OS X Mountain Lion First Thoughts

I was a bit surprised today to find out that Apple had announced another new OS only 7 months after they launched Lion. As you would expect though, Mountain Lion is more of the same in terms of new additions being heavily inspired by their incredibly successful mobile operating system, iOS.Probably the most useful new additions are notifications, notes and airplay mirroring. There’s no real reason to explain what any of these apps do as it’ll be very clear to any iOS  and Mac users what is being done with them, but there are still some things to mention.

While it’s hardly revolutionary, Notification Centre has its place in Mountain Lion. It should prove to be pretty useful and it’s just nice that Apple have finally got an official notification app, as in the past, a lot of OS X users have turned to an app called Growl for this functionality. It would be unfortunate if this rendered that software obsolete, but it definitely makes OS X a more complete operating system right out of the box for the general consumer.

Notes was already a part of Mac OS for a number of years, but until now it’s been nestled away as part of the Mail app. It still synced with iCloud, (mobile me originally) but it wasn’t the most simple of experiences which Apple have clearly picked up on and wanted to rectify now. If you weren’t a fan of the Mail app, or just prefered Gmail or another web based service as I do, you probably would go elsewhere for your note taking service. As a standalone app, Notes is far more appealing due to its simplicity, desktop pinning options and stylish layout as well as the clear benefit of iCloud syncing to your other devices. Like most of the other Mountain Lion features, it’s an obvious addition, but a good one.

AirPlay Mirroring is something that we’ve all wanted in the past. Connecting your laptop to a TV with a cable in order to watch a streaming service of some kind has never been as easy as it should have been. AirPlay mirroring on iPhone 4S and iPad 2 went some way towards that goal but with a mobile OS you’re always hampered from doing certain things due to the limitation of the browser or apps not letting you stream content. With AirPlay Mirroring on Mac OS you’ll have the most freedom in connecting a computer to a TV ever. A cable-free experience that is extremely simple to set up, all the while being unrestricted as to what content you can display on the biggest screen in your house.

It also just goes to further enhance the viability and usefulness of the Apple TV. I love what I can do with mine. I stream NBA games from the iPod app to the TV with Airplay, watch movies with Netflix, stream music and so many other things. It’s a fantastic little box if you understand how to use it to its full potential.

And if Apple overhaul the software at some point and add an app store, the potential is practically limitless for what you could do with it. It could even be used for gaming if you had a bluetooth controller to pair it with. Having said that, we’ve already seen real racing 2 adopt AirPlay to stream the picture to the TV and play the game using the tilt function of the iPod, iPad or iPhone. This concept could be taken so much further in future.