For those with access to a developer account, you can download a Developer Preview of OS X Mountain Lion. Almost everything that will feature in the final version of Mountain Lion, is in the Developer Preview.
We’ve already given you a lowdown on the most important changes in Mountain Lion most of which are features taken from iOS. He we take a more in-depth look at the key new features and changes.
A Share Button has been added to Safari’s URL bar for reading later, add to bookmarks, e-mail, or twitter.
Password Tabs allows you to see passwords saved in Safari.
Omnibar is an added feature to Google Chrome in Mountain Lion. It integrates the address bar and search box including Google searches, favorites and history.
Messages replaces iChat. Lion users can already try the beta version of Messages which is the same as iMessage on iOS. However, the final version will only work on Mountain Lion when it is released. Amongst other things, Messages offers unlimited free iMessages, videoconferencing with Facetime and photo/file sending.
Time Machine now allows you to select more than one hard drive to save backups.
Software updates are now fully integrated with the Mac App Store and can be downloaded directly.
Game Center is the same as on iOS. Gaming is becoming increasingly important on OS X and Game Center allows you to download games, play against friends and save your progress.
iCloud Synchronization is far more extensive in Mountain Lion than Lion where synchronization is limited to favorites and history. Mountain Lion extends the capabilities of Mountain Lion allowing the synchronization of documents too.
Mail. Contacts and Calender are all in sync thanks to iCloud in Mountain Lion and you can now configure it Microsoft Exchange, Gmail and Yahoo!, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo and AOL accounts.
Other surprises in Mountain Lion
– The screensaver now includes the option to create iPhoto style presentations
– Screen Sharing allows you to easily share your screen with other Mountain Lion users.
– Printing has been simplified.
– Searching for words in the dictionary is simpler. Three clicks have been replaced by one.
– Preview now supports formulas.
– Launchpad and Dashboard include a search tool.
– Mail includes a Safari style search tool but ditches support for RSS feeds
– X11 goes the same way as Java: you have to install it separately
The last major change to OS X was OS X 10.5 Leopard. It was followed by a faster and more subtly improved Snow Leopard 10.6. OS X 10.7 Lion was then released in summer 2011 with most major changes related to how you control OS X via a Trackpad to create a more iOS experience. Everything then points towards the fact that Apple are likely to release a new OS X once a year, the same as iOS for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with OS X moving closer and closer to iOS with each release. Considering that the price of each OS X update has come down too, it’s foreseeable that future versions of OS X will be downloaded for free like iOS.
Naturally, this increasing move towards iOS will delight those that love iOS. Those that prefer their mobile device and Mac to be treated as mainly separate user experiences, may not be so enthusiastic.
What do you think of the new features in Mountain Lion? Do you like the integration of iOS features into OS X, or would you like to see more radical innovation in OS X?