Apple’s bombshell of the month, for February, is OS X Mountain Lion, the latest iteration of the Mac’s aging OS, but with plenty of iOS-inspired eye candy.
Here are 18 new features (or changes) in OS X:
#18 – OS X: It’s no longer Mac OS X. It’s OS X. On your Mac.
#17 – Goodbye iChat: Hello, Messages. It’s instant messaging, AIM, Google Talk, iChat, and FaceTime all rolled into one.
#16 – Notification Center: Apple may have been late to the notification party on the iPhone, but seamless, built-in notifications are just a trackpad swipe away in OS X Mountain Lion. Say goodbye to Growl.
#15 – Share Sheets: iPhone and iPad have this nifty button which lets you share documents, web pages, news articles, photos, movies, et al, with just a click. The same sharing shows up on the Mac in OS X 10.8.
#14 – Twitter: Just like iOS, Twitter gets built in to the Mac. Oddly, no Facebook integration.
#13 – Game Center: It was just a matter of time. Game Center is a big hit with the millions of users and tens of thousands of games for iOS devices. Expect a surge of Game Center games in the Mac App Store by the holiday season.
#12 – AirPlay Mirroring from Mac: Oh, this is sweet. AirPlay through Apple TV on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If it plays on your Mac, it’ll play on your TV (if you have Apple TV).
#11 – Reminders: I don’t use Reminders, but they’re synchronized between Mac and iCloud and iDevices. And To-do items are missing in iCal, which becomes Calendar.
#10 – Notes: Finally, a notes system that’s worth something. Notes works on all devices and syncs seamlessly using iCloud, between the devices. This is a big deal.
#9 – Contacts: Address Book is gone. Now, just as in iOS, it’s Contacts. Maybe by the time OS X Mountain Lion ships, third party apps won’t be able to steal your contact data.
#8 – Safari: What? Apple copies Google? Yep. The URL address bar combines with a search field to become both at the same time. Safari can figure out the difference between a URL and a search term. Oh, and Safari tabs can be synced up via iCloud, too.
#7 – Gatekeeper The Malware Bleeper: Apple has a new tool to protect your Mac from malware. Choose a level of protection in System Preferences. Mac apps from the App Store. Certified third party apps (by trusted developers). Or, apps developed in back alleys by malware professionals. You choose.
#6 – The China Mac Syndrome: You won’t read much about this, but OS X Mountain Lion is China friendly. Mail, Calendar, and Contacts all work with top online services in China. It’s math. How long before most of Apple’s business comes from China?
#5 – Software Update, Meet Mac App Store: It used to be that Software Update would get us the latest Apple Mac apps. Now it gets us all apps from the Mac App Store, plus Apple’s apps.
#4 – iCloud: With 100-million users already, iCloud is a big hit. And, unlike MobileMe’s forgettable launch, iCloud seems to work. Mac apps will have access to store documents on your iCloud account.
#3 – New Macs Only: Say goodbye to your old Mac if you want OS X Mountain Lion. Apple’s updated list brings the end of life upgrade to a bunch of Macs just a couple of years old.
#2 – It’s An iOS World: Gone are typical Mac terminology such as iCal and Address Book. New are Calendar and Contacts. The segregation between Mac and Apple’s other devices is about to disappear.
#1 – Multitasking: Alright, I’m cheating just to get to 18, but your Mac will still multitask, while your iPhone and iPad won’t. At least, not true multitasking the way Mac and Windows PC users understand the term. It doesn’t matter much anyway, because we’re single tasking creatures.
What happened to Siri, Apple’s popular iPhone intelligent assistant? Siri won’t show up in OS X 10.8. Apple probably needs to roll out Siri access to third party app developers before it will show up on the Mac.