While Windows-based operating systems continue to dominate the business landscape, Apple is working on bringing enhanced productivity features, social media integration and security upgrades to its latest operating system, Mountain Lion OS X. For small-business owners who prefer Macs for their ease-of-use, design capabilities or portability, Mountain Lion offers some new features that can help midmarket companies increase productivity and keep critical documents secure from growing threats like Web-based malicious software, while at the same time connecting them to the cloud with greater ease.
Social Media and Communication
In addition to a new Messages app, which replaces iChat and allows users to send unlimited messages, photos and videos directly from one Mac to another Mac or iOS device, Mountain Lion also features Twitter integration. The social media service is integrated throughout Mountain Lion, allowing users to sign on once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and third-party apps.
These features are particularly useful to small businesses that require daily collaboration in the office and are looking to expand their online marketing presence. According to a recent Valpak survey, 57 percent of small businesses surveyed plan to use social media marketing in 2012 (an increase of 7 percent from the prior year).
As more small businesses turn to cloud computing to reduce costs and increase the availability of company data and documents, Apples new OS helps midmarket companies easily connect to the cloud. Mountain Lion makes it possible to set up iCloud and access documents across devices by using your Apple ID to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. In addition, iCloud Documents pushes any changes to all your devices so documents are always up to date.
Small-business owners know that even one security breach could mean the end of their company. Data security and protection from Web-based threats (particularly potentially harmful applications) should be a top priorityif it isn't already. Gatekeeper gives you control over which apps can be downloaded and installed on your Mac. For maximum security, you can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be downloaded and installed. In addition, IT managers can use the safer default setting to install apps from the Store, along with apps from developers who have a unique developer ID from Apple.
Even though small businesses are slowly beginning to hire again, due to the economic instability that persists, many companies are trying to squeeze more productivity out of the employees they currently have. Mountain Lion presents notifications in a new way, and Notification Center provides access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third-party apps. Reminders and Notes help users create and track your to-dos across all devices used by the business.
Hundreds of new application programming interfaces (APIs) give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X. A new graphics infrastructure underpins OpenGL and OpenCL and implements GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, to make it easier to create OpenGL apps, and Kernel address space layout randomization (ASLR) improves security through enhanced mitigation against buffer overflow attacks.