The Cat You Have To Have (Part 1)

10/1/2012 9:02:51 AM

Just over a year since the release of OS X Lion, Apple is back with Mountain Lion, also known as OS X 10.8. like Lion, Mountain Lion offers numerous features that will be familiar to iOS users but are they enough to make it a must-have upgrade? Hell yes, says JASON SNELL.

The release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion continues Apple’s philosophy of bringing iOS features ‘back to the Mac’, and includes iMessage, Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Twitter integration, Game Center and AirPlay Mirroring. There are even a few features that are making their debut with Mountain Lion and will find their way back into iOS 6 when it launches – expected to be this month.

Description: Its low price and easy download have made Mountain Lion the most successful OS X upgrade of all time

Its low price and easy download have made Mountain Lion the most successful OS X upgrade of all time

As the first OS X release post-iCloud, Mountain Lion offers a much more thorough integration with Apple’s data-syncing service than Lion offered. Mountain Lion also brings options to limit which kinds of apps users can install, offers system wide integration with social networking and media-sharing services and gives some recent MacBook models the power to keep working even when they appear to be asleep.

At $20.99, Mountain Lion is Apple’s cheapest OS X upgrade since version 10.1 was free 11 years ago; like Lion, Mountain Lion is available only via a Mac App Store download. The combination of the low price and the easy download have already made Mountain Lion the most successful OSX upgrade of all time downloads exceeded three million in the first four days of availability.

(A compatibility note: Some Macs now running Lion won’t be able to run Mountain Lion – see

iCloud comes to the fore

In 2011, in his last public event as Apple CEO, Steve Jobs introduced iCloud – Apple’s internet-based system of data storage and synchronization. At the time it was clearly a major strategic move for the company and users of iOS 5 have benefited from several nice features, including cloud backup and preference syncing across devices.

Description: On the Mac, iCloud integration has been limited

On the Mac, iCloud integration has been limited

On the Mac, iCloud integration has been limited. OS X Lion was finished before iCloud arrived, which prevented Apple from deeply integrating the two. But Mountain Lion and the forthcoming iOS 6 make much better use of iCloud and – most impressively for users of both Macs and iOS devices – use iCloud to work together.

It starts at setup: In Setup Assistant, the system asks for your iCloud ID and will sync a bunch of core preferences essentially the information stored in the Mail, Contacts & Calendars pane in the system Preferences app. With this single log-in to iCloud, all your email accounts, contacts, calendars, notes, reminders and the like will be available on the Mac you’re using.

In a set of app updates timed with the release of Mountain Lion, Apple updated the Mac iWork iOS apps to support Documents in the Cloud. And TextEdit and Preview, two apps included with Mountain Lion, also support Documents in the Cloud. (Apps from other developers are also free to support this feature, as long as they’re sold through the Mac App Store.)

Here’s how it works: Instead of the traditional Open dialogue box, there’s a new box with two options: iCloud and On My Mac. On My Mac is the ‘traditional’ Mac file picker, pretty much the same concept as the one introduced back in 1984. But the iCloud option reveals a view of all that app’s documents that are stored in iCloud.

When I first opened Pages on my Mountain Lion-powered Mac, I was greeted with a collection of documents I didn’t expect to see – they were all items I had created over the past year on my iPad using Pages. I was able to open them and edit them, and the edits showed up almost immediately on my iPad, too. When the process works, it’s nothing short of magical.

Similarly, when you create a document in one of these apps and try to save it, by default the Save dialogue box is set to iCloud. You can switch over to your Mac’s hard drive if you want, but I’d wager that average users will just save their file to iCloud and not worry about navigating their bard drive’s file hierarchy.

But Documents in the Cloud id not all silver lining. Some file types – text files, for example – can be opened by all sorts of different apps, yet Documents in the Cloud doesn’t share files between apps. For example, there’s no way to insert an image into a Pages or Keynote document via iCloud short of opening Preview, grabbing the file from its iCloud window and dragging into a page or slide. That seems less than ideal.

And while iCloud is free, that’s only for the first 5GB of data. My iPhone and iPad backups already nudge me close to the limit; adding a bunch of giant Keynote presentations will probably push me over the edge. If Apple wants people to embrace Documents in the iCloud, it might want to give users a bit more iCloud space without charging them for the privilege.

iOS apps come to the Mac

With Mountain Lion, Apple is continuing the approach begun in Lion to sync the look, feel and even nomenclature used by OS X and iOS. The Address Book app is now Contacts, as on iOS. iCal is now Calendar. More notable, there are a handful of new apps that have been built specifically to match up with iOS counterparts – and to sync data across devices.

Reminders. This app, which looks more or less identical to the iOS version introduced with iOS 5, syncs your reminders via iCloud. It supports the same basic to-do list functionality as its iOS counterpart and you can set location-based reminders that will, for example, trigger alerts on your iPhone when you enter or leave a particular place.

Description: The Reminders app looks and works very much like its iOS counterpart

The Reminders app looks and works very much like its iOS counterpart

It’s hardly going to give complicated task-management apps a run for their money, but that’s not always Apple’s goal when it builds an app into its operating systems. This is an app for people who want a basic set of checklists synced across all their devices.

Notes: With its yellow college-ruled interface, the Notes app will be instantly familiar to iPhone and iPad users. It’s also a suitable replacement for Stickies, the venerable utility for jotting down a few notes to yourself.

But Notes on the Mac has a few extra tricks up its sleeve: It supports rich text with different fonts, hyperlinks, bulleted lists, images and even file attachments. The Notes apps on iOS and Mac sync together, of course, so instead of having various separate notepads on all your devices, all your notes are with you at all times. It really works and it’s been useful enough to prompt me to start using Notes on my iPhone.

Notes doesn’t use the iCloud syncing, though, which is kind of an odd choice. A legacy of the previous way you saw Notes in Mac OS as a special mailbox in the Mail app means that Notes still uses the IMAP email standard to sync, which also means you have to have a valid IMAP email account entered in the Mail, Contacts & Calendars system preference pane in order to use the syncing feature. It’s something Apple should probably just migrate to iCloud for simplicity’s sake.

Game Center. This app finally brings Apple’s buddy system for games across from iOS. Yes, you can log in, add buddies and see what games your friends are playing from the app. But the app isn’t as important as the fact that Game Center is now available to Mac game developers.

Top 10
SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
The latest Audi TT : New angles for TT
Era of million-dollar luxury cars
Game Review : Hearthstone - Blackrock Mountain
Game Review : Battlefield Hardline
Google Chromecast
Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 3) - Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air 2
Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 2) - Zagg Slim Book for iPad Air 2
Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 1) - Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
Michael Kors Designs Stylish Tech Products for Women
- First look: Apple Watch

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
Popular Tags
Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone