Mac OS X Mountain Lion: 10 Features Apple Users Need to Check Out

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-07-11

Mac OS X Mountain Lion: 10 Features Apple Users Need to Check Out

Mac OS X Mountain Lion has officially turned gold, meaning it€™s nearing its launch in the Mac App Store. The Apple operating system will retail for just $19.99, and come with a host of improvements€”200 in all€”that today€™s Mac users will be more than happy to find. From better security to some nice, iOS-like additions, the operating system seems poised for great things.

But for users who don€™t know much about Mountain Lion, determining why the operating system might be so appealing isn€™t so easy. With that in mind, it€™s a good idea to take a look at some of the features that will make the operating system something worth looking forward to. Granted, Mountain Lion is not a major update over its predecessor, but it€™s a notable one.

In order to find out which features really matter the most to Mac OS X users, eWEEK looks at 10 specific improvements within Mountain Lion.

1. Gatekeeper

For enterprise users, especially, Gatekeeper could be one of the most important additions to Mountain Lion. According to the company, Gatekeeper will maximize the platform€™s security and make it nearly impervious to outside risk. Of course, whether it€™ll actually be able to live up to that remains to be seen.

2. An iOS flavor

Apple has realized that it should start combining some of the functions of each of its operating systems in order to make them more appealing on a wide scale. So, to do that, the company has integrated a host of iOS functions into Mountain Lion, including expanded multitouch, a Siri-like voice-dictation service and Notification Center.

3. Notification Center

Speaking of Notification Center, it might just prove to be one of the more appealing additions to Mountain Lion. With it, users will be receiving all kinds of alerts from programs, including updates to social networks and emails. Basically, a feature Notification Center users have come to enjoy on iOS is making its way to the Mac.

4. iMessage

Apple€™s messaging platform, iMessage, is also coming to Mountain Lion. With it, users will be able to instant message iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad owners, and extend the way in which they communicate with others. Expect iMessage to be a widely used addition to the operating system.

With Each Mountain Lion Launch, Apple Delivers Better Performance

5. Improved performance

With each new Mountain Lion launch, Apple delivers better acceleration, among other improvements, to ensure that the operating system performs more responsively to a user€™s inputs. With Mountain Lion, expect to find better overall performance than in Lion and other previous iterations of the software.

6. The great digital download

Apple€™s decision to once again toss aside disks for a digital download is more than welcome. Digital downloads of operating systems make just about everything easier. And in the long run, they will be the only way software is acquired. It€™s nice to see Apple leading that charge.

7. Working while it€™s asleep

Mountain Lion will ship with a feature it calls Power Nap, according to Apple. Even when the Mac is sleeping, Mountain Lion will update applications, install software updates and more. Basically, Power Nap is designed to increase productivity and limit the impact of updates slowing down computers when users need them most.

8. Social integration

Social integration has become a key feature in all Apple operating systems. And with Mountain Lion, users will find both Twitter and Facebook integration across the platform. From having Facebook friends in the Contacts list to being able to tweet out just about anything from the operating system€™s applications, social integration could be a useful addition to Mountain Lion.

9. Built-in sharing between apps

One of the hallmarks of Apple€™s additions to Mountain Lion is built-in sharing. With it, applications will come with the ability to easily and quickly share information between two programs. The feature will be built into all native applications, of course, but it should also find its way to third-party programs.

10. Say hello to AirPlay

For enterprise users, the iPad€™s support of AirPlay, which sends the device€™s screen to a television, was a welcome addition. But now, that feature is coming to Macs. So, when users want to see their screen on a big-screen television, they can simply send it over to a set. But beware: It€™ll require an Apple TV to work on a television.

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