Quick summary of what’s new in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

mountain-lion

Apple announced the preview to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, just seven months after OS X Lion’s release last July. Here are the new features in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in summary form for quick digestion:

  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion has a serious looking cat.
  • Similar to Snow Leopard, the name Mountain Lion suggests it is a fine-tuning release of Lion.
  • Apple surprised everyone by announcing the preview release without the usual press event. Instead, only selected tech publishers are invited to closed door briefings by Apple.
  • Apple released a preview of Mountain Lion to its developers as part of the announcement.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is scheduled to release in late summer 2012.
  • With OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple is changing to an annual release cycle of OS X, to be on par with its iOS counter part.
  • Apple started using “OS X” without the “Mac” naming since the release of Lion. But “Mac OS X” is still the title when view from within let say the “About This Mac” screen in Lion. In OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple officially drops the “Mac” title from within the operating system.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will be exclusively available from the App Store. It will not be available in USB stick like in Lion.
  • iCloud is integrated deeper with Mountain Lion. You will be asked to sign-on with or create new Apple ID during installation. This is similar to the startup of iOS 5.
  • iCal is renamed to Calendar and Address Book is renamed to Contacts, making apps to have consistent naming in iOS and OS X.
  • Messages app will replace iChat in Mountain Lion. Messages app supports existing iChat services and iMessage, allows you to message to anyone using iMessages on their iPhone and iPad without the carrier texting charges. Apple released a public Messages beta for existing users to try out Messages before it’s release in Mountain Lion.
    Messages
  • Reminders will be moved out from iCal into a standalone Reminders app. The app looks similar to its iOS counterpart and will sync with iCloud, enable you to have the same tasks on your Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
    Reminders
  • Notes will be moved out from Mail app into a standalone Notes app. The app will sport the same look as iOS version and will sync between the OS X Mountain Lion and iOS. 
    notesapp
  • Notification Center will be a system feature in OS X Mountain Lion. Apps can publish notifications to pop up in a sidebar. This is a port of Notification Center from iOS, and is likely to replace Growl to become the de facto notification standard in OS X.
    notification-center
  • Apple will bring the Game Center app from iOS to OS X. This will bring social gaming to the desktop, let you play games and chat with friends, and keeping your game score.
  • AirPlay Mirroring allows you to mirror the content of iPad 2 and iPhone 4S to your HDTV via Apple TV. With Mountain Lion, you can stream 720p content from your Mac to HDTV via Apple TV.
    airplay
  • Share Sheets is a system window component that allows app to implement standard sharing mechanism. Safari, Preview etc in Mountain Lion will have a small button at toolbar to trigger the Share Sheets, allowing you quick access to email, message, tweet, AirDrop, share to Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo etc.
  • Twitter is integrated with Mountain Lion, as with iOS 5.
  • You can install apps from anywhere or from App Store in Lion. With Mountain Lion, Apple introduced a third type of app which is available outside the App Store but is digitally signed with Apple. This is a measure to combat malware as Apple is able to remotely prevent digitally signed apps from installing. Signed apps also can not be modified as it will break the signature. Gatekeeper is a new security mechanism introduced in Mountain Lion that allows the users to choose the type of apps that can be run. By default, Mountain Lion will allow only apps from App Store and identified developers with digital signature.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion reflects the rising importance of the China market. Mountain Lion will have integration with Chinese services such as Baidu, Weibo, Youku, QQ etc.
  • Mountain Lion brings a new Documents in the Cloud view to the traditional Open/Save File Dialog for apps that support working on documents in iCloud. iCloud will appear as another location besides your local disk for opening and saving your documents.
  • The usual Software Update will be relocated under App Store app in Mountain Lion.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion comes with an improved Safari 5.2. One notable new feature in Safari is its integration of search bar within the address bar. Apple has seeded a beta release of Safari 5.2 to its developers.
  • There are reports that some older Mac models can run Lion but not Mountain Lion. Those affected are mostly machines with integrated graphics. It is still too early to confirm the minimum requirement since there is no official statement from Apple and Mountain Lion is still months away from release.

Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion Sneak Peak