Apple has just sneakily announced the next iteration in its line of Mac operating systems. Like Lion before it, Mac OS X Mountain Lion brings yet more synergy between iOS and the desktop experience. Here’s six ways in which Apple has just brought your iPhone to your Mac…
Mac OS X Mountain Lion is available to developers now, but will be launched to the wider world in the summer. It boasts a raft of new features and tweaks, including some major moves to combat the simplified Windows 8 with some top aspects from iOS ported over. These are the best:
1. iChat is dead, long live iMessage
Goodbye, iChat. In place of the longstanding and often-ignored messaging client, Apple is bringing iMessage to the Mac. This means that you can start a conversation on your iPhone, turn on your Mac and pick up from there – your messages will be delivered to your mate’s iPhone as per usual.
2. Notifications like never before
One of the best features Apple brought to the iPhone with iOS 5 was the Notification Centre. Arguments that the idea was stolen from Android aside, the ability to quickly see what needs your attention in one streamlined bar was a touch of class.
Now the same thing is coming to Mac. Mountain Lion will boast the very same Notification Centre, which will pull iMessage, email, Facebook, Twitter and a myriad other alerts into one place.
3. Twitter baked in
Just as with iOS 5, Mac OS X Mountain Lion will benefit from Apple’s love affair with micro-blogging site Twitter. You’ll be able to tweet from anywhere in the OS and easily attach photos or links.
It’s a huge boon for Twitter but could spell the end for hitherto popular Mac apps like Twitter and Tweetdeck.
4. Remind, remind, remind me
Notes and Reminders are present and built into Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Reminders syncs with your calendar across devices and will tie in with the Notification Centre to provide alerts.
5. Mirror my Mac
Good news for Apple TV owners, bad news for cable-making companies. Apple has imbued Mountain Lion with the same AirPlay Mirroring tech as in the iPhone and iPad, which means that if you’ve got an Apple TV box you’ll be able to beam your Mac’s screen to your TV wirelessly.
The benefits of this are numerous. In a simple sense you could use it to show off your holiday snaps, but it throws the door open for Macs to become much more game-centric. Imagine running a top-end game on a properly tricked-out Mac, and beaming the footage to your TV wirelessly. It also means that Apple TV, in theory, can now do the same job as the OnLive micro console.
6. Game on
On the subject of games: The iPhone’s Game Center feature is built into Mac OS X Mountain Lion, giving you access to your high scores and gaming buddies. But it doesn’t stop there. The Game Kit API for Game Center on the Mac use the exact same services as those on the iPhone and iPad.
This basically means it’s possible for developers to make games that can be played in multiplayer mode across all devices. In other words: you could stage a race on Asphalt 6 with you on your Mac vs someone on an iPhone.
Overall, OS X Mountain Lion is another step towards Apple’s obvious goal: making Macs and iOS devices entirely cross-compatible, near-identical in user experience and instantly usable by anyone with either type of device.
It’s a tactic now being employed by Microsoft with Windows 8’s heavily unified Metro styling – which lines up perfectly with Windows Phone 7. Which computer OS will do a better job of uniting PC and mobile? Time will tell.
Apple’s Mac OS X Mountain Lion will be available to download from the Mac App Store in the summer.