Apple announces OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion preview, 100 new features, huge iPad influence

Apple announces OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion preview, 100 new features, huge iPad influence continues

Apple's drive to bring iOS back to the Mac continues with Messages, Notification Center, AirPlay mirroring, and more for OS X

Apple has just announced a preview of the next major version of their Mac operating system, OS X 10.8. It's called Mountain Lion. The preview is available now and the full version, with over 100 new features, will ship this summer.

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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.”

The current OS X 10.7 Lion system was announced as a way to take iOS ideas back to the Mac, and Mountain Lion looks to accelerate this process dramatically. It's not a port of iOS to the Mac, far from it. It's the continued implementation of the best of iOS ideas on the Mac OS X system. Like Lion, some of the ideas will no doubt work better than others, but the path seems absolutely clear and Apple seems incredibly focused on getting there. Fast.

Especially noteworthy:

  • iCloud is coming to the Mac in a big way. It will be available on signup, like iOS, and will offer not only push/store "sync" features but Documents in the Cloud as an alternative, highly abstracted way to handle files without the traditional, complex management.

  • iOS apps like Reminders, Notes, and Messages are coming to the Mac, and traditional Mac apps are transforming to better mirror their iOS counterparts, like Calendar (iCal) and Contacts (Address Book)

  • Game Center is coming to the Mac, as is Twitter integration.

  • Notification Center will handle alerts, just like iOS, and Share Sheets will make it easier to share information on the Mac.

  • AirPlay Mirroring will let your Mac screen appear on your big screen HDTV, via the Apple TV.

  • Gatekeeper provides a middle ground between standard apps and App Store apps, signed by a developer but not approved by Apple.

No word on Siri, Apple's personal voice assistant yet, but it's early days. Apple's Mountain Lion page is live, so check it out. Full press release below.

More: Mountain Lion on Apple.com.

Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview with Over 100 New Features

CUPERTINO, California—February 16, 2012—Apple® today released a developer preview of OS X® Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system, which brings popular apps and features from iPad® to the Mac® and accelerates the pace of OS X innovation. Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay® Mirroring. Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud® in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a revolutionary security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac. The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store™ in late summer 2012.

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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.”

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®.

Mountain Lion presents notifications in an elegant new way, and Notification Center provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third party apps. System-wide Share Sheets make it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third party apps. Twitter is integrated throughout Mountain Lion so you can sign on once and tweet directly from Safari®, Quick Look, Photo Booth®, Preview and third party apps. Mountain Lion also introduces AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what's on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV®.

More than 100 million users have iCloud accounts, and Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up iCloud and access documents across your devices. Mountain Lion uses your Apple ID to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime® and Find My Mac. The new iCloud Documents pushes any changes to all your devices so documents are always up to date, and a new API helps developers make document-based apps work with iCloud.

Gatekeeper is a revolutionary new security feature that gives you control over which apps can be downloaded and installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from any source, just as you do on a Mac today, or you can use the safer default setting to install apps from the Mac App Store, along with apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. For maximum security, you can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be downloaded and installed.

Mountain Lion also has features specifically designed to support Chinese users, including significant enhancements to the Chinese input method and the option to select Baidu search in Safari. Mountain Lion makes it easy to set up Contacts, Mail and Calendar with top email service providers QQ, 126 and 163. Chinese users can also upload video via Share Sheets directly to leading video websites Youku and Tudou, and system-wide support for Sina weibo makes microblogging easy.

Hundreds of new APIs give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X. The Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, making it possible to create multiplayer games that work across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A new graphics infrastructure underpins OpenGL and OpenCL and implements GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, to make it easier to create OpenGL apps. Using Core Animation in Cocoa apps is easier than ever, and new video APIs deliver modern 64-bit replacements for low-level QuickTime APIs. Enhanced Multi-Touch™ APIs give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced mitigation against buffer overflow attacks.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Apple announces OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion preview, 100 new features, huge iPad influence

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This is clearly to push the iPhone to Mac halo effect even more. iPhone users thinking about switching to Mac have even more reason to do so now. They will more familiar with the Mac than people moving from PC to Mac. Brilliant.

Totally agree! Just as the iPod pushed sales for the Mac because of its hardware software integration. The same thing is happening now with the iPhone, it will push Mac sales trough the roof. Why buy a computer that in not easily integrated to your phone. You making life easier for Apple consumer!

Thanks, and you are able to access your PC from hnewayre as long as it is on or at least in a mode that you can wake up. If you lived in California and went to Florida for the week you could get on Splashtop and use your computer. If it is on.

I just went to MAC.. i don't know why I waited SO damn long. this new software will be excellent. can't wait

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The Halo effect got me last year with the iPhone 4S in October and a Macbook Pro in December. This is going to make it even better.

Likewise, I made the switch to iPhone (Sprint) when it came out and then to an iMac a month later; now I'm even more glad I did! (But I just bought "The Missing Manual" for the Mac, so I hope they update it for Mountain Lion!)

