OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8) is the ninth major release of OS X, Apple Inc.'s desktop and server operating system for Macintosh computers. OS X Mountain Lion was released on July 25, 2012. It gains features from iOS, such as Notes and Reminders as applications separate from Mail and Calendar, in addition to iOS features from OS X Lion.
As the first OS X release post-iCloud, there’s also much more thorough integration with Apple’s data-syncing service. Mountain Lion also brings options to limit which kinds of apps users can install. And although there are no actual mountain lions in China, OS X Mountain Lion does add a raft of features to speak to users in the country that’s Apple’s biggest growth opportunity.
For a long time, Safari has been Apple's hobby horse. It's stuffed full of new, semi-useful-looking features every OS X update, but for advanced users, Chrome is still the browser of choice. That might change this go 'round.
In addition to all the other Safari-only and Safari-friendlier features, the new tab switching is really good. You pinch with two fingers when you're all the way zoomed out on a page (which you should be by default), and you enter a screen that lets you scroll between all of your tabs quickly, with visual previews of each page. It's very lightweight, fast, and responsive.
More tweaks: When you’re using screen sharing (lets you take control of another Mac’s mouse and keyboard over the Internet), you can now drag files off the other Mac onto your own desktop, just the way you’d copy them between windows.
In TextEdit, the basic word processor, you can zoom in or out of your document just by pinching or spreading two fingers on the pad. Frankly, all programs should work like that.
Apple is trying to do away with scroll bars, favoring instead a two-finger swipe on a trackpad. But the scroll bars reappear when you move the mouse or trackpad — and in Mountain Lion, they actually fatten up as you approach, to give you an easier target. (The horizontal scrollbar fattens up so much, in fact, that it blocks the bottom item of a list, if that was your aim.)
iChat is being put out to pasture a month ahead of its 10th birthday, making room for another friendly face: Messages. The iOS client has been fully grafted onto OS X, and compared with other mobile-inspired features in Mountain Lion, Messages is arguably the most comfortable fit. After all, Messages is simply unavoidable in iOS. Integration here means you're able to communicate directly with anyone who has an iOS device. Thankfully, however, it's not just a closed Apple system; services that had been supported by iChat -- AIM, Google Talk, Jabber and Yahoo -- are included here, too.
A new Messages app - like the one available on iOS 5 - replaces iChat. Messages will be pushed to all iDevices, so you can start a chat on the Mac and pick up on your iPhone.
Two other features crossing over from iOS 5 are Notes and Reminders; any updates added on the Mac will also show up on your iPhone and iPad apps.
AirPlay Mirroring in Mountain Lion uses the same basic tech found in iOS devices: Your computer wirelessly transmits whatever is playing on your Mac desktop to your Apple TV, which then shoots this mirrored content to your HDTV via an HDMI cable. Display settings are automatically determined by your Mac, so you don’t have to adjust the resolution over and over again, hoping to find the perfect recipe for optimal TV watching.
The most significant addition to Finder in Mountain Lion is actually hidden away -- or rather, pushed to the side. Your first hint that the Notification Center is even there is a rather plain graphic added to the upper-right corner of your desktop's toolbar: three parallel lines, the one in the center slightly shorter than those flanking it, with three square bullet points to their left. Clicking this will shift the whole desktop (save for the toolbar) to the left, revealing a hatched gray pane, the Notification Center. Just how far the whole thing shifts depends on the resolution of your monitor -- using the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display at a medium resolution, the display moved by about a fifth of the screen.
Last year, OS X 10.7 Lion took a lot of us by surprise. "Back to the Mac" was the claim. Instead, we got an identity crisis wrapped in a Unix shell. This year? We know what we're in for. Mountain Lion is basically just Lion with a speed boost a dash more iOS in its veins.
Of course, the idea of convergence between the two platforms is nothing new. When taking the wraps off Lion (Mountain Lion's predecessor) in 2010, Steve Jobs said the software was what the company imagined would happen if the iPad and the MacBook "hooked up."
Mountain Lion is very clearly the result of a longer term commitment.