Meet Mountain Lion [slideshow]

Mountain Lion
Synchronization is the glue binding together many of Mac OS X 10.8's top-line new features.  Apple claims 100 million iCloud users, which is surprisingly small considering the iOS install base is about three times larger. As I've often said, sync is the killer app for the connected era, and it's something Apple is baking into all its operating systems.

Synchronization is the glue binding together many of Mac OS X 10.8's top-line new features. Apple claims 100 million iCloud users, which is surprisingly small considering the iOS install base is about three times larger. As I've often said, sync is the killer app for the connected era, and it's something Apple is baking into all its operating systems.

Gatekeeper may be Mountain Lion's most important and controversial new feature. Apple will take more of a walled-garden, locked down approach to security, by compelling developers to accept assigned IDs and to distribute their wares through Mac App Store. Users are assured signed, safer software but they and developers will give up some freedom for security.

Gatekeeper may be Mountain Lion's most important and controversial new feature. Apple will take more of a walled-garden, locked down approach to security, by compelling developers to accept assigned IDs and to distribute their wares through Mac App Store. Users are assured signed, safer software but they and developers will give up some freedom for security.

Messages brings to Mac OS X the client in iOS 5. The app is available now, in beta, ahead of Mountain Lion's release. Installation replaces Lion's iChat. The feature relies heavily on sync to keep the message thread going. Start a message on the Mac and resume it on iPad or iPhone. Delivery and read receipts also are available.

Messages brings to Mac OS X the client in iOS 5. The app is available now, in beta, ahead of Mountain Lion's release. Installation replaces Lion's iChat. The feature relies heavily on sync to keep the message thread going. Start a message on the Mac and resume it on iPad or iPhone. Delivery and read receipts also are available.

We love to share stuff. Human beings are naturally social. Apple will add share buttons throughout OS X 10.8, much like iOS 5 today. Share Sheets connect to other web services, so that users can send photos to Flickr or videos to Vimeo, for example.

We love to share stuff. Human beings are naturally social. Apple will add share buttons throughout OS X 10.8, much like iOS 5 today. Share Sheets connect to other web services, so that users can send photos to Flickr or videos to Vimeo, for example.

China. "Huh?" you ask. "China is a feature?" Apparently it is, so to speak, or important enough for Apple to call out. China is Apple's second-most important market (next to North America) and the company is ready to sync with popular Chinese services, such as Mail, Calendar and Contacts with 126, 163 and QQ.  Share Sheets support video sharing from Youku and Tudou, and Baidu is search provider in Safari.

China. "Huh?" you ask. "China is a feature?" Apparently it is, so to speak, or important enough for Apple to call out. China is Apple's second-most important market (next to North America) and the company is ready to sync with popular Chinese services, such as Mail, Calendar and Contacts with 126, 163 and QQ. Share Sheets support video sharing from Youku and Tudou, and Baidu is search provider in Safari.

Notes' defining capability is sync. Apple focuses on content creation, bringing together text, photos, images, attachments and more, into one easy-to-create note. But the killer capability is iCloud sync among different devices.

Notes' defining capability is sync. Apple focuses on content creation, bringing together text, photos, images, attachments and more, into one easy-to-create note. But the killer capability is iCloud sync among different devices.

AirPlay Mirroring raises Apple TV's role as device for streaming content to big screens, whether that's watching video from the couch or making a presentation at the office.

AirPlay Mirroring raises Apple TV's role as device for streaming content to big screens, whether that's watching video from the couch or making a presentation at the office.

Tweet. Tweet. Mountain Lion joins iOS 5 with integrated Twitter, which third-party apps can tap into. The bird is fine, but what about Facebook?

Tweet. Tweet. Mountain Lion joins iOS 5 with integrated Twitter, which third-party apps can tap into. The bird is fine, but what about Facebook?

Reminders is another feature relying heavily on sync. Simply stated, this feature is a glorified to-do list.

Reminders is another feature relying heavily on sync. Simply stated, this feature is a glorified to-do list.

Game Center brings to Mac OS X capabilities already available to iOS 5 users. Everything hinges on the user's Apple ID, which lets other games know you're online and is identity for purchasing as well as playing games. Will this finally turn the Mac into a gaming platform? Call me skeptical.

Game Center brings to Mac OS X capabilities already available to iOS 5 users. Everything hinges on the user's Apple ID, which lets other games know you're online and is identity for purchasing as well as playing games. Will this finally turn the Mac into a gaming platform? Call me skeptical.

Mountain Lion Notification Center

On February 16, Apple unexpectedly released the OS X 10.8 developer preview and announced the software's availability some time in "late summer". Apple highlights 10 new features in Mountain Lion, the majority of which inherit capabilities from iOS 5 on iPad: AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center, Gatekeeper, iCloud, Messages, Notes, Notification Center, Reminders, Share Sheets and Twitter.

Apple also calls out support for cloud services in China, the company's second-most important market. Sync is among the most-important capabilities, which Apple will greatly extend in Mountain Lion. The company hasn't announced pricing, but Lion sold for $29.99. It's not unreasonable to expect similar pricing for Mountain Lion.

Funny aside that makes me wonder about Apple nomenclature: Gatekeeper. In the surprisingly still technology relevant 1995 thriller "The Net", a program called "Gatekeeper" has a starring role. The security software meant to protect computers from hackers is really a Trojan Horse for letting them in.

Founder of the software's developer, Gregg Microsystems, is really part of a diabolical group known as the Praetorians. The movie's climatic conclusion takes place during a computer show at the Moscone Center, which is where at bygone Macworld Expos Apple announced many new products.

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