Apple's Mac OS X "Mountain Lion" incorporates even more features from iOS, again emphasizing the company’s "mobility first" strategy.
whipped the curtain back from Mac OS X "Mountain Lion," the next
version of its Mac operating system.
arrive this summer, Mountain Lion incorporates a number of features that first
appeared on Apple's iOS operating system for mobile devices. Prominent among
them: iCloud, which syncs user data (including mail, calendars, contacts and
documents) between devices via the cloud. The new Messages feature allows Mac
users to send unlimited messages to iOS devicesan expansion of the iMessage
platform that debuted with iOS 5. Game Center, another iOS original, comes to
the Mac with much of its functionality intact: users can play games (and
compare high scores) with their friends.
Notes, two other longtime iOS apps, will also appear on the Mac. Both will
leverage iCloud to keep everything up-to-date. That's in addition to a
Notification Center that consolidates emails, instant messages, friend requests
and calendar alerts into a single integrated hub.
new Gatekeeper feature allows users to choose from three granular security
options. You can choose to download and run applications from anywhere on the
Web ('just as in OS X Lion,' Apple helpfully pointed out on its Website
alternatively, you can download and run apps from either the Mac App Store or
those with a Developer ID; or you can select the top setting, which lets users
only download and run apps from the Mac App Store.
For some time,
Apple has increasingly positioned itself as a "mobile first" company.
Successive editions of Mac OS X have embraced this philosophy; the current
version, Lion, incorporated an app store clearly derived from the one available
for iOS. Nor is that evolution toward mobile limited to software; Apple's
MacBook Air, now its entry-level notebook, embraces a slim-and-light ethos that
brings it more in line, aesthetically, with a tablet than the bulky laptops
that defined the industry for so long.
Lion's release schedule remains on track, it will arrive months ahead of its
next big opponent, Microsoft's Windows 8. As with Mountain Lion, Windows 8 also
embraces mobile-centric features: in addition to a "start" screen of
colorful tiles linked to applications (the better for operating on tablets),
the platform will include an app store and under-the-hood tweaks meant to
optimize battery life and wireless connectivity. In the battle for the future,
it seems, mobility is king.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter