Review: OS X Mountian Lion – Part 2: The New Features

I’ve used OS X Mountain Lion for almost two days now. There’s over 200 new features in this release of OS X. There’s no way I can cover them all. But here’s the key ones that you should care about:

  • If you have an Apple TV on your HDTV, then you can mirror the display of your Macbook to the TV over WiFi. The iPad has had this feature for some time so why not every other Apple product? There’s a problem though, you have to have the hardware to run it. Here’s the list of hardware that works with this feature:
    • iMac (mid-2011 or newer
    • Mac mini (mid-2011 or newer)
    • MacBook Air (mid-2011 or newer)
    • MacBook Pro (Early 2011 or newer)
  • Notification Center makes an appearance in Mountain Lion. A rather plain graphic added to the upper-right corner of your desktop’s toolbar: three parallel lines, the one in the center slightly shorter than the other ones. Click it and a panel opens up on the right. You can see everything from Tweet replies to e-mails. Facebook will be added later this year. Any notifications that you see are subtle and they can be tweaked in the control panel.
  • iChat is dead. Long live Messages. If you’re used to it on your iPhone, it works the same way in Mountain Lion. Text, video, it’s all there.
  • Game Center that has been in iOS for some time is now in Mountain Lion. There’s only a handful of games in there at the moment and currently there’s nothing that will make me want to dump my copy of Steam.
  • There’s more integration between the App Store and the OS. Click on Software Update and the App Store opens up for example. Clearly Apple wants you to use the App Store for your software needs.
  • There’s a bit more security in Mountain Lion. Gatekeeper is a new feature that keeps you safe by letting you know when apps do something that you may not like. It will even step in and stop an app from running if your security preferences are set to keep it from running. That may be good, that may be a sign of increasing control from Apple. Maybe both. We’ll see how that works.

In the next part of my review, I’ll give you my impressions of the OS and wrap things up.

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