Just as Windows 8 is gearing up for a release this year, here comes another upgrade for Mac users. Mac 10.8 otherwise known as Mountain Lion was made available to developers today. The upgrade will be available via a download only option from the Mac App Store in late summer. In the past such upgrades have been in the neighborhood of $29. 10.7 (Leopard) was released in July of 2011.
Perhaps taking queues from Microsoft (as with Windows 8 Phone and Windows 8) or maybe vice versa, the new Mountain Lion will have a look and feel that is similar across various platforms like the iPad and iPhone. Since Lion originally released, they have shipped 17 million copies, making it Apple's best-selling release.
As part of this unification across systems, the new OS will replace Lion's iChat with a version from the iOS Messages application. As a result, Mac users will be able to exchange text messages with iOS devices as well as continue conversations moving from device to the next. You can download a copy of the beta of Messages from the Apple site here. The iCloud service will be extended to the Mac as well and there will be the ability to share information on Twitter's microblogging service from within Mac apps. Twitter will be integrated into many programs like Safari, iPhoto and Photo Booth.
One other change is that of the Game Center, a central hub for pairing anonymous players across the internet. This will now be found on the Mac as well. Also, if you have an Apple TV you can project what is on your Mac to your TV through the air, wirelessly. This is exactly what you are thinking, AirPlay has arrived on the Mac. The possibilities are great, such as YouTube videos, Netflix movies, etc, all within a few clicks and onto your TV at 720p.
Another feature is that there will be more of them for Chinese users. There is a character recognition program that updates the Mac's Chinese dictionary as new words enter the language. There are also Chinese equivalents for Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
So, the next 10 months will certainly prove interesting as both Mac and Windows begin to show how their software can be unified across all platforms, a necessary and great sign of things to come.