Sneak Peak of Apple’s New OS X Mountain Lion Desktop Operating System and iOS 6

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Since standing the world on its head with the release of the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been slowly moving towards integrating features from these portable computing and Smartphone devices with the company’s desktop computers.

With the imminent release of OS X Mountain Lion, that process has made a giant leap forward. The Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch all work together via iCloud, and set up is automatic and effortless.

“Messages” is a good example of this new synergy. Just like iMessage in iOS, it lets you send unlimited messages to anyone on a Mac or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5. You can send photos, videos, documents, contacts and even messages to a group. And since all activity is being pushed to all devices, you can continue the conversation on any device at any time, without interruption.

Like Messages, Reminders lets you organize your life by creating as many to-do lists as you want and easily add to them. Set due dates and you’ll be alerted as a deadline approaches. Set a destination from your Mac, and your iPhone or iPad will remind you when you get there. “Notes” allows you to jot down thoughts as they happen. Add photos, images, and attachments. Tear off a virtual page and pin important notes to your desktop. When you create or edit a note on your Mac, it automatically updates on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and vice versa.

With all the enhanced communications, the “Notification Center“ makes it easy to stay on top of all the new alerts, be it from an email, a message, a software update, or a calendar alert. Notifications always appear in the same spot on the desktop and disappear quickly so they don’t clutter up the screen. Access to all the notifications is simply a gesture away, and their order can be customized to taste.  Dictation to text is also available using the Mac’s built-in microphone. It’s simple and no set up is required—simply start talking. Punctuation is added by saying “stop” or “question mark” etc.

A share button throughout Mountain Lion makes sharing even easier right from the app you’re using. The OS is Facebook friendly and tweeting is also available directly from any app. For gamers, Game Center puts you in touch with others on a Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch for competitive playing. Browsing with Safari has also been enhanced, allowing you to take up browsing on another device wherever you left off. These are just a few of the two hundred plus new features that add up to the best Mac experience yet.

However, the desktop enhancements aren’t the only game in town. At the WWDC Apple also announced the new operating system for its portable devices, iOS 6. “Maps” has been a recent topic of speculation and the new design from Apple has indeed surpassed expectations, including turn by turn navigation and real-time traffic updates. Interaction with Siri is more comprehensive-you can ask about sports scores and stats, in addition to where to eat and what movies to see (available only on the iPhone 4S and new iPad.)

Passbook brings your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more all to one place. You can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon, and if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will alert you to make sure you’re not at the wrong terminal. Facetime is now available via cellular networks, so you can still talk face to face with a friend even when no Wi-FI hotspot is available.

When declining an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message or set a callback reminder. A Do Not Disturb function means you won’t be bothered by anyone, except specified can’t-miss contacts. Guided Access helps students with disabilities such as autism remain on task and focused on content. VoiceOver, the screen reader for blind and low-vision users, is now integrated with Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom. Mail and browsing have both been improved.

These are just some of the many feature enhancements that have been announced to the Apple computing and Smartphone experience. No more tedious syncing of various devices, and more importantly when you have learned one system, the others become immediately intuitive. The operating systems are becoming more and more invisible, fading to the background while bringing enjoyment and productivity to new levels.

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So when will iOS 6 be available???

Apple is supposed to release iOS 6 this fall.

Dear Apple:

I do not have an iPhone. I do not plan on buying an iPhone. I have not used iOS.

I do, however, have a Mac Pro w/ 30" monitor - great size for working on digital pictures.

It makes NO sense for the operating system on my powerhouse Mac Pro to work like an iPhone!! Many of the features that make sense on an iPhone are just stupid on a Mac Pro.

Please, Apple, remember that you have many "power" computer users who are developing digital pictures, editing film, rendering graphics, doing graphic design and page layout. We want fast, powerful operating systems. We do not want to fight with features that make sense on an iPhone but are just annoying to power users (who decided that users shouldn't be able to get to the Library folder anyway?)

Never mind the whizzy phone features - how about making sure that folks with lots of fonts can use them without hassles. How about working on good and easy to understand and implement color management?

Thank you for listening - As of now I'm running 10.6.8 on my 2 x 3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro and I don't have any plans to upgrade. I hope that when my Mac Pro dies and I have to get a new computer that I can stand to work with whatever Big Cat is the current Apple operating system.... else I'll be shopping for a computer with a Real (i.e. non-phone) operating system.

