Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview; public release coming in late summer 2012

Apple today released a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system, which brings popular apps and features from iPad to the Mac and accelerates the pace of OS X innovation.

Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring. Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a revolutionary security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac.

The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in the press release. “The developer preview of Mountain Lion comes just seven months after the incredibly successful release of Lion and sets a rapid pace of development for the world’s most advanced personal computer operating system.”

The developer preview of Mountain Lion features the all new Messages app which replaces iChat and allows you to send unlimited messages, high-quality photos and videos directly from your Mac to another Mac or iOS device. Messages will continue to support AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. Starting today Lion users can download a beta of Messages from www.apple.com, and the final version will be available with Mountain Lion. Reminders and Notes help you create and track your to-dos across all your devices. Game Center lets you personalize your Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Mountain Lion presents notifications in an elegant new way, and Notification Center provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third party apps. System-wide Share Sheets make it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third party apps. Twitter is integrated throughout Mountain Lion so you can sign on once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and third party apps. Mountain Lion also introduces AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV.

More than 100 million users have iCloud accounts, and Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up iCloud and access documents across your devices. Mountain Lion uses your Apple ID to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. The new iCloud Documents pushes any changes to all your devices so documents are always up to date, and a new API helps developers make document-based apps work with iCloud.

Gatekeeper is a revolutionary new security feature that gives you control over which apps can be downloaded and installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from any source, just as you do on a Mac today, or you can use the safer default setting to install apps from the Mac App Store, along with apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. For maximum security, you can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be downloaded and installed.

Mountain Lion also has features specifically designed to support Chinese users, including significant enhancements to the Chinese input method and the option to select Baidu search in Safari. Mountain Lion makes it easy to set up Contacts, Mail and Calendar with top email service providers QQ, 126 and 163. Chinese users can also upload video via Share Sheets directly to leading video websites Youku and Tudou, and system-wide support for Sina weibo makes microblogging easy.

Hundreds of new APIs give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X. The Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, making it possible to create multiplayer games that work across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A new graphics infrastructure underpins OpenGL and OpenCL and implements GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, to make it easier to create OpenGL apps. Using Core Animation in Cocoa apps is easier than ever, and new video APIs deliver modern 64-bit replacements for low-level QuickTime APIs. Enhanced Multi-Touch APIs give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced mitigation against buffer overflow attacks.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Boom!

88 Comments

      1. Not unless Apple ports Messages to “other” platforms. In other words: expect Skype to still be around for a long while.

        Macs are now 14% market share in the US but only 7% worldwide. And while iOS market share is much higher, none of my distant relatives has any Apple device, so Skype will remain the go-to video conferencing tool for quite some time.

      2. And not until I can make and receive calls to and from landlines and cellphones like I can with Skype using Skype-In (now Skype Online Number) and Skype-Out (now Skype Unlimited).

      3. End of Skype? I’d just like friggin’ messages to integrate FaceTime so I’d only need one non-Skype video conference app. And I hope messages doesn’t remove iChat’s screen sharing capabilities.

      1. It’s hard to type out a sexy ‘Growl” as a stand alone word without having to preface with “imagine a movie with a woman looking at a buff man or a man looking at a beautiful woman, and gives that sexy growl”. Even that might be hard to construe, maybe a youtube link to a sexy growl?…

        Anyway, that is what I was going for…

    1. Been using it for a couple of hours, chatting to my G/F on her iPad. Super sweet, using my Mac Mini and a big keyboard, instead of my iPhone. Works beautifully, except smileys don’t translate across.

  1. You’ll have to wait a little bit before you can try out Messages. This is what I got when I went to download it:

    Our apologies but there was an unexpected error with the application. This problem has been noted, and an email has been sent to the administrators. Please check back in a few hours to try the download again.

      1. Well ‘Panther’ relates to the genus name for the big cats and is not a specific cat in its own right but is popularly used to represent in particular a Leopard or a Jaguar and most notably of those, a black individual of those cats.

        Mountain Lion is also known as a cougar and indeed itself sometimes referred to as a panther so its all a bit mix and match if taken too literally.

        1. Ha! it’s Mountain Lion – We have been trying to guess the next name for a while.

          It would seem to me, that Apple is taking the FireFox approach to OS X. They are making inroads to faster build releases and re-versioning. What that means is that we don’t have to be so afraid this is an X.8 and compatibility issues. Chances are, the preview is code completed with some minor bugs, and we get to find them.

          Now onto something more exciting. The reason they are doing this? Because there is something VERY BIG around the corner. The only motivation to fast track major releases, is that they want the whole echo system to evolve faster to a point where they can implement their vision.

          This has been discussed before, the EOL of an OS is when time between versions is long, and changes are small. Since iOS, there is new vision, and now the release time is short and changes are many.

    1. I actually expect it to be even less of a “hop” than Snow Leopard was. I think this will be mostly about adding some new features and better integration of iCloud.

      Snow Leopard was a much larger upgrade than people seem to generally acknowledge, I guess because the major enhancements were “under the hood”. The introduction of Grand Central Dispatch, OpenCL, full 64-bit support and the migration of all system utilities to 64 bit was a big deal.

      1. What is right with it? I don’t want to duplicate and I don’t want my files to be saved instantly…I want to save them when I decide and in the form I want…Working with text and keynote became a nightmare. Lion is garbige that’s what it is and I really really hate working on it.

    1. Apple is following their own timetable. They have the next “cat” to follow this cat already planned, maybe more. Windows is Windows, there is no more to be said. I really like what I am hearing so far. I believe there will be more frequent “cats” which are smaller in scope, which is good news for us as it gives us more sooner.

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