Today, Apple has officially announced OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, and the first developer preview is available to download now. The official release will be sometime in the summer for Apple’s latest Mac OS. Mountain Lion will continue the Lion update nature of bringing features from iOS to the Mac. OS X 10.8 will include Messages, Notification Center, Reminders, Game Center, Twitter Integration, Notes, and AirPlay Mirroring among over 100 new features.
Apple is making significant changes with this release as well, as it begins a planned yearly update cycle for OS X to compare to the yearly iOS upgrades. Also, it’s no longer Mac OS, but rather just OS X. The Mountain Lion naming also aligns with Snow Leopard as a follow up to Leopard, and the iPhone 3GS and 4S respective upgrades. Apple is taking a number of features from iOS for OS X 10.8, but they’re not copying the code, but rather sharing the same ideas and concepts between OS X and iOS. The familiar iOS features will be specifically designed and suited for OS X, and the keyboard and mouse pointer environment as compared to the touch screen interface in iOS.
The update will also include even deeper integration with iCloud for automatic configuration of mail, documents, and the new integrated features. Apple is really setting it up so that all of your information is available to you on all of your devices with no set-up beyond entering your Apple ID for iCloud. Now your Documents, Messages, Notification Center, Notes, Reminders, Mail, FaceTime, Find My Mac, Game Center, and more will be consistent on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch and whatever combinations you have. There is also new security enhancements including Gatekeeper which lets users define where apps can be installed from.
The biggest news is that OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is coming this summer for all, and it will begin a planned yearly update cycle for the Mac.
There are also in-depth hands-on previews from The Loop, Macworld, Engadget, The Verge, AllThingsD, Daring Fireball, Laptop Magazine, CNET, and PC Magazine. Apple has also created a video showing the new features in action.