OS X Mountain Lion; Yeah, It’s a Big Deal


Mike posted word the other day that Apple outed their next operating system, OS X Mountain Lion and gave it a late summer arrival date. Yes, just as Apple Computer lost the “Computer” from its name as it began to shift its company positioning, they have now dropped the “Mac” from Mac OS X. Mountain Lion is, in my opinion a bit of good news and a bit more good news. The good news is that they are continuing to bring OS X into line with iOS. The additional good news is that they are doing it in a manner that makes it clear that, while they are bringing the two closer from the perspective of features, they do not appear to be MERGING the two. That’s a good thing since I don’t want a mobile operating system on my desktop, and I don’t want a desktop OS on my mobile devices.


The key features of Mountain Lion, as far as Apple has thus far revealed, are, in my opinion, brilliant. You can get a sense of it via the demo video on Apple.com, but if you have a developer account you can actually download the first beta of the operating system and see it for yourself right now. Those who do so, however, are not allowed to discuss it so I certainly won’t do that. I’ll simply say that I did load it, and then I will leave an emoticon at the end of my sentence which sums up my experience:   :-)

There is a fundamental reason why bringing so many of the key features of iOS to OS X is a good move. And yes, I am pretty much the poster child for it. Here’s why …

One of the things about using multiple iOS devices is the fact that the experience is the same across the board. I have all my iOS devices set up in pretty much the same way and, as a result, I can switch from using my iPad to using my iPod touch without even having to think about it. I can then jump to the iPhone or back to the iPad and not miss a beat. The operating system is the same. The apps are almost all exactly the same. And I interact with each in pretty much the same manner. Add in iCloud moving my key files from one to the other and always keeping them in sync, and you have a seamless ecosystem that takes NO ADJUSTMENT as you move from one device to another.


For example: if I make a note on my iPhone, then it is immediately available on my iPad and iPod touch as well AND it is in a Notepad that looks and acts the same. Yes, my notes do show up on the Mac, but they do so in Mail, and takes a bit of thought and adjustment when moving from one of the other devices.


Similarly, if I create a task for myself then it doesn’t matter which device I use. Reminders is on all my mobile devices and new reminders immediately appear on each REGARDLESS of where I made them. In other words, not only are the apps the same but the specific data points for my content is the same as well. Even sharing a picture or piece of text is the same across the devices. It all goes to make the experience of using multiple Apple devices smooth. It takes literally no thought and that is what Apple is going for.


But while I can use my iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and have the same experience, when I go to my iMac or my MacBook air I need to make adjustments. As I mentioned, Notes are in the Mail.app. Notifications are available, but I need to use Growl and Reminders aren’t there at all. I can share pictures or documents but I need to use Mail or a Twitter client. It isn’t a problem as I can do pretty much all the things I need to do on any of the devices, but it DOES require me to think about it. That’s something I don’t need to do in the world of iOS.

With the new version of the operating system the Reminders that are the same on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch now also now show up on my Macs. The Notes which used to exist in Mail.app are now on a standalone application that looks AND functions just like it does on the mobile platform. The same goes for the Notification system. I am finally comfortable with it on the iPad and iPhone and the exactly the same experience will also be on the Mac.

Now I will be able to move from ANY Apple device to any other Apple device and not have to think or make any adjustments.

Sure, this isn’t a big deal if you are not completely rooted in Apple’s products, but I do think it will actually make it more likely that you WILL be some time soon. And if you already are deeply rooted in Apple’s ecosystem the way that so many of us are, it just serves to make the experience simpler than ever. And if I have learned anything in recent years with regard to my computing habits, it is that simple is good.

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3 replies

  1. Very good points about device switching, Dan; I completely agree that it’s A Good Thing(tm).

  2. I have to agree too.  Making the cross-device experience more alike will only help Apple sell computers and help users in using all of their devices.  I wasn’t all that impressed with the LaunchPad feature in Lion because it is still kind of “tacked on”, but other features – like changing the way that key presses worked (including the ability to access foreign key sets more easily) and making them much more like their iOS counterparts was brilliant.  Such a little thing, but it makes it MUCH easier to type in foreign languages WITHOUT necessarily having to switch keyboards or memorize archaic keystroke sequences.  I lauded it in iOS and loved it when such a small thing was implemented quite successfully in Lion.  Take the best from both and bring them to the forefront – an excellent approach for Apple and all users!

  3. Totally agree – the clear vision and strategy of not convergence but synergy between platforms.  When you think back to using a Newton or HP200LX 20 years ago they were barely able to communicate to the desktop, and now we are seamlessly sharing across devices.  It is awesome.