Thank you

"Ditto..."

You're absolutely right, as a photographer I prefer to continue working with 10.6.8   Lion slows and conflict with many professional SF.

I have a 2009 Mac Pro running Lion. You likely can turn off notifications in OS X just like you can in iOS, so this is a non-issue. Some of us don't care for it or Facebook type of stuff, so leave it off, but many will find it useful. Apple did a great job of making the UI coherent with iOS and $20 to upgrade is a bargain for all the improvements under the hood. 

By not running Lion, your missing out on some very functional improvements with desktop spaces. It's the best implementation I've seen and makes working in multiple application windows easier. Unless you have some specific 32-bit application or need Rosetta, then I would give it a try. I had old MS Office 2004, which Microsoft ported from PowerPC days. Got an upgrade through work and never looked back.

It's really simple: do not activate iCloud on the devices / computers you won't want to share information from.

Unfortunatly, what you are starting to see is the end of the Mac OS... Convergence towards the iOS and then elimination. The Mac is now such a small portion of the Apple revenue base in relation with the rest of their business (iOS and the whole family of hardware (iPhone / iPad / iPod and the likes), Apps, contents (iTune) and services (iCloud)). But he glorious Mac past however justify some time (fan base) to be killed under the name of OS "CONVERGENCE" ... The Mac OS and hardware platforms actually COST money to Apple and has become a burden with such a small and declining market share in the Personnal Computer business. Sorry ! Time is Up for the Mac !

Innovation in IT is a good thing only when does not affect interoperability and support of open standards. In this highly tech world that we are living, is common to have not only IOS products, but also Android in some smartphone, and Microsoft OSes (mainly at work and in our Gaming PC), not to mention the consoles!!

Could be very much interest if Apple and the other vendors continue collaborating in order to interact between each other.

I have the iphone 4s, what is going to be the cost for the installation of this new system???

I find myself suffering from "change overload": there's too much and much of it seems to be change for change sake.

So now we have a new OS version - can those of us on 10.6.8 jump directly to Mountain Lion, or will we be forced into a two step process?

Calling all luddites. Please please accept change in return for progress. These upgrades truly sound like a cohesive progression of cutting edge technology that must evolve like anything else. Tasking the user base to step up to the fun was what Mr Jobs left the company . I own and feed my family with every sort of device they make, it was a chore keeping them all aligned and now it is a dream. Think it and it will come, APPLE.

I am a creative professional. I use my iPhone to make and receive calls, texts and emails. That's exactly what I purchased it for. Why would I want to be FORCED to integrate my professional editing systems with my iPads and iPhones?

I need separation among my devices. This new age of "you must upgrade or lose it BS" is hardly a collaborative measure to assist the end user, "Us", maintain our levels of customization needed to allow peripheral compatibility. I am not a fan of the new OS's, and and stuck with a half dozen Mac Pro Towers RIP'ing with SNL due to a lack of compatibility and preference selection no longer available in the new Lion and Mt Lion.

Along with Mr. Jobs departing went the Apple we used to love "Who cared about the people who use the machines".

Please put the End Users first again. Apple could strive to be better.

This all sounds SO good, but so many people I know - all of whom really do love Apple and all their iLoveApple devices - wonder why in the world the gurus of electronic design, i.e. Apple, don't include a call blocking function in the iPhone's firmware. Seems that it would be relatively easy to add the ability to identify a caller's number as digits non grata and prevent it from vibrating or leaving its spoor in voicemail. Telemarketers are becoming increasingly annoying on cell phones as the number of land lines diminish. Someone keeps calling me from Oregon; when I answer, they hang up, and they keep calling if I don't answer.  I have downloaded a silent ringtone which prevents the annoyance, but the fact that their call goes automatically to my voicemail tells them that the number is valid and viable, which for some reason encourages them to call.

I wish Apple would 1)program the iPhone to include the option of blocking specific phone numbers and/or 2)program an option for directing unwanted phone numbers to a cyber trash can.

Meanwhile, I love my iPhone and will upgrade my entire electronic system to SuperMac when my spaceship comes in.

JR