WWDC 2012, the 2012 edition of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, is going outstandingly at San Francisco with the introduction of many great products. Apple has uncovered several new products in the event, including the latest version of its PC firmware dubbed as ‘OS X Mountain Lion’ and the latest version of its famous mobile OS, ‘iOS 6’. Mac OS X Mountain Lion is a successor of last year’s release Mac OS X Lion, which was the first Mac OS and completely downloadable over the Mac App Store. At the WWDC event, Apple finally announced that its ninth release of OS X ‘Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion’ is set to be released in this July. This latest version will also be completely downloadable over the Mac App Store like its previous version but with a price tag of US$19.99, which is $10 cheaper (more than 30 % cheaper) than the previous version, Lion.
A lot of Mountain Lion features have already been demonstrated by Apple in February. There are above 200 new features and 1,700 new APIs, which make the Mountain Lion an excellent operating system for PCs. Apple’s forthcoming desktop operating system, Mac OS X Mountain Lion, will come packed with many new features from Apple’s popular iOS mobile operating system. This latest OS will make Mac PCs to work more like iPhone devices as it narrows the gap between the phone and PC software packages with the integration of iCloud, a new Messages app, an enhanced Notification Center, Facebook and Twitter integration, location-based Reminders and Notes, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center, a new Safari with Power Nap feature, Dictation etc.
So, it’s a time to have a look at the new features in Mountain Lion:
iCloud, the latest Internet storage service intended for the mobile devices, is at the center stage of latest OS X Mountain Lion. The Mountain Lion is integrated with iCloud features like the ability to sync your documents across Mac and mobile iOS devices. For instance, all documents that you create in Pages or TextEdit can be saved automatically in your iCloud account and can be shared across all your devices. You can also drag and drop your documents easily to the iCloud for easy access on your Mac or iOS device. Reminders, Notes, and Messages will also be included in the iCloud sync. It will be easier than ever to set up your Contacts, Mail, Messages, Calendar, Notes and Reminders by means of your iCloud account. All you have to do is login in with your Apple ID and iCloud will automatically be set up in all the apps. You will be enabled to always access and edit your documents on any device as the documents in cloud works with iCloud-enabled apps, such as Apple’s iWork suite.
System-wide Sharing feature
There is a new system-wide Sharing feature, which will facilitate the users to share links, files, images, and videos to third-party social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, and Flickr. A Share button has been included in most apps within OS X Mountain Lion, which allows the users to bookmark links on their browser, to add links or pages in their reading list, send them via iMessage or Messages, e-mail or tweet them out. You will be required to sign in once into your third-party social networks, that’s it. You can share your contents quickly by clicking the Share button, without any need of switching to another app. Twitter and Facebook are integrated with Notification Center therefore you can get notifications when somebody mentions you in a tweet, post or sends you a message.
The SMS text messaging on the iPad and iPhone has been replaced with a free platform named iMessage by Apple in iOS 5. iMessage enables the Apple users to freely send each other text, images, and videos from any iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The “Messages” app in the latest OS X 10.8 replaces iChat and works essentially as iMessage for the Mac. It lets the users to send free and unlimited text messages from a Mac to anyone having another Mac or an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, allowing users to keep on their conversations on any Apple device. Similar to the iMessage, here the users are also facilitated to send rich text, locations, contacts, images, and even 1080p HD video to their buddies. This feature even includes delivery and read receipts, group messaging, secure end-to-end encryption and typing indicators. Moreover, this service also supports FaceTime along with other instant messaging systems like Yahoo!, AIM, and Google Talk; thereby, the users can pick up their chats regardless of where they have started.
Apple introduced the Notification Center to the iPhone and iPad to solve the annoyance of interruption in user’s activities by means of new texts and app alerts, which pop directly in the middle of the screen. The Notification Center had made it possible to provide notifications into small bars at the top of the device’s screen shortly and thereby solved the annoyance of interruption in user’s activities. And now, Apple included this Notification Center in its latest Mac OS X Mountain Lion to enable the users to stay up-to-date across all of their devices. The Mac Notification Center comes out on the right side of the screen by swiping the Mac trackpad from right to left using 2 fingers. Notification Center allows the notifications from apps such as Messages, Calendar, Mail, Reminders, Game Center and other downloadable third-party apps from the Mac App Store. As with iOS Notification Center system, users have an ability to opt for the apps from which they want alerts, as well users can simply hide the Notification Center by a simple swipe.
There is a built-in Facebook support in the Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion software. After login to their account just one time, the users will have an ability to sync their Contacts with the profile photos from Facebook to post content – text, images and links – on their own or others’ Walls straight from the app and to get notifications over the Notification Center.
