Photo: California DFG via flickr
Today Apple took the wraps off its newest operating system for Macs called OS X Mountain Lion.Apple is shifting to a new release schedule for the software that powers its Macs. Instead of making you wait two or three years between versions, you’ll get a new one just about every year. It’s very similar to the iOS release schedule for iPhones and iPads.
We’ll have a full walkthrough of Mountain Lion for you later today. In the meantime, keep reading to check out the biggest new features.
Just like iOS, all you have to do is sign in with your Apple ID and all your contacts, email, calendars, apps, etc. sync to your Mac. Whenever you make a change on your Mac, it'll appear on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc. too.
Mountain Lion's iCloud feature also works with your iWork documents. If you use Pages, Keynote, or Numbers, all your document changes will automatically show up on any other Apple device you're using.
iChat is dead!
Instead, Mountain Lion comes with Messages, an all-in-one chat app that integrates iMessages too. You'll still be able to log into AIM, Google Talk, etc., but you get the added benefit of integrating iMessages from your iPhone or iPad.
Reminders is one of the most useful new apps that came with iOS 5. Now it's on Mac too. All your reminders will sync across all your iDevices too.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
Notes is a pretty simple app. Again, the key here is that all your notes will be synced across your iPhone, iPad, etc. You can also easily share your notes via email or the new Messages app.
One of the most popular new features in iOS 5 is the Notifications centre. Now that's on Mac. The Notifications centre appears in the right of your screen and displays all your messages, iCal events, notifications from apps, etc.
You can also view notifications as banners. It looks a lot like the popular Growl notifications system for Mac.
Share Sheets are little buttons on several Mac apps that let you share stuff you're doing over Twitter, email, etc. It's very similar to sharing stuff on your iPhone or iPad. When you hit the share button, you get a little drop down menu with all your sharing options.
Just like it did with iOS last year, Apple added direct Twitter integration on Mac. This will let you easily tweet links, photos, etc. that you find on your Mac. Mac apps will be able to add that feature too.
Game centre is a way to keep track of and compare stats for many of the iOS games you play. Mountain Lion lets you add that to your Mac too.
We're not too crazy about this feature though. Game centre has always felt like a gimmick, so it's pretty strange that Apple would bring it to the desktop too.
With AirPlay integrate with Macs now so you can display what's on your screen on a big screen TV hooked up to an Apple TV. It works over your Wi-Fi network. This will be great for presentations, showing video clips, etc.
Apple added a new security feature called Gatekeeper to Mountain Lion that will give you the option to limit what kind of apps your Mac can run. For example, you can tell Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to ensure you don't get hit with a virus or malware.