Apple have once more upped their game in the personal computing field, with the recent release of the new Mac operating system – Mountain Lion. Not the first operating system to be released under an unorthodox moniker – the last few incarnations of Google’s Android operating system have boasted bizarre names including Jelly Bean, Honeycomb, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich – Mountain Lion appears at first glance to be extremely similar to Apple’s previous OS, Lion. However, the new system brings in a number of new features which once again demonstrates Apple’s flair for reinventing the wheel in ways that users will find exciting, time and again.
First, one of the underpinning elements of the Mountain Lion design is a greater degree of integration with previous and future Apple products. Mac users who also own an iPhone or iPad are most likely to notice this functionality, as the new OS leans heavily on cloud-based functionality. A new instant messaging service has taken the place of the iChat of previous generations, which is cross-compatible with all Apple devices via the iCloud. If you’re at home, chatting with your friend over iMessages on your Mac, and you have to leave to catch a bus or something – the conversation doesn’t have to stop. You can pick up exactly where you left off via your iPhone or iPad on the go.
Any personal reminders or notes to self are also available across all of your Apple devices, regardless of which you used to enter them.
Despite Apple’s undeniable gift for innovation and revolution, everyone needs a little help sometimes. This certainly seems to be the case with Mountan Lion, as Apple seem to have taken a sizeable leaf out of Google’s book with the Android-style Notification Centre, which garnered considerable praise with its inclusion in iOS 5.
Perhaps one of the most exciting inclusions in the Mountain Lion OS, depending on your interest in computer gaming and online media use, is AirPlay Mirroring. This feature allows you to stream HD video and audio – essentially whatever is currently on your Apple device at the time – straight to your HDTV. So if you’re streaming a video from Youtube and you’d like to share it with the group, you can beam it directly to your TV – and then you might as well be watching it on a HD television channel. The same goes for games – anything you can play on your iPhone, iMac or iPad can now be played on the big screen for a more social experience.
The Gatekeeper feature should go some way towards reaffirming the old myth that it’s nigh impossible to pick up a virus or malware on a Mac. Gatekeeper allows you to set your own level of security intervention – if you choose to, you can set the program to notify you every time any website or software attempts to download something to your machine. This allows you to tailor your hardware’s level of security to suit you, whether you’re a whizz kid or a fledgeling techie.
While Mountain Lion may not be the revolutionary operating system some consumers were expecting, what it represents is an updated incarnation of the existing system, in which each feature is that little bit more polished. Mountain Lion is sure to enrich the lives of those who use Apple hardware on a regular basis, and the new system might even help to recruit more die-hard Apple fans.