Roar! Mountain Lion is available right now! Yes now!… Ok only for developers though.

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It has been only seven months since Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.7 Lion and today the companyannounced Mountain Lion—the next major update to its desktop operating system. As 9to5Macfirst learned in October, Mountain Lion brings even more popular iOS features to the Mac platform. The notion is shared by those Apple invited to a private briefing a few day ago: Mountain Lion is all about putting even more of iOS into the bowels of OS X. Meanwhile, iOS-ification of OS X continues with Twitter integration in Mountain Lion and new iOS-esque apps, such as Messages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirroring, Notes, Reminder, Game Center, and deep iCloud integration.

With over a hundred million iCloud accounts now in use, Mountain Lion’s setup assistant will now ask you to set up an iCloud account for the Documents in the Cloud and Find My Mac features, as well as to sync contacts, email and chat messages and calendar entries. You can also access your iCloud storage in Finder and drag and drop documents for manual syncing between iOS apps that support Documents in the Cloud and their desktop counterparts.

AirPlay Mirroring is another welcome addition for those wishing to securely beam a 720p video stream of what is on your Mac to a HDTV through the Apple TV. Share Sheets, a new system-wide feature, is accessible from Apple’s and third-party apps for sharing links, photos, and videos. Like in iOS, Twitter integration means you give your Twitter credentials once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and supported third-party apps.

Mountain Lion Beta is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today whilst end-users can upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012. The company also pledged to update OS X once a year from now on. For more information, check out Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lion Sneak Peek page.

The biggest news is the Notification Center app. Apple left traces it was working on such a feature with the release of FaceTime for Mac, which can put up an incoming call alert even when the app is not running. Notifications in Mountain Lion will include alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates, and third-party apps, the company confirmed. Gatekeeper, another new feature, is designed as a system-wide malware protection seeking to give you “complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac.” Little is known about Gatekeeper, so we are still in the dark as to whether it will be an optional part of Mountain Lion or whether it will sport a decent app removal tool. According to the press release:

Gatekeeper is a revolutionary new security feature that gives you control over which apps can be downloaded and installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from any source, just as you do on a Mac today, or you can use the safer default setting to install apps from the Mac App Store, along with apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. For maximum security, you can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be downloaded and installed.

Reminders and Notes work together with their iOS counterparts, letting you jot notes and track to-dos across your desktop and mobile devices. As for Game Center, Apple said the program will let you “find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch,” but the company would not specify on how Mac-only games will be supported. To facilitate development of Game Center-compatible games across both iOS devices and Macs, Apple is making the new Game Kit API available to Mac developers and they implemented GLKit—first introduced in iOS 5—to make it easier to create OpenGL apps for Mountain Lion.

Finally, Chinese users will love Mountain Lion for its “significant enhancements” to the Chinese input method, the new Baidu search option in Safari, support for email service providers QQ, 126 and 163 in Contacts, Mail and Calendar, video sharing support for local services Youku and Tudou through Share Sheets, and system-wide support for the popular Sina weibo micro-blogging platform.

 

Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview with Over 100 New Features

CUPERTINO, California—February 16, 2012—Apple today released a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system, which brings popular apps and features from iPad to the Mac and accelerates the pace of OS X innovation. Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring. Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a revolutionary security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac. The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store™ in late summer 2012.

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The developer preview of Mountain Lion comes just seven months after the incredibly successful release of Lion and sets a rapid pace of development for the world’s most advanced personal computer operating system.”

The developer preview of Mountain Lion features the all new Messages app which replaces iChat and allows you to send unlimited messages, high-quality photos and videos directly from your Mac to another Mac or iOS device. Messages will continue to support AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. Starting today Lion users can download a beta of Messages from www.apple.com, and the final version will be available with Mountain Lion. Reminders and Notes help you create and track your to-dos across all your devices. Game Center lets you personalize your Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Mountain Lion presents notifications in an elegant new way, and Notification Center provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third party apps. System-wide Share Sheets make it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third party apps. Twitter is integrated throughout Mountain Lion so you can sign on once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and third party apps. Mountain Lion also introduces AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV.

More than 100 million users have iCloud accounts, and Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up iCloud and access documents across your devices. Mountain Lion uses your Apple ID to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. The new iCloud Documents pushes any changes to all your devices so documents are always up to date, and a new API helps developers make document-based apps work with iCloud.

Gatekeeper is a revolutionary new security feature that gives you control over which apps can be downloaded and installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from any source, just as you do on a Mac today, or you can use the safer default setting to install apps from the Mac App Store, along with apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. For maximum security, you can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be downloaded and installed.

Mountain Lion also has features specifically designed to support Chinese users, including significant enhancements to the Chinese input method and the option to select Baidu search in Safari. Mountain Lion makes it easy to set up Contacts, Mail and Calendar with top email service providers QQ, 126 and 163. Chinese users can also upload video via Share Sheets directly to leading video websites Youku and Tudou, and system-wide support for Sina weibo makes microblogging easy.

Hundreds of new APIs give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X. The Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, making it possible to create multiplayer games that work across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A new graphics infrastructure underpins OpenGL and OpenCL and implements GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, to make it easier to create OpenGL apps. Using Core Animation in Cocoa apps is easier than ever, and new video APIs deliver modern 64-bit replacements for low-level QuickTime APIs. Enhanced Multi-Touch™ APIs give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced mitigation against buffer overflow attacks.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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