Just over 6 months after the current release of OS X was released, codenamed “Lion”, Apple is already teasing us about the next major update to its default operating system, Mountain Lion. The preview of OS X 10.8 was released today to registered developers with Apple, with summer touted as the general release date to the public.
It seems like this release of OS X is trying to bridge the gap between Apple’s Mac range of computers and their line of iOS devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. New features for Mountain Lion include a Notification Centre, Reminders, full native Twitter integration and iMessage (all of which came along in the last overhaul of iOS).
Let’s have a quick peek at what we can expect come summer.
OS X Mountain Lion will feature a notification centre similar to the one currently found on devices running iOS 5, however instead of swiping to bring it down, it will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. You will be able to choose exactly which notifications you want and the Notifications Centre will be available from any app, including full-screen ones (you simply have to swipe to the right to reveal them).
Although OS X has a pretty decent notifications system already in the form of Growl, it seems like native notifications will help you keep up to date with what’s happening across all your programs, ensuring you don’t miss out on anything.
iMessage is a free and easy way of keeping in touch with all your friends who have got an iOS device – and now it’s heading over to OS X. Touted as “Apple’s BBM”, it uses either your phone number (if you’ve got an iPhone) or your e-mail address (if you’ve got an iPad or iPod touch) to allow you to send chat messages and pictures.
As with iMessage on iOS devices, the program syncs all your chats, so you can leave a conversation on your Mac and carry it on on your iPhone, meaning that you don’t miss out on anything.
If you can’t wait for Mountain Lion to be released, then you can download Messages Beta from Apple’s website, which will replace iChat already installed on your Mac. Messages also works with AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and Jabber accounts and also integrates FaceTime directly from the app.
Native Twitter Integration
Like iOS 5, Mountain Lion will feature native Twitter integration from apps such as Safari, and will allow you to tweet links, photos and comments directly from any supported app. You’ll also get instant push notifications if someone mentions you in a tweet or sends you a direct message, something which is missing from the default Twitter app for Mac.
The new release of OS X also integrates very tightly with iCloud, which was released along with iOS 5 last October. With native iCloud support, you can rest assured that your documents, photos, contacts and e-mails are synced across all your iOS devices. So, if you’re editing a document in Pages on your iPad on the way home from work then it will be ready and waiting for you on your Mac when you get back.
Although no concrete release date has been announced as of yet, we can expect Mountain Lion to be released sometime this summer (maybe to tie in with that MacBook overhaul and the iPhone 5 launch) as a paid update via the App Store. And with a whole new range of features expected in this release, along with the chatter of the iPad 3, iPhone 5 and iTV, it seems like 2012 is going to be Apple’s strongest year yet.
Please do let us know what you think about this announcement via the comments section below. Are you excited? Or do you think that Apple is just trying too hard to integrate iOS and OS X? Should they keep them two completely separate operating systems? Share your thoughts below!