Apple has announced the release of OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion as a preview for developers. the successor to OS X 10.7 Lion has just been released for download. OS X Mountain lion brings over 100 new features such as Messages, Game Center, Notification Center, Twitter integration, Notes, Reminders, and AirPlay Mirroring. Being a dev build, OS X Mountain Lion can only be downloaded by Mac Developer Program members. A public launch is scheduled for late summer this year.
Interestingly, Apple has dropped the word ‘Mac’ from its desktop operating system. OS X 10.7 was “Mac OS X 10.7″, formally, while OS X 10.8 is simply “OS X 10.8″.
Apple is retiring its popular iChat messaging, in favor of “Messages”. The new message client is capable of sending a variety of multimedia, including documents, photos, and HD movies, with a maximum file size of 100 MB from one Mac to another Mac or any of your iOS driven device – iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The messages are encrypted and support receipt notification, to let you know when your friend received that message. The Message app takes now adds user avatars (pictures) next to the traditional “speech bubble” message graphical style. Messages will continue to support AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk, however.
With OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple is also launching GameCenter to OS X which will allow you to play multi-player games against users on iPhones, iPod touch and iPads. Other nifty features (yet important) includes Notes and Reminders (a to-do-list app). You will be able to pin the reminders or notes to your desktop for quick access.
In the developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, Apple has also introduced Gatekeeper, a path breaking security feature which gives you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac or from which sources apps may be installed – keeping you safe from malicious software attack.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is tightly integrated with iCloud which automatically configure Mail, FaceTime, and Find My Mac, and syncs the documents across all Apple devices, so documents are always up to date. Mountain lion build also introduces ‘AirPlay Mirroring’, which allows you to wirelessly send a 720p video stream from your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV.
Finally, Mountain Lion will feature improved support for Chinese too. Apple has made the Baidu.com, the search homepage for Chinese Macs. It also includes Share Sheets support for Chinese websites such as Sina Weibo (similar to Facebook/Twitter), Youku (video hosting), and Tudou (video hosting).
You must use a 64-bit, Intel-based Mac running either Mac OS X v10.6.7 Snow Leopard or OS X Lion and have at least 8GB of free disk space to install the OS. The list of supported Macs includes:
iMac (mid 2007 or later)
MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, 2.4/2.2 GHz), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
Xserve (Early 2009)