Mac OS X Mountain Lion is slated to be announced this month and many technology and Apple bloggers believe it’s coming on Wednesday.
Apple’s next-generation operating system for its iMac, MacBook and Mac Mini family is expected to help bridge the gap between the iPad, iPhone and the Mac — making all three devices work even better together. It’s bringing more than 200 new features, but today we’re highlighting our 10 favorite.
Notification Center — Apple has never had a great way of letting us know about software updates, new messages (remember iChat?) and other things like being outbid on an eBay auction or if an app needs to be updated. Notification Center does just that. No longer are the days when your Mac scans once per week for new software. Notification Center will just tell you. It’s easily concealed on the right hand of the screen and with the flick, click or swipe of a Magic Track Pad, it’ll pull right up. With apps such as iMessage and a refresh to Mail, expect the Notification Center to be your main dashboard.
AirPlay — When Airplay came to iOS 5 for the iPad 2, it created a great way to share media for those who also own an Apple TV. For $99, you mine as well go out and buy an Apple TV so you can share all of your great content — from photos to video — right on your TV, and quite seamlessly too.
Mail — Apple hasn’t made any major refreshes to its native Mail app in sometime, that’s why this update will be much welcomed. With new features such as VIPs, which allows you to star important contacts so you won’t miss any important emails, to better web page sharing options that lets you email a webpage from Safari, Mail will be much more incorporated with the entire Mac experience.
Photo Booth — We’ll all probably regret getting excited about this at the expense of seeing hundreds upon hundreds of goofy photos on a daily basis, but the Photo Booth updates allows you to share sheets for AirDrop, iMessages, Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo! And with further Twitter integration (and soon-to-be Facebook integration), you can easily change your profile photo from the app.
Power Nap — If you’re like this blogger, you may be annoyed that when you wake up in the morning, it takes a little bit for your Mac to switch from idle to active. And once its active, everything starts dinging, popping up and updating. With Power Nap, your Mac sleeps but your applications all update accordingly. So your mail messages will be in sync with your iPhone and all Time Machine updates will take place accordingly.
Gatekeeper — This new feature may seem like the “boring” new addition of Mountain Lion, but it’s going to be important. Gatekeeper is essentially a firewall that you control that will let your Mac only download things you want to download. For some people, this is common sense, but for the everyday user, viruses can be passed around quite easily. Mac users experienced this earlier this year.
Safari 6.0 — The world’s favorite web browser is entering into version six. Safari for Mountain Lion is filled with many subtle improvements that should greatly improve your browsing experience. Safari is finally taking a page from Google Chrome and putting a singly URL/search combination bar, to make web browsing much more efficient. Sharing to social networks will be much easier and new iCloud integration will allow you to pick up on a webpage where you left off, no matter what device you’re using.
iCloud — Apple’s cloud-computing software is receiving substantial upgrades via Mountain Lion. With new apps such as Reminders and Notes coming to the Mac, al lot your devices will always be perfectly in-sync, making little tasks like grocery lists much easier. They may even have something up there sleeve that could compete nicely with DropBox.
Screen Sharing — This is a new feature that’s not receiving a ton of face time on the rumor sites. If your friend also has a Mac, you can now share screens and easily drag and drop files, making sharing much easier.
Twitter — With the addition of Twitter integration to the Mac, the mini-posting social media site will become even more popular. After a single sign-on, you can tweet from any native Apple app and expect games to jump on board, letting users share their high-scores. It’s also a great way to share photos and videos. Have multiple Twitter accounts? No problem. Mac OS X Mountain Lion allows you to operate multiple Twitter accounts. You use your “Tweet sheet” to choose which account you want to Tweet from.
Mac OS X Mountain Lion will sell for $19.99 only in the Mac App Store.