Apple Unveils Its Next Big Cat to the World

By Sam Gibbs on at

It’s not just Apple’s new iMessages compatible iChat replacement you can test out right now; if you’re enrolled in the Apple developer’s program you can test the next big cat iteration of OS X, Mountain Lion, too. Continuing where Lion left off, Mountain Lion is going to be more like iOS than ever before.

 

iOS-ifaction

It’s not exactly a shock that Apple’s going down the iOS route. Mountain Lion takes the progress made in Lion and integrates even more apps and themes from Apple’s mobile platform. You’ve got Messages, Notes, Reminders and even Game Center now, complete with syncing between the two platforms over iCloud.

The iOS-ifcation doesn’t stop there; Notification Center has made it over too, which is bad news for the folks at Growl that’s for sure. Twitter integration is there too and AirPlay Mirroring, which is going to be awesome if you happen to have an Apple TV.

 

Walled garden

Taking the Mac App Store and running with it, Apple’s also pushing its iOS-like walled garden even further in OS X. Gatekeeper will apparently “keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac”. by allowing you to shut off installations of apps from anywhere else other than the Mac App Store. Thankfully though, it sounds like Apple’s making this an option only – apparently you’ll still be able to download and “install apps from any source”. Apple’s also touting some sort of Developer ID scheme that non-Mac App Store developers can use to authenticate their apps as genuine for GateKeeper, hopefully meaning that developers won’t all be forced into using Apple’s store.

 

iCloud

Apple’s blurb also calls Mountain Lion “the first OS X release built with iCloud in mind for easy setup and integration with apps”, so chances are almost everything will get iCloud syncing. If Apple really goes to town on iCloud within OS X, we could see the market for cloud storage and syncing services like my personal favourite Dropbox dry up on the Mac side – at least for those people who don’t use a PC or non-Apple mobile device.

The developer preview is out there now, so we’re sure to see lots more snippets and intricate details appear in the next few days. For me, Lion was a big update from Snow Leopard. It was faster, slicker and brought more gestures in that I really loved. Looking at what Apple’s doing with Mountain Lion I can only hope all this iOS-ifaction doesn’t ruin what is my favourite desktop OS of them all, because it really could. [Apple]