Apple just announced OS X Mountain Lion version 10.8 is launching on July 25, 2012 and touts over 200 new features. Here’s a summary of some of the top features. If you are interested in upgrading, make sure you check out our post on what to do before you make the plunge.
Apple has integrated iCloud even more into Mountain Lion, giving you the ability to save your data from Mail, Documents, Notes, Messages, and Reminders into iCloud and sync with all your compatible devices. Users will have the ability to drag and drop documents into their iCloud folder. Add, delete, change anything and it automatically syncs.
While not Siri-enabled, Dictation will allow you to speak instead of typing. Composing an email or a text message? Just tap the Function key twice and start talking. Dictation learns your voice as you use it. Mentioning someone who is a contact in your Contacts folder will allow Dictation to spell their name properly. Dictation will be available in a number of languages.
Notes has been removed from Mail and exists as its own app giving you a place to jot down quick notes that can be synced over all your devices through iCloud. Notes on the Mac will include embedded images and better formatting. Notes will now support URLs and the ability to pin notes to your desktop for easy access.
Set up a reminder from one device and it syncs to all your devices. You can even set a location on your reminder and your iPad or iPhone will remind you when you get near the location.
Social Media Integration
Mountain Lion will integrate heavily with Twitter, Vimeo, and Flickr letting users share websites, videos, and pictures easily without leaving the app they’re in. An update to integrate with Facebook will come this fall. Apple’s applications (Safari, iPhoto, Photo Booth, etc…) will offer users a Tweet Sheet right inside the application letting you tweet and share images and links.
A major feature change, and one I’ve been looking forward to, Messages replaces iChat and allows the user to send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Mac with Mountain Lion using a phone number or email address. Messages will also sync to all your devices so you can continue conversations on any of your compatible devices. Messages will continue to support IM services such as Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo or Jabber.
The Notification Center is a long-awaited feature for some users. Just like in iOS on the iPad or iPhone, the Notification Center will contain all your notifications from applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Calendar, Mail, Messages, Game Center, FaceTime, etc… Similar to Growl, when a notification is received, a small box will appear in the top right corner and then fade away. Want to view them all? A simple swipe to the left will reveal a vertical bar giving you access to all your past notifications.
AirPlay Mirroring is a new feature that allows your Mac to stream its screen wirelessly to an Apple TV so you can share movies, TV shows, pictures, web pages, etc… with family and friends. AirPlay audio can also send your music and audio podcasts to AirPlay-enabled speakers.
Power Nap will allow the Mac to update itself as well as perform backups while it is sleeping. Power Nap is touted to be silent and power-efficient due to the fact that it is only available on laptops that contain solid state drives.
Gatekeeper is a new feature that adds extra security options for downloading apps to protect users from malware. Choosing maximum security features will only allow you to download from the App Store or you can choose to download apps from developers who have a signed Developer ID with Apple. As always, you can also choose an option to download whatever you feel is secure.
Safari will contain new iCloud tabs which will make it easier to leave your Mac and view your open tabs on your other devices. Also available is a new Tab View which will allow you to use gestures to switch between tabs as well as a private browsing feature similar to “Incognito” in Google Chrome. Apple did, however, remove RSS feed management from Safari, advising users to utilize an RSS app from the App Store.
Game Center is coming to the Mac. Now you can compete against your friends using the iOS Game Center on any of your Apple devices.
AutoSave will allow you to revert back to previously saved versions and will also bring back the Save As feature as well as adding keyboard shortcuts for Save As and Duplicate. AutoSave will integrate with iCloud allowing you to easily save a version in the cloud for storage and accessibility from other devices.
Apple has renamed iCal to Calendar (as in iOS) offering better search features and date picker functionality along with integration into the new Notification Center.
Launchpad will now add a search feature to find apps easier.
Along with notifications in the Notification Center, Mail now allows the ability to label important contacts as VIPs and will show email from VIPs in a “smart” mailbox in the favorites bar. Mail also adds more search options and sharing functionality.
In another iOS transition, Address Book has been renamed to Contacts and adds sharing options inside the contact fields.
Gone are the days of updating your OS from the Apple menu and your apps from the App Store. All updates now occur in the App Store and updates are automatically downloaded and ready for the user to install them.
Other features include:
- Ability to rename a document right from the title bar
- Improved scroll bars
- Ability to launch any app in full screen mode
- Photo Stream Screen Saver
- Drag and drop files in screen sharing
- Improved features for use in China
For a full feature list and more detailed explanations, check out the list over at Apple.
It’s evident Apple is slowly merging iOS and the Mac OS X together. With all these new features and changes, will you upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion?