Behold the mewling mountain kitty

So I managed to spend some time with a preview release of OS X 10.8 (don’t you dare call it Mac OS X anymore, you Luddites), or Mountain Lion in the parlance of Apple’s aloof-yet-deadly themed naming system. After tooling around on my own and checking several online articles from people who were actually sent the pre-release to try out to make sure I wasn’t missing any new features, all I can say is, "Are you sure this isn’t 10.7.4?"

Because what Mountain Lion is, at its core, is an update meant to graft on some iOS 5 features while upping the iCloud integration level. As the name suggests, it’s supposed to be more in line with the Snow Leopard (10.6) update than full-on, strawberry-tangerine burst of new UI goodness. Except Snow Leopard, which was released a full two years after Leopard (10.5), was actually a vast improvement over its forebear (forecat?) with tons of rewritten code, new bits like Grand Central and OpenGL, and a smaller memory footprint of both the RAM and HD-eating variety.

Mountain Lion has Game Center.

To be slightly more positive, Mountain Lion’s iOS additions are, in general, welcome. Notification Center is quite welcome. I can’t say that it’s a replacement for Growl because I haven’t retried Growl in years. But you can set it’s noise level anywhere from Marcel Marceau to Gilbert Gottfried, and even set which email contacts trigger a notification. Unless you like being notified 129 times a day just how SmALl your Matthew Weiner is.

A new sharing feature lets you zap web pages, PDFs, QuickTime movies, pics, inappropriate feelings and other flotsam to your friends or Facebook "friends." You can do so via email, AirDrop (has this caught on yet?), the new Messages app or laser pigeon. You are now free from the tyranny of copying links or dragging-and-dropping files. Yay.

More Twitter integration = More LOLs.

A port of iOS 5’s Reminders app works like a port of iOS 5’s Reminders app. Except there’s no Siri to automatically fill in your meds schedule. Or location-based reminding, even though Apple’s notebook-to-desktop sales ratio is approximately a zillion to one. Yes, you might have to open your notebook to get the reminder. Unless you have a 4S and it’s all synced together. Which it should be. Or at least should be able to be.

Apple has killed iChat and plopped iOS’s Messages in its place. I’ve been using the beta in 10.7 for a couple of weeks now, and it’s nice. Actually, it’s not all that different from iChat. Except your past conversations automatically load when you start a new one, which is nifty for referencing an insult you made last week without having to search old sessions. And if you have everything synced correctly, you can start a Messages session on your iOS device and continue it uninterrupted on your desktop when you finally stumble into the office. Assuming both you and your chattee are using your Apple IDs and not AOL IM IDs carried over from iChat. I think. Someone chat with me to find out. So lonely.

Did I mention Game Center? I did? Sorry about that.

AirPlay mirroring, which is now integrated at the System Preferences level, is awesome. Probably. I have no way of testing it because I don’t have a current gen Apple TV, and the hack I used to get AirPlay working between it and my iPhone is limited to said iPhone. But sure sounds nifty. And it’ll be even niftier if the rumored 1080p Apple TV hits next week. Especially if Apple doesn’t do something like block streaming from Hulu.

Finally, Vinz Clortho has found his OS of choice with the addition of Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper is an attempt to prevent malware from being installed on users’ machines. Naturally, all App Store programs are allowed, as well as outside apps that receive an Apple-approved digital certificate. For those of us feeling frisky or with a clue, we can bypass Gatekeeper and install whatever we want. I guess so we don’t have jailbreak our own machines. Eventually, if more evildoers attack Macland, Gatekeeper may indeed be handy. But for now it seems like a fairly transparent attempt by Apple to push developers into the App Store since Grandma probably won’t install a non-certified batch of code.

And that’s about it. Some decent stuff that, at least in my limited usage, didn’t appear to break anything I like and improved some of OS X’s usability. But if you think this update is a must-have, you must have more invested in Game Center than I obviously do. Obviously.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    As much as I hate Apple computers and have a general disdain for many of their users, I am glad that Jason writes for TR as well as reports on the Apple news. Being a nerd I do like to read about what the industry is doing and It drives me insane trying to read up on Apple stuff on the heavily biased Apple sites. Having Jason here is a good thing. Keep it up man.

    • Yeats
    • 8 years ago

    Mmm… tap the TR piƱata, watch the candy fall. Sweet.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://bit.ly/wA6HjE[/url<]

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      Brilliant!

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 8 years ago

    Am I crazy or does Gatekeeper sound a lot like a feature Linux has had for a long time?

    • I.S.T.
    • 8 years ago

    Did you mean Open CL, not GL?

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    So…
    *Puts on sun glasses*
    is your Mac high on catnip?

