OS 10.7 Lion was released just 7 months ago and in a shocking move, Apple announced OS 10.8 Mountain Lion today. When I first heard about this from the tech sites this morning I actually thought it might be a joke or parody. However, when I got to work. sure enough Apple had a web page dedicated to the forthcoming OS. It has been awhile since Apple announced anything that didn’t have some kind of a leak, so in that regard it was nice to be surprised by Apple again. The update appears to be incremental just like the one from Leopard to Snow Leopard. In my opinion, the main focus seems to be more about adding some of those missing links of getting data between your iOS devices onto your computer with iCloud. They’ve added messages, reminders, notes, game center, sheets, and twitter integration. All of these were on iOS devices first, but they are a welcomed addition.
I’m looking forward to all of these. but the ones that I’m most excited about are the new messages app that replaces iChat, and airplay for the mac. The main change with the messages app is that you can now send and receives iMessages on your computer. An iMessage is basically a free text between your iOS devices. Before iOS 5, I used google voice for my main texting. It had a nice web interface on the computer that you could use for this same type of functionality. However, I always preferred the text messaging app built into the iPhone, so when iMessage came along I switched over to using that among the people that I knew that had iPhones. However, I missed that when I heard my phone buzz, I couldn’t just see my message on my computer and reply from there. Instead I had to reply on my iPhone or iPad. Now, I have the ability to reply to iMessages right on my Mac. The great thing is that this program is available today in Beta form, which can be installed on Lion, so I’m using it right now.
The other feature I’m excited about, is Airplay. With the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, airplay allowed you to send the entire screen of those devices to an Apple TV. Now, they are adding that ability to the Mac as well. So basically you can send a game, movie, presentation, etc over to your T.V. Gone are the days of having to hook up cables, figuring out resolutions, etc to get your computer to display properly on a T.V.
Apple has stated that Mountain Lion will be available this Summer, so roughly a year after Lion was released. There is some speculation that they might even make it free, but even if it stays at the $29 price of Lion, I don’t see a reason not to upgrade.
Here’s the link again to see some more screenshots and some of the other details as to what is new.