iOS and OS X Come Ever Closer As Apple Announces “Mountain Lion”

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.

Mountain Lion Splash

The preview page for OS X Mountain Lion on Apple's website

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.

Notification Center

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).

Notifications Centre

The brand new Notifications Centre in OS X Mountain Lion

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.


iMessage is now coming to Mac OS X

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.

Twitter ML

Native Twitter integration in Mountain Lion


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.

iCloud ML

iCloud on Mountain Lion will ensure that all of your devices are in perfect sync at any time


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!


Add Yours
  • Is it just me? Or does it seem too soon? I don’t mind iOS and OSX integration but I hope they have some more features than just these 3…

    • I imagine there’s a host of under-the-hood improvements for developers to take advantage of. You may not notice them directly, but both Snow Leopard and Lion added new technologies and API improvements.

      Anyway, they’re moving toward a yearly release schedule now.

  • Why would it be too soon?! I like their new strategy of releasing an updated OS each year for a small price. At my Windows PC I hardly even know what each update brings other than fixing security, and with OSX you actually look forward to the stuff they add.

    Best thing I like is not so much the individual applications, but more the idea that you iPhone, iPad en Mac are constantly in sync in more and more ways.

    Windows updates for example only fix security issues

  • It looks cool! But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Apple will ever merge iOS and OS X. They’re trying to incorporate good ideas into both of them and make them feel more like a family of products, but they will never ever (EVER) make them the same operating system.

  • I seem to be posting almost every day about how much of a nightmare Lion is. It’s a wreck. If they want to “fix” it, all they have to do is bring back the Address Book and iCal from Snow Leopard, make launchpad usable (ability to delete and move _all_ apps), bring back Spaces the way it used to be (with menu bar indicator), fix iCloud so it actually syncs, bring back “Save As” to applications like Keynote, and otherwise stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

    Chances are everyone on this blog is a power desktop user. iOS features are nice, I guess, but I can cope fine using Twitter for Mac as a desktop app. I already have a Twitter extension for Safari, so I don’t see what the big deal is.

    Notifications will be nice, but it’s the sort of thing I’d rather check once a day if it takes up so much freaking screen real estate. Maybe if they do a native Growl-style pop-up it will be useful.

    I can’t say I’m excited about another upgrade. There are people still on Tiger who will be more and more confused with every new release. Will Adobe CS and other big-ticket software suites work with full compatibility? Will our older Snow Leopard apps adapt to new interface gimmicks?

    All I know is they better not rush it. Lion stinks, so they really need to clean things up. I’d rather wait for them to get it right than scramble for another OS this summer.

    • I agree. I’m still on SL and I spent much time wandering if upgrading to Lion is ok. I decided it isn’t, and now Mountain Lion comes as a surprise. I think that they are rushing it and it will probably end up filled with bugs.

      • Can’t be any worse than Lion. They might be rushing it to get away from all of the bugs in Lion, honestly. There are threads all over Mac message boards about random crashes, kernel panics, etc over something in Lion that no one ever had in Snow Leopard. I should know, i’m one of them. (Yes, i’ve tested hardware to be sure it’s not a hardware issue)

    • Judging from Apple’s own page, Notification Center should have Growl-style notifications. That might actually be good, since more apps should support it.

      To be honest I never had any issue with the changes to spaces (it appears they only lost the menu bar) and the versions thing was annoying at first, but then it just becomes “duplicate” or “export” instead of “save as”.

    • Yes, it is really sad to see them turning their Desktop-OS into crap.

    • excellent appraisal Prescott, I’ve paid a small fortune for my mac and iPhone and therefore feel entitled to make choices regarding what software I install without hindrance from apple. the direction that apple is taking mac os worries me deeply which is why i’m now using windows on bootcamp alongside snow leopard. though this might provide some temporary respite from the suffocating coddling from mac i’m under no illusions that windows too will eventually take the same route. i never believed for one moment that steve jobs was anything other than a ruthless businessman and that his successors at apple had one simple priority; to maximise profits whatever the cost, human rights infringements in china and elsewhere and loyalty towards their faithful customers.

    • Prescott, could you elaborate on how Lion “stinks”? I’ve been running it without problems since it came out. The Adobe suite works flawlessly as well as Final Cut Studio. However, I don’t really use Mission Control or Launchpad. The only thing I’ve noticed is a slight increase in the time it takes to start up and shut down.

  • Does that mean, I should wait for summer to buy a new macbook pro? I was hoping to buy the current model this weekend!

    • Different topic really. Always check here:

    • I think right now its best to wait for the Next Iteration of The MacBook Pros. At least till the end of the year [That is unless you afford to buy one more then]

  • Can’t wait, I’ve been waiting for Apple to clean up to-do’s and notes for a while and it looks like it’s finally happening.

  • Wow, Apple is really taking the OS unification to a whole new level here. This is an exciting time to be a Mac user.

  • I actually looked down to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.

    • That was exactly my response this morning when I discovered the Mountain Lion preview on Apple’s webpage.

  • looks like some of my favorite app goes native with this update… hard to say is it progress or not :/

    • Of course it is. New features in OS X while still having the ability to use the third-party version if you choose. How can that be bad?

  • Yeah, I too am surprised that this is happening so fast after Lion’s release.
    I can’t say there’s anything here that excites me – but then I haven’t had the issues some others seem to have had – with Lion.
    Perhaps if this was what Snow Leopard was to Leopard – then maybe I’d be a little more excited.
    But, given I intend to upgrade my iPhone/iPad & MacBook this year – then its a given I’ll be jumping on the Mountain Lion bandwagon ASAP.

  • I don’t have an iPhone so i don’t care about these features. I only want an OS fast as before Lion went out.

  • Actually, this looks more like a minor Lion update than a completely new OS!
    I don’t get it!

    I don’t know if it is a good idea to include/integrate a (third party-) service like Twitter natively in a OS at all. Same for the Notification-Center. Growl works so nice and one can customize it. (I hate this strange background which just doesn’t look like Apple-designed at all. Same for that horrible pseudo-real design of Address Book in Lion).
    And iMessage, well, I don’t know, I don’t use it on the iPhone either.

    I think those little updates just don’t justify another “big cat” release!!! ;-)

    • I think they’re moving away from once every few years to smaller updates every year to keep up with iOS. That way Mac gets iOS features every year as opposed to every 18-24 months or so. Makes sense for Apple and customers. Apple will make a little more cash by having more releases (Not enough to REALLY matter, but still), and Mac customers don’t feel left out with all of the iOS updates yearly. I like it. It’s a nice compromise.

    • “I don’t get it!”

      If you look at every major OS release from Apple in the last 5+ years, none of them have been completely new. Every 12-24 months, Apple releases an incrementally improved OS, for a modest price. They don’t need to do an entirely revamped OS, because the incremental updates allow them to keep up with technology.

      I think you’re confused with Microsoft: they release only security updates for 5 years, then an overhauled OS to catch up with modern technology. With Microsoft’s slow development cycle and extremely high prices, they are forced to do a major update.

  • The new apps look cool, but I already have another app for that, so I don’t know how often I’m going to use them.

    I’d like Twitter and Facebook integration in Mail, specially for the contact picture, like Sparrow does.

    So far, I’m only excited about the merge of the address bar and the search bar in Safari (finally!).

  • I was hoping the next one would be called ‘Liger’ – aside from that minor disappointment, it looks interesting.

  • Mountain Lion… Bah, Humbug! there already is an “update” that is vastly superior to Lion and it is called Snow Leopard.

  • I would bet money Apple will not kill of OS X for a good while. Why? Because the iPad is such a good computer, Apple do not need to lock down OS X to have a fully curated user experience on their mass market device. OS X will continue to have terminal, software from anywhere and a file system, with only iOS’s best UI paradigms being ported. This will only change when xCode, Unity3D and Mono among others can be ran on iOS, or else the Apps that made iOS oh so popular will no longer be made.

    Saying that, Lion and Mountain Lion seem particularly underwhelming and, in the case of Mountain, tacky. Snow Leopard was a finely tuned operating system that I loved – Lion did bring many good new things to the table, but it lost the polish of Snow Leopard in my opinion. Hopefully from now until release Mountain Lion regains its polish.

  • I don’t mind Apple “blending” iOS with OS X at all. There is ONE requirement though. Do NOT take away OS X features to make it fit into iOS. I don’t want my Mac to become a big iPad. I do, however, like having iOS featured added to OS X. Reminders, Twitter, all of it. It adds to the experience of OS X. As long as they don’t start taking away the experience of OS X to “blend” it with iOS, i’m fine with it.