      • adisor19
      • 8 years ago

      YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAA

        • Yeats
        • 8 years ago

        LOL

    • Aspleme
    • 8 years ago

    Why not call it Mac OS X? I can’t buy it an install it on my PC… it is inherently tied to Apple. Furthermore, maybe I’m missing something because I never paid attention to previous versions of Apple’s operating system, but why call it X 10? Even a grade school student knows that the Roman Numeral X is 10. This kind of redundancy seems a bit silly, even for Apple.

      • internetsandman
      • 8 years ago

      At first it started out signifying the massive shift between OS 9 and OS 10, they had to spice it up and add extra marketing bling to it because, admittedly, it was one hell of a change. Now though, it’s more about brand recognition, seeing as how everyone now knows what OS X is and it just sounds better than saying OS 10. However, seeing as how iOS and OS X are slowly borrowing features from each other I have to agree with Jason, this isn’t a proper Mac OS anymore. It doesn’t feel as powerful as it should be and there isn’t as much control over file systems and whatnot as there used to be. Yes, it’s still a desktop OS, but I’m not really feeling the Macintosh OS bit of it anymore. Perhaps other views are different, but that’s just my two cents

        • Wirko
        • 8 years ago

        How could a puma compare to the king of all beasts?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]seeing as how everyone now knows what OS X is and it just sounds better than saying OS 10[/quote<] OS X and OS 10 are [url=http://arstechnica.com/reviews/01q2/macos-x-final/macos-x-1.html<]pronounced the same[/url<].

        • End User
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]It doesn't feel as powerful as it should be[/quote<] Are you using Lion on a daily basis? Multitouch and Mission Control are lightyears beyond what we had in the past. [quote<]there isn't as much control over file systems and whatnot as there used to be.[/quote<] Examples? [quote<]seeing as how everyone now knows what OS X is and it just sounds better than saying OS 10[/quote<] It has been pronounced "OS 10" for over 10 years.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]Mission Control...lightyears beyond what we had in the past[/quote<] So not true in the case of Mission Control. Mission Control doesn't even do everything that Expose did.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            The combination multitouch and Mission Control on my MacBook Air is outstanding. Spaces and no multitouch on my 2006 MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard highlight just how far OS X has evolved.

    • malicious
    • 8 years ago

    The search continues for a compelling reason for me to upgrade beyond 10.6 but, alas, there is still none to be found. In a way, that’s a good thing. Existing software is still sufficient so I get to save $60 and the time needed for soon to be two upgrades.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      What? You can’t just install the new one a d be food? They actually make you install both?

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 8 years ago

      I think the newer intergration of the iCloud and the iOS 5 features would compell most “Kool-Aid” drinkers. If i was all in on Apple (and I’m not, but if I was) I’d be excited for this.

      Also, remember most malware on a computer comes from a user installing it. That’s a big thing that has caused Android some headaches that is now goign to go away for Apple on OS X.

    • Yeats
    • 8 years ago

    This blog lost me at “So”.

      • Corrado
      • 8 years ago

      And yet you still took the time to read and comment. Fascinating!

        • Yeats
        • 8 years ago

        I read the first word – “So” – and stopped reading. Then I made a comment.

        It’s a pity that a blog associated with a respected tech site begins an article with “So”. You expect a 6th grader in Creative Writing to begin a story with “so”, not a grown man. It’s an over-abused device for conversational writing.

        It seems like you are easily fascinated, better watch out for snakes.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          You don’t bitch about all the tenuous analogies in reviews, do you?

          • internetsandman
          • 8 years ago

          I’ve never seen a more arrogant and useless grammar nazi as you. You’re not reading any super-important scientific journal or a professional novel or anything, this is just a freaking blog post. If youre gonna analyze every blog post and article you read with this level of eletism, I’m afraid you’re not going to be reading much of anything at all.

      • maxxcool
      • 8 years ago

      So, I find it humorous when people freak out about grammar… in a ‘blog’… a completely unstructured place to put thoughts.. not a mid-term.

      • maxxcool
      • 8 years ago

      Aww Cybert is that you?

      • Convert
      • 8 years ago

      You are easily lost.

      • rhysl
      • 8 years ago

      Sorry I just saw the Apple screen shot and turned off..

    • axeman
    • 8 years ago

    1000 upboats for facebook “friends”

    • HunterZ
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t use Apple stuff, but my wife does. She just upgraded out of fear, as she uses MobileMe and was told that (1) MobileMe is being migrated to iCloud, and (2) iCloud requires OS X Lion (she was on Snow Leopard).

    She liked some of the desktop UI changes, but is livid that the iCal (calendar?) app looks just like the web-based iCloud version, which apparently has less features or a worse interface than the Snow Leopard iCal or something.

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      Works the same, just looks like shit.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    It breaks VMWare Fusion, but Parallels works fine.

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