reflected right away on all other devices.
Documents will be able to be stored in the iCloud with the new developer SDK. So far, it will be in Pages, Keynote, and more.
It just works like magic, and will be one of the biggest changes to the desktop OS that will make the iOS transition even more seamless.
With Mountain Lion, the gap between desktop computing and iOS becomes even more blurred since Notification Center is finally here. With it, you’ll be able to see whenever something new happens on your computer — whether it is a new email, message, friend request, calendar alert, or more.
Notification Center on the Mac will look just like its iOS counterpart, with the banner notifications that appear long enough for you to get a glance, and then disappear just as quickly so the interruption is very brief. With a simple swipe, you can pull up the entire Notification Center tray, which will show all of your notifications in a single, organized list. Clicking any notification will open the selected app, just like on your iPhone and iPad.
The simple task manager apps on OS X should brace themselves. Reminders is coming to the Mac in Mountain Lion, so all of your lists and tasks from your iPhone and iPad will be accessible right from your desktop. Make as many lists as you need, add items to them, and make sure you don’t forget anything with due dates and alerts. It will also support location-based reminders.
For those that use the Notes app on their iPhones and iPads because it’s just enough for them, they’re in luck! Mountain Lion will have Notes as well, and with iCloud syncing, notes on your iOS devices will be available on your computer as well. Immediately jot down any thoughts with Notes on Mac, and make it stand out even more with images and photos, and other attachments. The font styles and colors can be changed as well, adding more personalization for the user.
Going through your notes will be easy enough, since you can add, delete, and flip through your existing notes, or even search for what you need. The Share option is there for sending your note to others through Mail or Messages.
With iCloud, any new, edited, or deleted note will automatically be reflected across all of your devices.
Available for Lion users as a beta, the final version of Messages will be available preinstalled on all Macs with Mountain Lion.
Messages is basically the upgraded version of iChat, but now you will be able to send and receive unlimited messages from anyone with an iPhone or iPad (running iOS 5), and Mac. You can send text or photos, videos, documents, and even contacts through Message; the ability to send out a group message is built-in too.
Similar to BlackBerry Messenger, users can see when their message has been delivered and whether someone has read the message (if enabled), or if they are working on a reply. You can even make FaceTime calls right from Messages too.
Messages, just like iMessage on iOS, features end-to-end encryption, so you don’t have to worry about your messages being intercepted — they will stay safe and private.
If you link your Apple ID on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, all of your messages will be kept synced together, so you are able to continue conversations from one machine to another.
Mountain Lion will have system-wide dictation. Now you can just type what you want to in any application. It’s extremely fast.
Since social networking is becoming a bigger part of everyone’s life (or so it seems), sharing has become an integral part of OS X. Share Sheets will be integrated as buttons into native Mountain Lion apps so you can rapidly spread the word about different things: links, photos, and videos.
You’ll be able to swiftly send links from Safari, send notes via Mail and Messages, post photos from Photo Booth directly to Flickr, send videos to Vimeo, and tweet almost anything you want with native Twitter support. The Share Sheets will be available at all times.
There is also a new scrolling architecture based on Core Animation, so that “it’s lightning fast and really awesome.”
With this new feature, your MacBook will be kept up-to-date while it sleeps. It can backup to Time Capsule while asleep, and even fetch email and sync calendars.
When Apple introduced Game Center for iOS, it was a great way for players to compete with friends and earn game achievements in a mobile way. Now, Game Center is making its way to the Mac, bringing all the competition with it.
You’ll be able to sign in to your Game Center account with your Apple ID — if you didn’t already make an account, it’s quite easy to do. Once signed in, you’ll be able to find your friends, start multiplayer games with one another or even against random strangers — competition doesn’t need to be with familiar faces. Leaderboards and achievements will be accessible from your Mac with Mountain Lion, and game discovery will be available, so you’ll never be bored again.
Have you ever dreamed about streaming what’s on your Mac to your television? With Mountain Lion, you will finally be able to do this, thanks to the AirPlay Mirroring feature.
If you have an Apple TV, you will be able to easily stream whatever appears on your Mac’s screen to your HDTV. This means you’re able to show off Internet videos to your friends on the couch, share lessons with the classroom, and even present to a conference room. AirPlay Mirroring will make Keynote presentations and iMovie even better than ever.
Again, Mountain Lion will be available in the Mac App Store in July for $20. Will you be downloading this cat once it’s out of the bag?