If you aren't a Mac user, you probably think Mountain Lion is a big wild cat. Well, it isn't, it is actually Mac's operating system, currently beta and available to a select group of developers. If you know what it is, you probably have a Mac and are drooling in anticipation of its release. It is currently releasing a second beta version, and adds some really neat features.
It's All About the Notifications
Apple users live for notifications, myself included. I just love when I hear the “new mail” sound emanate from my phone, or my favorite, the notification that I have just received a payment from my PayPal app. The first release of Mountain Lion introduced the Notification Center to the Mac, but sadly only supported a few apps like Reminders, Mail, and Messages. With the updated Mountain Lion, users will be able to receive notifications from their Twitter account such as mentions and direct messages.
This notification center is quite similar to iOS 5's notification center in terms of looks – a gray box listing all unaddressed notifications and how long ago the notification was sent. As it is displayed on a computer rather than a iOS device, pop-ups appear in the corner of the screen. The Notification Center, when opened, takes up a portion of the right side of the screen rather than the whole thing.
The Almighty iCloud
Developers were told in the first beta release that Mountain Lion would give users the ability to sync the websites they were viewing across multiple devices, but were having a hard time figuring out how to do so. With this second release, Apple brings a cloud button to Safari to simplify the process. (Let's face it, if a developer can't figure out how to perform a task, it needs to be addressed for the masses without technical computer experience.) Click the cloud button right at the top of the browser window and you are able to see any browsing tabs open on any other devices, such as your iPad or another Mac.
At first, I was a bit baffled by this. If you are using your Mac, you are at home at your computer. What use is this service? Again, it's all about putting the power of iCloud to use. Set reminders at home on your Mac, like buy milk, and your iPhone will notify you when you are in the vicinity of the grocery store to buy milk. Amazing, huh? You can also set a reminder on your iPad while at work to take the neighbor's dog for a walk, and receive the notification on your Mac. It is a great update, as in the first beta release users could only set due date-based reminders.
As previously stated, this is only available to developers. Apple plans to release OS X Mountain Lion this summer.
Don't want to wait? Head to the Apple website and download Messages Beta for your Mac. It will allow you to send unlimited messages to other iPad, iPhone, Mac, or iPod Touch users, and will also give you the opportunity to see a very small part of OS X Mountain Lion.