OS X Mountain Lion: Everything you need to know

Apple has detailed the next version of its operating system, Mac OS X, will be called OS X Mountain Lion, and with it bring a host of new features and tweaks to the current version already available.

But what are the hot new features of the OS, and should you be getting excited for the release, which Apple tells us will be sometime in the summer.

Here we pick out the 10 hottest features you'll want to know about:

1. iCloud

Yep, that's right, the desktop is going iCloud crazy with the cloud-based service from Apple getting lots of love in the new operating system. Aside from being able to sync your Apple devices with virtually zero effort, the most exciting new feature for iPhone, iPad, or iPod users looking to move to a Mac for the first time is that all your settings, account details and other gubbins will be automatically transferred to your new Mac when you set it up. That's a big hassle removed right at the start.

- iCloud for OS X Mountain Lion brings auto setup and syncing

2. iMessage

If you are an iPad, iPhone, or iPod user you are probably already aware of iMessage. As with many of the new features we are going to be detailing here in this article, this is another iOS feature making its way to the Mac. The great thing here is that OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8 if you are looking to keep track) will let you message your friends with other Apple devices from your desktop without having to worry about knowing their phone number, or what device they are on. Handy if you want to message Mrs Pocket-lint from your computer to her phone to say you are just leaving the office.

iMessage kills iChat as it brings texting to Lion, you can try it now

3. Reminders

If you are prone to forgetting things and use an iPhone, you are probably already aware of Reminders. A new app for Mountain Lion means you can add new reminders or check up on the reminders you have from the desktop. Thanks to some iCloud support all your reminders are automatically synced as long as you are connected to the internet. Sadly it also means you'll never have an excuse for forgetting to get more milk on the way home.

4. Notes

Notes isn't new per se, but what is new with Notes in Mountain Lion is that its broken free from the Mail app into its own app to parallel the Notes app in iOS. Now you can make notes as an when you want and even stick them to the desktop to help you remember them a little more clearly.

5. Twitter

Yep your favourite social networking site, no not that one, has been given system level access allowing you to check mentions and DMs as well as share stuff to Twitter at the press of the button. In the same way Twitter is "baked in" to your iPhone or iPad, Apple has done the same here. Expect the move to propel Twitter into thousands of more homes when Mountain Lion comes out in the summer.

Twitter to be baked into OS X Mountain Lion

6. Share Sheets

If you are able to share stuff instantly via Twitter, who else has Apple teamed up with? The answer initially is Flickr for photos and Vimeo for video allowing you to upload your media to the relevant services all from your desktop or a host of apps (only Apple ones for the time being). Sharing your content has never been so easy.

Vimeo not YouTube gets instant share option in Mountain Lion

7. Notification Center

All these new Notes, Reminders, Twitter mentions, emails and everything else you are going to be getting involved in needs tracking and that's why Apple has created Notification Center for Mac OS X. Working like the Notification drag down bar in iOS, users will be able to access a panel to the right of their desktop at any time to see what the latest notifications are. Although it is only Apple at the moment, developers will be able to add support for their own apps in the same way developer use the notification system on the iPad and iPhone.

iOS style notifications hit OS X Mountain Lion in new Notification Center

8. Game Center

Like gaming? Good, because Apple is bringing the Game Center from iOS to Mountain Lion, allowing users to find friends to play with, check out their leaderboard stats and achievements gained. If that sounds dull don't worry - the real reason you'll want it is because it will allow you to play other Game Center users regardless of what device they are on. Mac vs iPad, bring it on. So far Apple is only demoing the new feature with Reckless Racing, however we can just imagine it working perfectly with Words With Friends allowing you to play while you're supposed to be working.

Game Center for Mountain Lion: Apple to take desktop gaming seriously

Reckless Racing 2 multiplayer Mac vs iPad becomes a reality thanks to Mountain Lion

9. AirPlay Mirroring

Bundle in an Apple TV to your MacBook set up and from the summer you'll be able instantly to share your desktop with your TV at the press of a button. Why would you want to do that? Well think gaming, surfing the web, watching movies from iTunes? Suddenly your TV just got a whole lot smarter.

Apple iTV could mirror your Mac

10. Gatekeeper

Apple wants to keep you safe and therefore is trying its best to keep you away from dodgy apps that might be out there. The idea of Gatekeeper is that you will be able to set a preference that stops you downloading apps regardless of where you've got them from around the internet unless they are from an approved Apple developer. To get that approval developers simply have to apply for a key to unlock the gate Apple is erecting.

Apple Gatekeeper to protect your new Mac from malware in Mountain Lion

11. Safari gets unified search bar

It's a small change admittedly, but we bet if you use Safari at the moment it is your biggest bug bear. But fret not Safari reader you will soon get a unified search bar like Google Chrome in Mountain Lion. Whoop!

- Safari to follow Chrome with unified search bar in Mountain Lion 

Mountain Lion Price

The Operating System will be available in July and cost £13.99 It will be download only via the Apple Mac Store app. 

- For more news on the latest from OS X Mountain Lion check out our dedicated Mac OS X homepage.

What features would you like added to Mountain Lion? Let us know in the comments below.



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