OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

John Gruber:

And instead of a room full of writers, journalists, and analysts, it was just me, Schiller, and two others from Apple — Brian Croll from product marketing and Bill Evans from PR. […]

Handshakes, a few pleasantries, good hot coffee, and then, well, then I got an Apple press event for one.

Is this how Apple will be introducing major OS X releases from here on? Gruber shares his gut feeling:

Apple didn’t want to hold an event to announce Mountain Lion because those press events are precious. They just used one for the iBooks/education thing, and they’re almost certainly on the cusp of holding a major one for the iPad.

Apple sure is doing some things differently. Here are the new feature of Mountain Lion that I am most excited about:

  • iCloud integration: Documents, and many more, are auto-synced. I don’t use DropBox anymore, but even if I was I would probably ditch it. All pre-loaded apps and those available on the App Store will have iCloud syncing deeply integrated.
  • Notes: Take notes on your Mac and it shows up on your iPhone and vice versa. I didn’t quite understand why Apple had notes show up in Mail, but I’m glad Notes on iOS is coming to OS X. Now I can stop looking for a decent auto-synced notes app.
  • Reminders: The same seamless experience as with Notes. It will be a challenge for todo list apps to differentiate itself. If I find the default apps good enough for me I am highly unlikely to pay for a third-party app that is marginally better.
  • Messages: Send texts to iPhones, and receive text messages from them. For free. Very nice.

Update: Software Update will move to the App Store. I never understood where Apple drew the line when updating software to use Software Update or the App Store. Now I don’t have to understand.

Update 2: The Messages app, in beta, is available as a free download. I’ve been using it today to text a few folks and the experience so far is fantastic. A side benefit is I don’t get ripped off by some wireless carrier. Like texts sent using iMessage these texts are free. I don’t normally stay connected to Skype, the only app I occasionally use to IM on my Mac, but I don’t have any urge to quit Messages; in fact I think Messages will be the first IM client in a very long time that will always be running.