OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is Apple's latest operating system for Mac. It brings OS X much closer to iOS in terms of features and syncing with iPads and iPhones.
We've already given you a lowdown on the most important changes in Mountain Lion most of which are features taken from iOS. Here we will take a more in depth look at the features Mountain Lion has to offer.
Share your universe
A universal share button has been added to Safari's URL bar for reading later, add to bookmarks, e-mail, or Twitter. Facebook sharing has also been integrated into OS X Mountain Lion, as anticipated.
Password Tabs allows you to see passwords saved in Safari.
Omnibar is an added feature to Google Chrome in Mountain Lion. It integrates the address bar and search box including Google searches, favorites and history.
Messages replaces iChat. Lion users can try the beta version of Messages which is the same as iMessage on iOS but the final stable version only works on Mountain Lion. Amongst other things, Messages offers unlimited free iMessages, video conferencing with Facetime and photo/file sending.
Time Machine now allows you to select more than one hard drive to save backups. Time Machine can now also run in PowerNap mode, which allows the operating system to update itself while the computer is sleeping.
Software updates are now fully integrated with the Mac App Store and can be downloaded directly.
Let's play a game
Game Center is the same as on iOS. Gaming is becoming increasingly important on OS X and Game Center allows you to download games, play against friends and save your progress. AirPlay will allow Mac and iOS users to play against one another. You can also share your scores on Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages in OS X Mountain Lion. Additional integration with Facebook includes being able to "like" individual games and challenge friends to beat your high scores.
iCloud Synchronization is far more extensive in Mountain Lion than Lion where synchronization is limited to favorites and history. Mountain Lion extends the capabilities of Mountain Lion allowing the synchronization of documents too. iCloud will also sync settings, tabs, and bookmarks between Mac and iOS devices.
Mail, Contacts, and Calender are all in sync thanks to iCloud in Mountain Lion and you can now configure it Microsoft Exchange, Gmail and Yahoo!, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, and AOL accounts. In addition, your Facebook friends' contact information and profile pictures will now appear in Contacts as well.
- The screensaver now includes the option to create iPhoto style presentations
- Screen Sharing allows you to easily share your screen with other Mountain Lion users.
- Printing has been simplified.
- Searching for words in the dictionary is simpler. Three clicks have been replaced by one.
- Launchpad and Dashboard include a search tool, making launching apps quicker.
- Mail includes a Safari style search tool but ditches support for RSS feeds.
- X11 goes the same way as Java: you have to install it separately.
- AirPlay now support mirroring to an AppleTV with up to 1080p resolution but only stereo sound. Users can now give presentations or watch video on a TV from their Macs using AirPlay.
The last major change to OS X was OS X 10.5 Leopard. It was followed by a faster and more subtly improved Snow Leopard 10.6. OS X 10.7 Lion was then released in summer 2011 with most major changes related to how you control OS X via a Trackpad to create a more iOS experience. Everything then points towards the fact that Apple are likely to release a new OS X once a year, the same as iOS for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with OS X moving closer and closer to iOS with each release. Considering that the price of each OS X update has come down too, it’s foreseeable that future versions of OS X will be downloaded for free like iOS.
Naturally, this increasing move towards iOS will delight those that love using their iPhone and iPad. Those that prefer their mobile device and Mac to be treated as mainly separate user experiences, may not be so enthusiastic but Mountain Lion provides some great new functionality and is well worth the upgrade from Lion.