Apple recently released a developer preview of OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). Note that it is ‘OS X’ and not ‘Mac OS X’. That’s it. Mac is now gone. Forever.
This may sound shocking but it is happening and it is real. It was imminent too considering the fact that iPads and iPhones sell a lot more than all Macs put together in its entire history! Features in OS X Lion such as Launchpad and App Store also indicated the same. Even we predicted something similar! Now it becomes a bit clearer about Apple’s next move, but more on that later.
Now we will ponder over major new features revealed in the developer preview. Mountain Lion has a surprising number of features that are borrowed from iOS. It now has a deeper iCloud integration, which syncs calendars, contacts and e-mail across all your Apple devices. It may also include the syncing of media along with major storage features on the cloud. Reminders, Notes and Contacts are ported over to OS X with some enhanced features. They are all synced across devices through iCloud.
Chatting on the Mac also becomes similar to your iPhone with the Messages app which is compatible with iMessage (iOS) and can also launch FaceTime from within the app. It will replace iChat but will unify the iOS and OS X experience in chatting!
We also have Notifications on OS X which look same as that on iOS. It behaves in the same way too! A new feature here is Share Sheets which is basically a share button that is added to several apps. It allows the user to share links, images etc. instantly from within the app. You can share stuff via Message or Twitter. Speaking of which, Twitter is now integrated all over the OS with sharing options in almost every other app and even system notifications include replies and mentions too. Game Center comes to Mac with leaderboards and sharing options with friends etc., the same iOS stuff all over again. Guess Apple is taking gaming seriously after all! Airplay mirroring also will be ported to your Mac and that is a good thing too, if you have a puny 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Security will also get an upgrade with the Gatekeeper which acts as a safeguard against malware. You can set the level of security so that apps can be installed only from the App Store or only signed apps verified by Apple can be installed.
With a host of features that make it feel more and more like an iOS device, it is turning into one day by day too. We can see a similar shift in other platforms too. While Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are expected to share similar components in their OS, the interface and software system is getting unified in the process. Both of them are being optimized for a similar experience. Apple and many other manufacturers may have realized early on that the future of computing lies in the hands of consumers, not on their desks. Hence, we can see the death of desktops and even the traditional laptops very soon. Instead, there will be the rise of a new generation of computers with touch-screen interface, light, powerful, less memory but good connectivity and longer battery life. The process has already started with Windows 8 and Mountain Lion. The only question is, are we ready and willing to accept the change?