HUGE Hands-On Photos Of Apple's Mountain Lion For Mac

apple mountain lion desktop

Photo: Screenshot

After announcing all those cool new features in OS X Mountain Lion this morning, Apple also released a preview version for developers to check out.Luckily, we were able to get our hands on it.

Click here for screenshots of Mountain Lion >
After spending the last few hours with Mountain Lion, we can safely say it’s a significant improvement over Apple’s current OS, Lion.

On the surface, you won’t notice much different. It’s nearly identical to the look and feel of Lion. But Apple packed in a lot of excellent features that make your Mac experience run seamlessly with your iPhone and iPad.

This is mostly thanks to the inclusion of iCloud and desktop versions of popular iOS apps and features like Reminders, Notes, and AirPlay.

But our favourite feature so far is Messages. Messages replaces the old iChat app and adds access to the popular iMessage feature found on iPhones and iPads. Now you have one app on your desktop that connects you to AIM, Google Talk, iMessage, and pretty much any other major messaging service out there.

Unfortunately, it looks like Mountain Lion may not be worth the upgrade for everyone. Apple’s goal here is to tighten the integration between your desktop and mobile devices. If you’re not an iPhone or iPad user, you won’t have a need for many of Mountain Lion’s new features.

It’s going to be a few more months before you’ll get to try Mountain Lion. Apple says it will arrive this summer. In the meantime, keep reading for a full tour of Apple’s latest Mac OS!

Let's start with iCloud since most of Mountain Lion's new features depend on it. You can log in from System Preferences.

Now check all the items you'd like to sync with iCloud. All these items will automatically sync with your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and icloud.com account.

You can also add a bunch of different online services in Mountain Lion. This makes it easier to share stuff you find online or in Mac Apps. Let's set up our Twitter account.

Enter your Twitter login information...

...and you're all set. Eventually, you'll be able to give third-party apps access to your Twitter account from this menu.

Messages is our favourite new feature in Mountain Lion. It integrates iMessage, AIM, Google Talk, and most other major chat services.

The buddy list window looks about the same. But the new chat window lets you message people from iMessage and other services.

Mountain Lion also borrows from iOS' notifications system. You can use System Preferences to choose how each app displays notifications. It's nearly identical to the way it works on your iPhone.

Here's an example of a banner notification when someone sends you a new message using Messages.

When you click the circle in the top right of your screen, you'll see the Notifications centre. Here you can see all your iCal events, emails, messages, and other app notifications.

Reminders is another app Apple ported to the Mac. All your reminders will sync to iCloud and show up on your iPad or iPhone. Let's try it...

Within seconds, the reminders update on our iPhone!

The Notes app made it to Mac too! Of course, all your notes will sync to your iPhone or iPad, but let's try something different...

By clicking the share button at the bottom, you can send your note via email, Messages, and several other services that link to Mountain Lion.

This time, we'll send the note to Jay over Messages. Pretty cool!

Safari has a few changes too. The separate search bar is gone. Instead, you have one bar for everything. It's just like Google's Chrome browser.

Here's what it looks like when entering a search term in Safari.

Safari has the handy share button too. Now that we have Twitter integration, let's try tweeting this article to our followers.

It looks just like tweeting a link in iOS. Type your tweet and hit send...

Voila! Note how the tweet says it was sent from iOS, not OS X though. Interesting.

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