"The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters" - That's a disingenuous way to analyze statistics.
According to NetMarketShare Mac OS X 10.6 usage is still under 4%, that's almost half of Windows Vista - a 5 year old failure - and about the same as iPhone+iPad combined. In comparison PCs still command about 90% of the market, with Windows at 83% with the 3 main versions combined.

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters”
Not at all "disingenuous" ... the quote was referring to the "growth" of Mac laptop and desktop sales as compared to the rest of the market ... Windows based laptops and desktops sales have actually declined significantly for the same time period. While windows PC usage still maintains the bulk of the market ... Apple is defying the rest of the PC market trend in experiencing sales growth ... that is VERY genuine ...

And next we will get that very disingenuous Apple speak that sell numbers aren't the same as shipped numbers. The Mac is never going to catch Windows. I can make the same argument for when Windows 8 tablets arrive as to why the Mac will remain irrelevant to everyone but a small minority of users. Apple counting the iPad (do they even legally own the rights to the name?) as pc sales if nothing but fluff.

I have not upgraded to Lion yet. Does anyone have an idea if I should wait and it will cost less to go from snow Leopard than go to Lion then M Lion?

This is very exciting news and I'm a Windows user. I always felt that iCloud was extremely hyped and left a lot to be desired after it was finally released to the public. The biggest diaspontment for me was documents in the cloud. It's just not a fluid process. This Mountain Lion update seems to fill in most of the gap in iCloud. The intergration of devices and computers is second to none. This may be the tipping point where I finally buy a Mac. That's why I'm excited.

The tipping point for me will be when all major game publishers release their best titles for the Mac, and Apple equips its machines with top notch graphics and sound. Right you have a hard time even getting 5.1 sound out of an iMac, and absolutely no option of crossfire or SLI.
I will definitely not buy a Mac to run Windows to access my games. It's a too underpowered and expensive PC for that.

I'm not a gamer, but you hit the nail on the head. The Mac, & by extension Apple, has never cared for the power user. You spend a ridiculous amount of money on a pretty machine that is woefully under powered for all but Apple's built in apps.

I agree to a degree, but I don't PC game anymore. I'm more of a console gamer because it's more convenient for me. My use of computers have changed in the last decade to organizing and editing media, web browsing, and office type applications. For what I do, I don't need a super computer. It's the user experience that will win me over, not the power. It's the same debate between super powerful Android devices for less powerful iDevices. In my opinion, iPhone still wins in that arena too.

As I said neither do I. Apple had openly boasted about 'exclusive' features in Mac Office. Ummm... What are they again? Are we to believe M$ gave Apple a better version than Windows vendors? Right. I'm convinced.
I use Adobe Creative tools daily. By the way I was a Mac devotee for yrs up until last yr. That same software runs way better on Windows without the lock ups or long delays because of the overtaxed/maxed memory filled with Apple bloat. But the Apple ecosystem appeals to some (not many with the Mac) so enjoy.

The interesting thing will be developer response. To access iCloud, programs must go through the Mac App Store. MS is not likely to give Apple a 30% cut to allow Office to save documents to iCloud, and most other large shops will likely follow suit.
It looks like there will be no way for anybody other than Apple to access the "full" Mac API anymore; some APIs are prohibited if you go the App Store, and others are prohibited if you do not go the App Store.

And this will mean that the same small minority of Apple devotees can continue their love affair with limited developer support, limited applications library, and no way to upgrade & extend the useful life of that oh so fancy box.
Save the comments about Bootcamp being a wonderful way to use Windows. It's a crap virtual desktop that's very unstable & hogs system resources like iTunes.

Do you even hear yourself talk? Anyone who actually has OWNED OR OWNS a Mac knows that bootcamp is NOT a virtual environment for windows. Windows is installed separately from Mac, and runs in dual boot. All system resources are dedicated to windows and windows only.

Bootcamp is nothing more than a virtual machine inside MAC OS. I know enough IT pros (including at my own work) who have verified that. And yes it's crap.
I also noticed you ignored all the ready of my comments about lack of apps, developer support, & an expensive box that can't be upgraded. Nuff said.

@Rob-- dude, you're just wrong. Bootcamp launches the Mac as a basic whitebox intel machine, NOT a virtual machine. Try doing a little research before spouting off. You're thinking of VMware or Parrallels. Sheesh-- you're making us PC users look stupid!

I've read comments from IT guys who swore never to go Mac but when they did, they wish they would have done it sooner. A common thing I've seen is the upfront costs are higher, but saving money in the long run due to a more reliable system.

Hi Malcom:Please log a ticket in the spopurt area on our web site:The Lion updates for our games still need to be approved by Apple before they can become available at the Mac App Store, which is why your version lags behind the version we have available elsewhere. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about that, since Apple approves not only all apps but also all updates to apps.

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