The next version of Apple’s desktop operating system, OS 10.8 Mountain Lion, is slated for release this summer. While full details and release date are expected to be announced at the World Wide Developer’s Conference starting on June 11th, here’s what we now so far:
Apple is billing this version of OS X as “Inspired by iPad” and from the preview that’s exactly what we’re seeing. Built-in system-wide integration of notifications across apps, tighter message and twitter support and more control over the apps that you can install. Here’s a quick summary of what we see as the 3 features with the most impact.
Messages – This takes iChat and gives it the full iOS treatment. You’ll be able to more easily send unlimted chats and texts to other Macs, iPads, iPods and iPhones. Support for FaceTime video calling and other message services like AIM and Google Talk are included. While nothing here seems revolutionary, the tight integration across the Mac and iOS platform could really open up more live communication happening while you’re working on your Mac. You can download a beta of the messages app here.
Notification Center – Background notifications from Apps that send you updates even if the app is closed. The same idea as Growl, just built-in to the OS for easier adoption among users. These are the same kind of notifications that are now available in iOS. For example, you might receive a notification pop-up that someone uploaded a picture of you on Path or sent you a message.
Gatekeeper - Sounds a little authoritarian and it is. This feature is designed to keep malicious software of your Mac. Your Mac will notify you if you want to only install “approved” apps from Apple. This also means that apps which aren’t malicious but aren’t “approved” from Apple will get flagged. Same double-edged sword we’ve gotten use to on the iOS side.
There’s not an official set of requirements yet but OSXDaily has a good list of what we can expect.
Looks like 64 bit Core 2 Duo or later support will be required to run OS 10.8 Mountain Lion. Most Macs from 2008 on should be good.
Availability should be announced at WWDC but rumors are that Mountain Lion may be available at the start of summer (maybe the conference itself) rather than the end of summer. Most likely OS 10.8 will be download only (no USB option.)
You can checkout Apple’s Mountain Lion page for more details and to download the developer’s preview (although you may just want to wait until the official release at this point.)