Apple has been allowing the press to get their hands on the next version of its Mac operating system before allowing developers to download the beta seed. The next OS X will be version 10.8, or Mountain Lion. On first looks, the improvements made are refreshing, and as long as the update costs less than $25, will be worth the charge. Sadly there’s no Siri, but I’m guessing it will be on Mac at some point in the relatively near future.
The software should be available in the summer, similar time to last year. A surprisingly quick turnaround. OS updates for Mac usually take around 2 years to finalize. Here’s a quick rundown of what iOS goodies will be making their way across to the OS:
iChat is dead. Instead, it’s being replace by a new/revamped application called Messages. It will still be compatible with Google chat, AIM and the like, as usual, but it comes with one brilliant feature: iMessage. If your friend has an iOS device or Mac, you can send them free messages, just like you can currently with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Great thing is that if the person you’re contacting has more than one Apple product with iMessage, it will show up on all of them. Another bonus: FaceTime is built in to Messages, so, your instant communication needs are met by one single application.
iOS’ popular Notification Center is making its way across the smartphone-Mac divide. You’ll get notifications from any app that has been developed to be compatible. Apple is allowing devs the tools to build it in to their apps. (Yey! No more Growl.)
Something that’s been needed for quite some time, and if I’m honest, it surprised me that Game Center wasn’t in Lion. Thankfully, you’ll now be able to compete with “friends” on your Mac. Compare Angry Birds scores, or Lego Harry Potter achievements. Whatever floats your boat.
There’s a whole new way of sharing photos in the next Mac OS X update. A right-click menu will reveal several social networks that can be used to share. Of most importance is Twitter, as it will be built in to the fabric of OS X 10.8, in the same way it is with iOS 5. Access the share menu, hit twitter and you’ll see the familiar pop up window complete with lined paper and paper clip.