News: Apple Shows Off Mountain Lion

Posted on February 16, 2012

Well, here’s something we didn’t expect to see on a Thursday morning in February—Apple has shown off the first bits of what will become the next Mac OS X, Mountain Lion, due late this summer. Mountain Lion aims to bring even more iOS features to the Mac, starting with a public beta of Messages.

Mountain Lion

Apple’s press release covers the meat of the announcement:

Apple today released a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system, which brings popular apps and features from iPad to the Mac and accelerates the pace of OS X innovation. Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring. Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a revolutionary security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac. The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store™ in late summer 2012.

“The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The developer preview of Mountain Lion comes just seven months after the incredibly successful release of Lion and sets a rapid pace of development for the world’s most advanced personal computer operating system.”

…Hundreds of new APIs give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X. The Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, making it possible to create multiplayer games that work across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A new graphics infrastructure underpins OpenGL and OpenCL and implements GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, to make it easier to create OpenGL apps. Using Core Animation in Cocoa apps is easier than ever, and new video APIs deliver modern 64-bit replacements for low-level QuickTime APIs. Enhanced Multi-Touch™ APIs give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced mitigation against buffer overflow attacks.

Basically, if you’ve used an iOS 5 device before, and have used a Mac with Lion, it’s both of those together. As far as the naming goes, it’s pretty obvious this is going to be to Lion what Snow Leopard was to Leopard—a minor update that has a number of key features building off the prior release. What is interesting is that a a mountain lion is also known as a puma and a panther, depending on the region—I guess we’re going back to the early days of OS X.

Maybe this was the “strange” event Apple was rumored to hold?

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