    • I totally agree. Personally, I’m not a fan of the iOS features, but I’m not going to complain about trying new things. That said, if Apple decides to take away the option of ignoring those features, I’m heading back over to Windows, who looks to be retaining the choice in 8. So…. fingers crossed!

    • I agree. I’m fine with changing around OS X to make it fit better with iOS’s paradigm, but I’m sure developers and designers (who make up a huge chunk of mac users) will hate it if Apple starts to take away the terminal, python, apache, subversion and all the other geeky things which I’m afraid they’ll remove in an attempt to make OS X ‘mainstream’.

    • Jeremy, I too am cautiously optimistic about these additions. It makes quite a bit of business sense to blend these OS’s due to the “Halo” effect of the iDevices. But having been a Mac user since ’92, I don’t want things too different.

  • There’s a useful new “feature” through iMessage for OS X: you can just drag and drop images from your hard drive or from a browser (or probably any application) to the Messages app, and it gets sent automatically. Makes image sharing really practical.

    • ICQ and Messenger have had the drag and drop feature for years — images, audio, video calls, etc.

      • Yes, but those ran through their own protocols. Any iDevice user already has iMessage built-in (assuming they’ve updated) so it’s practical to send things to those people. Of course, the usual alternative, email, also works, but iMessage is less bulky.

  • Oh my, another train-wreck. I was hoping Apple would come back to their senses after the Lion disaster.

    Another moronic release. SL installation discs are bound to go up in value.

    • I’m confused how you can deem Mountain Lion “another train-wreck…Another moronic release.”

      Apple has announced a few new features. Generally optional features. Don’t like Notification Center? Fine, chances are you’ll be able to forget it’s there.

      New features can’t really constitute an OS as a train wreck. Apple did not speak to improving user complaints about changes that came with Lion.

      What evidence do you have to back your opinions? Do you even have a copy of it that you have played with? This is a DEVELOPER RELEASE. It’s not a Gold Master. We’re many months away from a public release. Assuming there are bugs (which there will be, for now), Apple has quite a bit of time to fix those bugs to get it ready for the public release. A known buggy beta is not something that you can make such critical claims against. Come back in six months.

      • Well I guess his point is not a comparison between Lion and ML as of right now, but he is just stating that with how some Macs handle Lion, it is just not quite logic to update a system by adding new features before fixing up the currents one

        //now well, although i like the innovation side of Mac, I just hate cheating. Not to fire up the android vs iOs, Apple is filling up patents against companies stating they are cheating patents, and now they integrate a notification bar on ML. It’s a good idea, but that’s coming up from Google and it smells trouble …

        – now all i want is the ability to activate and desactivate some features, and I hope the real exposé will be back.

  • Lion is a disaster. Snow Leopard was excellent (discounting a few minor annoyances – mostly in Apple Apps that desperately want to lead you to the Apple store) and it has been ruined.

    Never minds bugs, slowness, crappy versioning system, and weird, disconcerting interface. Just two changes are enough to make Lion a no-go for me. 1. The removal of the 2-D grid view of spaces, that allowed me to instantly select the space I wanted (and the difficulty now of moving a window between spaces compared to the former ease). 2. The removal of Rossetta, thereby rendering useless many thousands of pounds worth of good software that does exactly what I want. Why would I shell out thousands just to be able to continue to do what I do now … but not so well.

    As for better integration with the iPhone and iPad. I don’t care. I don’t want my desktop OS to become a glorified giant iPhone, I don’t want my documents “looked after” by Apple in iCloud.

    What also really gets me is the underlying arrogance of Apple, as they try to force me to use what is best for them.

    So I shall be staying with Snow Leopard until it becomes impractical. Then, after 11 years of happy and loyal use of Macs, I’ll probably switch to Linux. If I’d suspected Apple was going to become another Microsoft I’d have switched to Linux from Windows 11 years ago.

    Or maybe I’ll go back to pen and paper, vinyl, and film, and escape this insane IT world of change for the sake of it.

    • Rosetta was removed in Snow Leopard, so you don’t have rosetta either, therefore your argument is invalid.

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