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Apple posts OS X Mountain Lion preview, Messages beta

updated 09:35 am EST, Thu February 16, 2012

Mac OS X Mountain Lion adds iMessage, Reminders

In a surprise step, Apple on Thursday gave developers a preview version of OS X Mountain Lion, the next significant update to the core OS. The new version is directly influenced by iOS 5 and includes Notification Center, Reminders, Notes, Game Center, and Twitter integration, with iCloud syncing where it's relevant. AirPlay Mirroring is also new to the Mac and shares exactly what's on screen through an Apple TV.

iCloud integration extends from a simple signup process on first boot to apps having not just the option to save to iCloud but to have basic file management, including single-level folders.

iMessage is now a core component of the Mac and will at last let owners keep track of messages that would otherwise be going only to their iOS devices. The app is available in a free beta for Lion users and replaces iChat while keeping its support for AIM, Google Talk, Jabber, and Yahoo.

Share Sheets likewise come from iOS and, in Safari, let users not just bookmark but e-mail, message, or Twitter whatever they're seeing. Apps with the feature active will also have the option to share photos to services like Flickr, videos to sites like Vimeo, and otherwise skip the need for a companion app.

Specific Mac additions focus on security through a new element known as Gatekeeper. Similar to Android, it lets users optionally limit apps to those only coming from the official app portal, here the Mac App Store, but goes a step beyond to support non-store "trusted" developers. A Developer ID program gives companies and individuals a unique signature that verifies that proves their code is both safe to use and authentic. The approach theoretically gives developers the freedom to code outside of Mac App Store limits and end users a reassurance they're using safe code.

Chinese Mac owners are courted specifically and get access to Weibo microblogging as well as calendar, contact, and e-mail links for 126, 163, and QQ. Video sharing includes Tudou and Youku in China, and text input in Chinese characters is reportedly faster.

Underneath, the Game Kit API taps into Game Center, while a new graphics engine incorporates GLKit and should improve making OpenGL- and OpenCL-capable apps. Core Animation is easier, and the video APIs are now truly 64-bit. Developers that want to use multi-touch input from Lion can now use double-tap and OS-level lookup gestures like Apple's own apps. A kernel-level address space layout randomization technique alters the memory footprint to discourage memory buffer overflow exploits, one of the most common tactics for viruses.

Apple expects Mountain Lion to arrive in the late summer and will have at least a Mac App Store upgrade available.

By Electronista Staff


  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    developer site off-line

    6:48am west coast time, the Developer site is still off-line. You can get to the Messages download site.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    Wow, I didn't see THAT one coming. My guess: they are saving Siri for last. As a "One more thing" when Mountain Lion (I had my money on "Snow Lion", but you can't have everything) comes out.

    @prl99: Dev site is running again, I'm trying to get the ML preview off the App Store, but it's slooow.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    now on-line

    I must have just missed it. ADC for Macs is back on-line but I had to accept a new Apple agreement before I could get to the Mountain Lion page.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    Messages replaces iChat

    Messages beta replaces the existing iChat application and it's too early to test with family so I hope it continues to work with Snow Leopard and Lion versions of iChat.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002


    what fresh h*** is this...?

    ...and what may be removed, or may need to be migrated yet again to use any new hardware...?

  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2002


    Hope for the future

    I sure hope they fix SMBX. Things that worked in Snow Leopard don't in Lion and still haven't been fixed. It's a real pain here on campus.

  1. jwdsail

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000



    No Apple, what we want is to share our iOS *to* macs being used as AppleTV Extremes, not share macs to the AppleTV. Sigh.

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Junior Member

    Joined: Dec 2011


    Why do we need this?

    I haven't upgraded to Lion yet because of all the issues I read about and they are already talking about the next OS. And I should mention Microsoft is already talking about Windows 8. Insane.

  1. lutherfan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2012


    pretty lame... if you ask me...

    After I looking at the preview video... all I can say is that I hope there is a lot more that they aren't telling usI I wasn't impressed with any of the new features highlighted. Sure they are nice, but hardly anything I am LOOKING for.

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    Share sheets?

    Does this imply that Apple is about to seize all our data by erecting a walled garden around the Mac?Start writing you legislators, now...

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