Metro Weekly

WWDC 2012: Mountain Lion — The New King?

11MBA_21iMac_PF_Open_Notifications_PRINT[1].jpgAnnounced today at WWDC, Mountain Lion  is the ninth major release of OSX and is slated to contain over 200 new and improved features compared to Lion, its predecessor. Available in July for just $20, Mountain Lion will follow Lion’s lead and be downloadable through the Mac App Store, and will work with any system currently running Snow Leopard or Lion.

So, just what are these new features, and are they a vast improvement over Lion? Indeed, Apple declared that Lion has been a major success for the company, with 26 million copies sold since its debut last July, and in use by 40 percent of the world’s 66 million Mac users (though this is eclipsed by Windows 7, which has sold a staggering 600 million copies since its introduction in 2009). What Mountain Lion brings to the table is features. Lots of them. These include a Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide sharing, Facebook integration, Dictation, Power Nap, deeper iCloud integration and more.

Some highlights:

Dictation is a system similar to that featured on the new iPad, which uses a diluted version of Siri to allow voice dictation anywhere it is possible to type in the OS. Pressing the microphone button will allow users to speak into OSX apps, any website (such as Facebook, Twitter and Metro Weekly), and all third party apps (such as Microsoft Word).

Borrowing heavily from rival Google’s Chrome browser, Safari has been updated to include a universal search bar that encompasses web searches, bookmarks and browser history. Also, much like Chrome’s Chrome-to-Phone feature, Safari now utilizes iCloud to sync browsing info across all Apple devices. It adds iCloud Tabs, allowing users to see all tabs open across all devices — presumably to note just how much free time they are wasting at any given moment.

Power Nap, which updates your device as it sleeps, is a thinly veiled retort to Intel’s “Smart Connect” feature in Windows 7, which allows Intel-powered devices to update web apps in the background while in sleep mode, with minimal impact on battery life. Power Nap refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud, and when plugged in also downloads updates and backs up system content using Time Machine. It’s coming to the new Retina-equipped MacBook Pro, and the second- and third-generation MacBook Air.

The full list of features is included in the company’s press release, but for an easier glance into what Mountain Lion has in store, we’ve included a handy video for you below:

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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