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).

The 22 Ideas of Creativity

As I was digesting the internet this evening, I ran into something fairly intriguing.

Several times I’ve heard that there are really only seven basic plots as it relates to television and movie scripts. In reality, potentially all of literature. Christopher Booker wrote a book about it.

Now, the standardization of content not only has entered the realm of creative briefs, but also the world of apps. All at the same time.

Don’t believe me? Check out Brief Buddy (found via The Denver Egotist).

Now, it isn’t exactly seven stories, but 22 ideas behind creativity. What’s really great is that it actually has live and relevant examples.

This is by no means a replacement for having a brain, but a refreshing approach to helping creatives break from their regular routine.

22 ways to spark creativity. 22 way to think about a new solution. 22 ways to create a different voice to be heard.

Related, I saw a post earlier in the week that was an inspiring thought. I can’t remember who to attribute it to, so my apologies if it was you. But the idea was simple enough:

Next time you throw a product away, redesign it.

That caught me off guard when I read it. And to be honest, I was hesitant to throw anything away. I’m not saying this app can solve my trash problem, but I am saying why not branch out and be inspired. Wherever it comes from.

One app. $2.99. Why not take a peek.

Google Says Hello Moto

This morning, the hot news has been that the search and software giant Google has acquired Motorola Mobility.

I’ve been trying to think about what this means for the tech world.

I have a lot of respect for Google. They do business unlike most, and provide some innovative thinking behind how we use the web. My fear is for Motorola. Generally not seen as the most revolutionary of companies, how will it deal with a culture-shift? How will the hardware business change the way Google does business?

So, doing what most do after seeing “big” tweets, I tried to find the source. Sure enough, Google released a post on their blog about it early this morning. And then I read it.

What a bunch of whiny ninnies.

We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

-Larry Page, CEO

I get it. You feel like you are getting squashed. This is another venue for you to talk about your “openness”. But really? You are Google. Don’t just sit there whining about what patent laws are doing to you, go invent a new way to do something.

Is “openness” hurting Google? Is Android getting too hard? Think about it. They just bought a phone company, so that they can build their products better. I get it, and it’s a great idea. I’m excited to see what comes of it. However, by creating the hardware and the OS for the phone, isn’t that one step closer to a closed loop process? Sure the OS will remain hackable and more freedom for development, but then you build the OS to take advantage of the hardware that you build. This action isn’t going to shut other phone manufacturers out, I’m sure. But it creates one less step to a controlled ecosystem – something that Google has adamantly spoken against.

But, they’ll say it’s about the experience. Oh wait, they did:

The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences. I am confident that these great experiences will create huge value for shareholders.

The user experience is all that matters. That’s part of the reason why Apple with iPhone and iPad, and iOS, has been so successful. The experience is there, and controlled throughout to the best of Apple’s ability.

Google being more open has a harder time getting manufacturers to build off a certain hardware specification. Will this solve the problem? No, but Google will start building (or branding) phones that work best with their devices. Then again, knowing Motorola, there will be plenty of devices that offer “entry” opportunities into the smart phone (and not so smart) environment.

It will be very interesting to see, that’s for sure. Android has, and always will have, a place in market. Now controlling both software and hardware, will it change who Google is?