On Thursday, Apple announced the newest version of the Mac operating system, OS X 10.8. The newest version is being called ‘OS X Mountain Lion’, up from the current OS X Lion running on Mac computers. Apple has made a preview version of OS X 10.8 available to registered developers and will release the final version, with over 100 new features later this summer.
The release will likely be in late August, as usual, and will begin to ship with MacBooks and iMacs during the initial education sales and beginning of the school year, when Mac sales typically increase. SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller commented on the release, saying:
The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better. The developer preview of Mountain Lion comes just seven months after the incredibly successful release of Lion and sets a rapid pace of development for the world’s most advanced personal computer operating system.
Apple launched OS X 10.7 Lion during their “Back to the Mac” event, bringing a number of iOS features back to the Mac in order to blur the lines between the two devices. With OS X Mountain Lion, Apple is pushing iOS integration to a whole new level, integrating a number of apps, including Messages (replacing iChat), Reminders, Notes as well as Game Center and Twitter integration.
Apple has also incorporated Notification Center from iOS 5, allowing the Mac to keep track of all notifications in one place. Prior to this integration, users would have to rely on third-party software like Growl for notifications. The Cupertino-based company has even brought over AirPlay mirroring, allowing users to mirror their Mac screen on their HDTV through the Apple TV.
The developer preview of Mountain Lion features the all new Messages app which replaces iChat® and allows you to send unlimited messages, high-quality photos and videos directly from your Mac to another Mac or iOS device. Messages will continue to support AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. Starting today Lion users can download a beta of Messages from www.apple.com, and the final version will be available with Mountain Lion. Reminders and Notes help you create and track your to-dos across all your devices. Game Center lets you personalize your Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone®, iPad or iPod touch®.
It is very likely that if Apple were to release a television set, the mirror system would be more integrated between iOS and Mac devices. Apple has even went as far as to rename Mac OS X to just OS X, like they did from iPhone OS to iOS.
By integrating iCloud deeper into the Mac platform Apple is blurring the difference between iOS and OS X. The company is challenging the very basic traditional ways of computing and embarking on a new territory of true Cloud computing.