The Meow of the Mountain Lion

Originally posted at the day job: http://fndtn.com/2012/02/16/mountain-lions-first-meows/

 

Today, Apple announced that there would be a new version of the Mac operating system released in late summer of 2012.

For some, the update has said to be yawn worthy. We disagree.

That being said, no, it isn’t a gigantic jump like going from XP to Windows 7. What it does provide is an ample opportunity for something else. That something else is what may be dubbed as the greatest iPhone/iPad accessory ever: the Mac.

This release in particular is bringing more and more of iOS to our desktops and laptops. Some may think that statement means “less computer like”. To those doubters, I ask how much you love your iPhone or iPad. Mountain Lion’s release has several interesting features that are making us rethink what computers, and peripheral devices are supposed to do together.

Message

This is probably the most talked about feature of Mountain Lion so far. It is truly a unified ecosystem of communication. If I start a conversation on my iPhone through iMessage, how great would it be to pick that same conversation up when I’m on my computer? Apple has even been so kind as to release a Beta version here: http://www.apple.com/macosx/mountain-lion/messages-beta/

AirPlay Mirroring

Projectors and VGA adapters no more. I’ll take an AppleTV please. With AirPlay Mirroring, a Mac running Mountain Lion can stream its desktop over wifi to a TV. Wirelessly. This is a huge opportunity to look at in the business world. Imagine if instead of paying a few thousand dollars for a new projector, you bought a nice television and an Apple TV. By now, there’s a good chance you have a TV mounted in your conference rooms as it is. For $99, it’s an easy bet –  especially when it’s this easy to set up.

Game Center

Sure, you may not think that it’s a big deal. But give it time to sink in. Again, Apple is providing another way to let the experience of a game translate to whatever device you are in front of. No nasty “Save” or “Load” (or heaven forbid “Export”). It just works. Games have never been seen as a big selling point for a Mac, but when the majority of apps for iPhone and iPad are games, there’s no reason not to port that across platforms.

Gatekeeper

This little gem is probably the most underrated of all the features. It didn’t even get a nod in the promo video (here). Gatekeeper lets the administrator of the computer add a layer of protection from malware. The security is such that you can allow only apps to be downloaded from the Mac App Store, or authorized developers based on their Developer ID. Don’t fret if your favorite apps aren’t in the App Store – all the big players (and plenty of the smaller ones) have fully qualified Developer IDs.

This is huge. Malware’s root cause is based on the idea that you get tricked into downloading and installing a “bad” application. By qualifying who made the application, it guarantees that Apple says the app is OK.

Mountain Lion is new, and improved Lion. It helps those who have iPhones and iPads immediately identify with how the Mac works, and helps round out a seamless experience between devices. Zack Morris’ phone was just a phone. The Commodore 64 was a computer. The internet brought things together, but Mountain Lion and iOS 5 continue to break down the barriers between devices, data, and sharing.

We’re excited to see what happens this summer, but for now, we’re busy downloading the Message Beta.

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From a marketing standpoint, another thing that I noticed was that no where that I could find was it referred to as Mac OS X 10.8. Just an interesting observation.

Also, updates for China were specifically called out. Apple, and Tim Cook see China as the latest land of opportunity, and I expect them to do quite well (as long as they stop getting sued).