Most of the news surrounding Apple lately has been centered on the upcoming release of both the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3, but today we are got a surprise sneak peek at the new Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion”. This release is basically just a developer preview to get programmers for new softwares up to speed on the new technologies and changes that will be incorporated into OS X 10.8, as the customer release won’t happen until sometime in August or September of 2012.
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will not be a “major” change like the transition from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.7 Lion. Apple is not really changing and fundamentals that could make the decision to change a difficult one, instead Mountain Lion is more of an evolution of the 10.7 Lion. The main focus has been to take some of the technologies that were developed for the iPad and iPad 2 and mesh them well with the Macs and iCloud. Lion takes the goal of integrating iCloud services into its entire product line just a bit closer to the end goal for Apple.
One of the major add on’s for Mountain Lion will be the direct integration with Twitter. Mountain Lion users will be able to tweet directly from within application, without having to launch a separate Twitter client. Also many of the standard Apple applications such as Safari, Photo Booth and iPhoto will get a new “Tweet Sheet” that will enable users to create tweets and share from within the app.
Another feature new to Mountain Lion, and very similar to the Tweet Sheet will be the new Share Sheets. Mountain Lion applications including things like Safari, Mail, Reminders and Messages will have a Share menu with prompts to be able to send the current Web Page, photo, message, or any other item directly to other applications without the need the copy and paste. The Share Sheet will also be context aware, so for instance a video will offer the ability to upload to You-Tube and a photo will be able to be shared on Flickr for example. This function will be very similar to the functions within iOS for mobile users of the iPhone and iPad lines.
Mountain Lion will also be dropping the very unloved iChat for a new Messages application that will roll FaceTime, screen sharing, instant messages and iMessage into a single service. Which means that you will be able to seemlessly continue a converstation from your mobile device on to your Mac without skipping a beat as long as the mobile device is running on iOS 5. Those who are accustomed to using the IM features of iChat will not be left in the dark though, Messages will support AIM, Jabber, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger. Also if you want to try out Messages now you can get the beta version for free!
As we review Mountain Lion OS X further you will be the first to know! If you are a member of Apple’s developer program, which comes with a $99 annual enrollment fee you can preview the OS X now. Developers will also get access to further developer releases as Apple updates the OS X before its final release.
Apple is saying that Mountain Lion will be available to everyday users in late summer 2012 which will most likely be September, almost exactly a year since the last update. Mountain Lion will also be coming pre loaded on new Macs once it is shipped and will be available for download via the Mac App Store. As of now no pricing has been release but it is likely that the company will stick with its standard $29.99 per machine price level.