If you are an Apple aficionado, the latest Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is going to make a loyal devotee out of you. The Mac OS is inspired by iPad and includes a number of features that support seamless synchronization across iOS devices including iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch; deeper Twitter integration (alas! Facebook is still out in the cold) within apps; enhanced security; and an even better user experience.
Apple’s Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the current version, brought some major enhancements when it launched last year. For one, it was the first completely downloadable release from the Mac App Store, and for another, it included multi-touch gestures that added a whole new dimension to the Mac experience. You could swipe, tap, access full-screen apps via LaunchPad, and of course, sync across iOS devices wirelessly via iCloud.
With Mountain Lion, Apple takes it further with ideas ported over from iPad. As Apple CEO Tim Cook puts it, ‘We see that people are in love with a lot of apps and functionality here. Anywhere where that makes sense, we are going to move that over to Mac.’ (from Cook’s interview with The Wall Street Journal).
So, what’s new and what’s improved in Mountain Lion?
Improved iCloud synchronization: Sign once into iCloud on Mac with your Apple ID and iCloud automatically syncs your mail, calendars, contacts, documents, etc., across devices. Works vice versa too.
Messages: Send unlimited videos, photos, documents and contacts securely via iMessage on Mac to iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch running iOS 5. Resume conversations across devices, seamlessly. Messages Beta supports AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts and brings them all to one window.
Reminders: Sync reminders across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Get alerts as deadlines approach, check completed tasks; you have no excuse for forgetting stuff.
Notes: Whatever is on your mind, jot it down to get back to later on Mac, iPhone, iPad or your iPod Touch. Embellish notes with photos, videos, etc. Share notes with mail or Messages and pin them to your desktop for quick access.
Notification Center: Get calendar, email, message, friend request alerts on your Mac with the Notification Center. The banner comes up and disappears to not detract you from your current activity. Swipe left to get to notifications at any time.
Share Sheets: Sharing is deeply integrated into every Mountain Lion app. Share photos, videos, links via Mail or Messages or to third party apps such as Flickr, Vimeo, etc.
Twitter: Apple takes its relationship with Twitter further with Mac OS X 10.8. Sign in once to Twitter and you can send tweets from anywhere and everywhere on the Mac. Add locations and get Tweet notifications too.
Game Center: Mac too gets onto social gaming with Game Center.
AirPlay Mirroring: Stream screen content from your Mac to your HDTV via Apple TV – presentations, web pages, videos, photos, chat, anything.
Gatekeeper: Mac just got safer with Gatekeeper. It prevents you from downloading or installing malicious software. You can choose security settings – download and run apps from anywhere, only from the Mac App Store, or only those apps from the Mac App Store with a Developer ID.
The developers’ preview of Mac OS X Mountain Lion is out for Mac app developers to start churning out innovative applications. Watch Mountain Lion in action here.
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