Apple’s New OS X Mountain Lion meets iOS 5

Recently, Apple announced their new OS X Mountain Lion operating system.  It’s the ninth major release of OS X, dubbed 10.8.  This new operating system takes some cues from Apple’s iOS 5 mobile OS.  You can download the Developer Preview of Mountain Lion, if you are an Apple developer.  Otherwise, if you’re not a developer, the full version of this operating system is coming out in late summer.  I will walk you through eight new features in OS X Mountain Lion, borrowed from iOS.

OS X Mountain Lion

Messages

Messages
Messages

Messages is one new feature.  It replaces iChat, and it supports iMessage, in addition to AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts.  Since it enables iMessage, you can chat with iOS 5 users or other Mac users using Messages, with an iMessage account.  The interface of Messages was changed to resemble that of the iOS app Messages.  A beta version of Messages is available as a free download if you are running OS X Lion v10.7.3.

Reminders

Reminders

iOS 5 users love using Reminders to keep track of things they need to do.  So why not bring it to the Mac?  Well, with Mountain Lion, Apple is bringing Reminders to your Mac.  Reminders is integrated with iCloud, so your reminders will be synced across all your devices wirelessly and effortlessly.  Handy!  As with iOS, you can make different Reminder lists, for various tasks you need to accomplish.  You can see what you completed already and search for different reminders.

Notes

Notes

Notes is a great iOS feature for jotting down recipes and other things.  Mac users were missing out on this.  So Mountain Lion brings support for Notes.  Like Reminders, your notes are synced across all your Mac and iOS devices via iCloud, wirelessly.  So when you create or edit a note on your Mac, it will be updated on your other devices.  You can even share your notes with your friends by emailing or messaging them.  You can add pictures, attachments, different fonts, etc.

Notification Center

Notification Center
Notification Center

The Notification Center was a great place to collect all your notifications in iOS.  The Mac can really get busy with tons of notifications in different places.  Now with Mountain Lion, Notification Center is brought to the Mac.  With a simple two finger swipe, the Notification Center appears.  It shows your unread emails, new messages, missed FaceTime calls, etc.  When a new notification comes, a small banner appears for a short time, similar to iOS.  That way, you are never interrupted from working.  Your notifications are organized in a list, so they are easy to find.

Share Sheets

Share Sheets

In iOS 5, you could quickly share a lot of different content like photos and websites.  Now on the Mac, it’s never been easier.  Mountain Lion brings a new feature called Share Sheets to the Mac.  For example, when you’re on a website, you can email, tweet, or message it with one click access.  You can do the same in Photo Booth and other apps.  You can send notes via Mail or Messages, post photos on Flickr, videos on Vimeo, and tweet many things.

Twitter

Twitter

Twitter integration came in iOS 5.  Mac users are not left out now.  Mountain Lion supports Twitter integration, with websites, photos, etc.  You get the Tweet Sheet, to compose tweets, like you do in iOS 5, and you can even add your location to tweets.  When you get a mention or direct message, a notification appears on your desktop.  And like all the other notifications, it comes very subtly, not interrupting you from whatever you are doing.

Game Center

Game Center

Game Center is a very popular online gaming service that iOS users just love.  Mac users were missing the fun.  Now with Game Center in Mountain Lion, you can challenge people in games from your Mac.  You can discover new games, based on the ones you and your friends play.  Game Center even allows you to view your rank among people around the world, for a certain game.

AirPlay Mirroring

AirPlay Mirroring
AirPlay Mirroring

The iPad 2 and iPhone 4S brought an amazing new feature called AirPlay Mirroring.  It allowed you to wirelessly view content on your HDTV via Apple TV.  Now the Mac supports AirPlay Mirroring in Mountain Lion.  You can literally see what’s on your Mac on the TV.  It works great for sharing content when teaching students, or to everyone in a conference room.  I can guarantee your friends will love this feature.

In sum

In sum, I think this update is a pretty solid update for OS X, even though it’s less of an update than Lion.  I would get this update, but I do not know the pricing yet, as Mountain Lion will only arrive in late summer, which is many months away.  The price is expected to be around $29, like Lion.  Personally, my favorite feature is AirPlay Mirroring because I find it amazing to mirror your Mac’s screen wirelessly on TV, instead of using a wired connection.  I can’t wait to try that out as soon as I get my hands on Mountain Lion.

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