Apple’s newest operating system for Mac computers, OSX 10.8, also known as Mountain Lion, went on sale today. Although the upgrade is only minimally different than the current Mac operating system, Lion, it is monumental in it’s new features. As promised, the software brings Macs and iPads closer together than ever before. If all of the new features below look familiar to you, they are. You’ve already got them on your iPad.
Notification Center– If you’ve gotten used to getting second-by-second notifications from your iPad about emails, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, news, game statuses, and appointments, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be getting that familiar chime right from your Mac now too. Some built-in apps that will have notification compatibility on the Mac include Facebook and Twitter. Facebook will not be ready to launch until the fall, but it will allow users to see status updates and send posts right from the notification center with a single click. Twitter will let users get notifications every time someone replies or Direct Messages and also has the one-click post feature. With Chrome and Safari integration, users will now be able to receive email alerts as soon as they are sent.
Documents in the Cloud– With Apple’s iCloud integration, users were able to store documents, pictures, music and other important bits of information “in the cloud.” With OSX 10.8, you’ll be able to store everything between mobile devices and your Mac. It keeps your mail, calendars, contacts, reminders, documents, notes and more protected in a universal storage unit that you can use to add, delete or edit from your Mac, iPad or iPhone. It looks like we’re going to have to finally spend the bucks to upgrade our storage capacity in iCloud.
Reminders, Notes and Messages– Apple’s native productivity apps, Reminders and Notes will now be integrated with your Mac. You can add reminders on your iPad and check them off on your MacBook Air. With Reminders, you can make lists, set due dates and get reminder alerts. With Notes, you can jot down your thoughts, add images, share notes through email or iMessages and store them in the cloud. Speaking of iMessages, your Mac laptop or desktop will now be compatible with the communication device. You can send and receive messages with anyone using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 5 or higher. Messages will appear on your Mac, iPhone and iPad all at the same time, so no matter where you are or what you are doing, you’ll be in touch with friends and family.
AirPlay– If you’ve got a second or third-generation Apple TV, then you’ll be happy to know that Mountain Lion will support AirPlay. That means you’ll be able to watch videos, visit websites, share presentation and more right from your Mac. Using AirPlay’s mirroring feature, you’ll be able to view just about everything your computer can show. Now, you’ll finally be able to watch all of those episodes of Game of Thrones you ripped from the Internet directly on your big screen TV.
Dictation– The third-generation iPad came with a partial version of Siri in that you could talk to your iPad and it would dictate the words. With Mountain Lion, users will be able to take advantage of the dictation feature right on their Mac. Dictation converts your words into text with the built-in microphone on your computer. All you have to do is start speaking into it. No set-up necessary. Anyone who has tried to use Dictation on the iPad will know that it is still a little rough around the edges, but the program will learn your voice characteristics and even correctly spell names from your contacts list. Currently, Dictation only supports English, French, German, and Japanese.
Game Center– If you are a big gamer on your computer, you’ll finally be able to keep track of your Game Center status from your Mac instead of always having to find it on your iPad. All of your Game Center apps and your status for each is stored for easy access. You can view the leaderboards, check your worldwide rankings, play multiplayer games with friends and even start random games with strangers for apps that are compatible. It’s just like using the iPad, only with a bigger screen. I wonder if you can send Game Center games to your Apple TV with AirPlay? I’m going to have to go check that out right now.