Apple is going to provide the deep Twitter integration on Mac with the latest OS X Mountain Lion to offer the desktop users with an ability to tweet out directly through apps such as Photo Booth, Safari or iPhoto. Similar to the iOS 5, a “Tweet Sheet” with a paper clip appears over any attached photo or website and the users are enabled to write their comment, include a location if they want, and send it out from there. It is very easy, user-friendly and fast.
As said above, apple is carrying a lot of great features from the mobile experience to the Mac with the Mountain Lion. Safari has become a big hit on the iPhone and iPad device and this browser accounts 2/3rd of all mobile web traffic. But, the new edition of Safari for Mac will integrate only one search bar for web addresses and search terms. Beside that, the experience seems just like iOS. The Tab View will enable users to see their webpages in open tabs that can be swiped to switch between them. The feature named iCloud Tabs further makes the browsing experience from mobile to Mac much more straightforward. iCloud Tabs feature memorizes where you were on one device and then automatically synchronizes it to the others, whether you have an iPhone or iPad. One of the greatest features of the new Safari for Mountain Lion is the aptitude to read pages from your Reading List without the need of Internet connection.
Apple has introduced a feature called “Power Nap” inside the latest Mac software, which automatically updates your Mail, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, Documents, Reminders and other information in iCloud, like Find My Mac and Photo Stream. This feature will keep your Mac updated even when it is in power-saving “sleep” mode. As long as the Mac is plugged in, it can automatically download software updates and also back up information via Time Machine.
The app Reminders was introduced as a new app by Apple in the iOS 5 OS. This app enables the users to create virtual reminders on their Apple devices to remind them to do something upon arriving at a specific place or at a specific time, which is carried out through text notification. With the OS X Mountain Lion, users have an ability to better organize and to set reminders over their Macs, which are then synchronized across all devices through iCloud.
Apple has introduced an all new Notes application on the Mac, which allows the users to search and create notes in a clean and user-friendly interface. Until now, Mac users were using the app called Stickies, which enable them to create virtual multi-colored sticky notes and set them all over the computer screen. But this app does not provide an ability to search the notes or organize them efficiently. The new Notes application on the Mac OS X Mountain Lion has changed this annoyance, and this app is also set to be offered on the iPhone and iPad with the same name. The users will also have an opportunity to add rich text, formatted lists, bullet points links, photos and movies to their notes.
Game Center was introduced by Apple for iOS 5 to facilitate the users to organize and track their progress, particularly comparing it with other users playing the same game on their Apple devices. Game Center enables users to create accounts, to keep track of their achievements and awards in games and to compete with other users. And now, Apple has launched the Game Center for Mac with the Mountain Lion OS to let the desktop users to play turn-based and games head-to-head against buddies and contenders on any Mac or iOS device such as iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This app also assists the users to find Game Center players across the world to play against, to suggest games that users might like and to offer a leaderboard of the top players in every game.
Apple has brought in a new security feature named Gatekeeper for the Mac. This app will ensure the safety and security of your device and it will let you know that whatever app you are installing from the Mac App Store can be trustworthy. Gatekeeper is a Developer Program, which provides every developer a distinctive ID and digital signature on their apps. The Mac perceives and recognizes this digital signature and knows that the app has not been tampered with or does not contain malware. If the preferences of users do not match their current needs, they can even override their own settings for the short term by Control-clicking the app and installing it. This app also lets Mac users to manage what apps they install and use. More optional security features are included for providing the user more control over their security and privacy, for example, disabling automatic login or necessitating a password for a screen saver and sleep.
Airplay Mirroring was one of the greatest features on iOS 5, which has an aptitude to mirror whatever on your iPhone 4S or iPad straightly on a television connected to an Apple TV. All in all, iPhone 4S and iPad users can display slideshows, presentations, websites, photos, and movies onto a larger television screen flawlessly and wirelessly. This incredible feature has been included in the Mac OS X Mountain Lion to facilitate users to stream spreadsheets, presentations, videos, or anything on their desktop screen straightly on their television sets.
Dictation is a built-in Mountain Lion app, which third-party developers would like to make use of. The software will discover your voice characteristics and convert your dictated words in texts. So there is no need to type, whether you are using an app from a third-party developer or Apple.
As it has a massive base in Asia, Apple has included support for a lot of Chinese features and services in Mountain Lion, including an improved text input and the whole Chinese dictionary. An improved text input will let the users to type in Chinese easier, faster, and considerably more accurate. Baidu, China’s leading search engine, is an integrated option for Safari. Furthermore, the Mountain Lion is also accessible with mail services like QQ, 126 and 163. Identical to the Twitter and Facebook integration, Chinese users will have an ability to post directly from the Web to diverse apps, including Chinese Twitter equivalent dubbed “Sina Weibo”, and video apps like Tudou and Youku.