We saw a fair amount of OS X Mountain Lion when Apple dropped its developer preview a few months ago. And not only will the £14 download bring all the iOS-ified features promised to all the OS X machines you own, it will also serve up more than 1700 new APIs, added iCloud functionality, a redesigned Safari, Siri-like dictation capabilities, along an all new feature — Power Nap.
Power Nap is the OS X method of connecting to an open network when the lid is closed, then backing up your hard drive and refreshing app data — presumably tweets and emails — all while the computer is asleep. It's power-efficient, which your battery is certain to appreciate, and will work with second-generation MacBook Air's, as well as the next-gen MacBook Pros with Retina Display.
The iCloud functionality has already been documented, working to sync notes, calendars, reminders, messages, email, music and more, but there's a new one added today: Documents. Documents in the Cloud has already been available for iOS devices, but will now be integrated into the desktop platform as well. There's also a new feature called iCloud Tab, which will show other tabs that are open on other Apple devices, ensuring you're synced up across the web.
Dictation is said to be integrated throughout the OS, and will be integrated everywhere, including notification centre (think along the lines of responding to tweets and emails with your voice).
Safari, meanwhile, has been redesigned to function much like Google's Chrome browser. That means the search and URL boxes have been integrated into a single field. Safari also has new functionality called TabView, which will splay out all your tabs expose style. Apple claims that the new Safari is faster than its competitors, including Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
The main goal of the Mountain Lion update will be to bridge the gap between the traditional interface of OS X, and the touch-friendly design of iOS without forcing either operating system to run on a set of hardware it wasn't designed for. The two platforms will share features such as Notes, Calendar, Notifications, Reminders, Messages and iCloud, but will very much remain separate entities in both its user-facing design and technical underpinnings. This is something of a contrast to what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with Windows 8, which was designed to run on tablets and PCs alike, with few tweaks made to the actual software.
For those who plan to buy a new Mac today, don't fret — the Mountain Lion upgrade will be free when it comes out later in July. Oh and if you're a developer, plan on seeing an all new preview build later today.
Image via Ars Technica.
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US press release below (not all details confirmed for us Brits):
SAN FRANCISCO—June 11, 2012— Apple today announced that OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, will be available in July as a download from the Mac App Store. Mountain Lion introduces more than 200 innovative features including the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration*, Dictation, Power Nap, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper. With iCloud built into the foundation of OS X, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to keep your content up to date across all your devices.
“The pace of innovation on the Mac is amazing, OS X Mountain Lion comes just a year after the incredibly successful launch of Lion,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With iCloud built right in and the new Notification Center, Messages, Dictation, Facebook integration and more, this is the best OS X yet.”
Using your iCloud account, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes. The new Reminders and Notes apps help you remember important tasks and jot down your thoughts quickly, while iCloud automatically keeps everything up to date. Documents in the Cloud works with iCloud-enabled apps including Apple’s iWork suite so you can always access and edit your documents on any device.
The new Messages app replaces iChat and brings iMessage to the Mac, so you can send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or another Mac. You can include attachments, high quality photos and HD video, and your iMessages appear on all your devices so you can pick up a conversation right where you left off. iMessage includes group messaging, delivery and read receipts, typing indicators and secure end-to-end encryption. The Messages app also supports traditional instant messaging services, including AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Jabber.
Mountain Lion streamlines the presentation of notifications, and with Notification Center you can see all your notifications from OS X and third party apps in one convenient place. You can customise which apps send you notifications, the type of notification you receive, and how many items are shown in Notification Center. When you want to focus on your work or watch a movie, you can choose to temporarily suspend all notifications.
New system-wide Sharing is built into Mountain Lion, making it easier than ever to share links, photos, videos and other files. Clicking the Share button allows you to share quickly without having to switch to another app, and you just need to sign in once to use third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo. Facebook and Twitter are integrated with Notification Center so you can receive notifications when someone sends you a message or mentions you in a post or Tweet.
With built-in support for Facebook, you can post photos, links and comments with locations right from your apps. Once you’ve signed in, your Facebook friends automatically appear in Contacts with their profile photos. Your Facebook notifications work with Notification Center in Mountain Lion, and you can even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center.
Dictation is built into Mountain Lion and allows you to dictate text anywhere you can type, whether you’re using an app from Apple or a third party developer. Mountain Lion also introduces Power Nap, an innovative new feature that keeps your MacBook Pro with Retina display and MacBook Air (second and third generation) up to date while it sleeps. Power Nap automatically refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud, and when plugged in, downloads software updates and backs up your Mac using Time Machine.
The revolutionary new Gatekeeper feature makes downloading software from the Internet safer by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from anywhere, just as you do today, or for maximum security you can set Gatekeeper to allow only apps from the Mac App Store. The default setting allows you to install apps from the Mac App Store and apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. In addition to checking daily for security updates, Mountain Lion includes app sandboxing to keep misbehaving apps from compromising your system, and kernel ASLR for improved protection against buffer overflow attacks.
Additional new features in Mountain Lion include:
• AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send an up-to-1080p secure stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV, or send audio to a receiver or speakers that use AirPlay;
• Game Center, which brings the popular social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so you can enjoy live, multiplayer games with friends whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch;
• a faster Safari with a unified Smart Search Field, iCloud Tabs that present your open tabs across your devices, and a new Tab View to quickly swipe through them;
• new features for China, including significantly improved text input, a new Chinese Dictionary, easy setup with popular email providers, Baidu search in Safari, built-in sharing to Sina Weibo and popular video websites Youku and Tudou; and
• over 1,700 new APIs that give developers access to the latest core OS and web technologies, as well as the newest features of OS X, including Documents in the Cloud, Notifications, Sharing and Game Center.
Pricing & Availability
OS X Mountain Lion will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99 (US)**. Mountain Lion requires Lion or Snow Leopard (OS X v10.6.8 or later), 2GB of memory and 8GB of available space. For a complete list of system requirements and compatible systems, please visit: apple.com/uk/osx/specs/. OS X Server requires Mountain Lion and will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99 (US). The OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date upgrade is available at no additional charge via the Mac App Store to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorised Reseller on or after June 11, 2012.
*Facebook integration will be available in an upcoming software update to Mountain Lion.
**Local pricing available closer to launch.