Apple announced their latest operating system in early 2012 without much hype; Apple quietly updated their homepage to introduce the newest cat in town, Mountain Lion, and provided some details into what consumers can expect from the new OS. It wasn’t until WWDC ( World Wide Developers Conference ) that Apple formally introduced Mountain Lion and went through the major changes from OS 10.7 ( Lion).Apple’s naming scheme for its desktop OS has always been centered around predatory cats, and when OS 10.7 was announced many people speculated that this was going to be the end of OS X- ending of with what is widely recognized as the king of beasts.
This is obviously not the case as Apple has found a loop hole continuing OS X’s lineage. Due to OS X being used since late 2002, its not unlikely that apple wants OS XI to be a major overhaul of their current OS, unlike the previous 3 operating systems released, starting with OS 10.6 ( Snow Leopard). OS 10.5 ( Leopard) was the biggest change to happen to the OS since apple introduced their aqua UI in OS 9. Updates after 10.5 have all been criticized due to the lack of major changes and many people have compared them to the Windows equivalent of service packs. Mountain Lion is also suffering from the same criticism as the features its introducing are not very significant, and do little to change OS X fundamentally.
What Mountain Lion does do for OS X is hint at the direction Apple is taking with its desktop operating System. This direction is encompassing the best of their mobile OS ( iOS) and the best of their desktop OS and merging the two. This was also represented in OS 10.7 just last year as apple introduced the app store for desktops, and provided features such as launch control- a desktop equivalent to the iPhones home screen, showing a user all their installed apps. Launchpad even shared the same icon and behaviour for folders as the iPhone. In Mountain Lion Apple kicks it up a notch, as its highlighted features are notification center and iMessages. Both features were introduced by Apple a year ago, but for their mobile OS during WWDC as part of iOS 5.
When Apple does decide to push into OS 11 ( Apple may discard a numerical naming scheme altogether) we’re sure to see an even greater merger between iOS and Mac OS. And as the iPhone and iPad get more powerful, Apple may focus on just one OS that can run on all of their mobile devices and at the same time can be used as a desktop OS. We have already seen Microsoft take this approach with Windows 8 as it is powerful enough to be used on desktops and laptops, but at the same time is efficient and user-friendly to run on a tablet computer.
Mountain Lion is set to release this month, but no specific date has been confirmed by Apple. The new OS should drop fairly soon though as Apple, just yesterday, released the OS with golden master status- Like Microsoft’s consumer preview, except Apple never allows the average user to test a new OS, only developers. Last year OS 10.7 was released a day after Apple’s third quarter earnings call, so Mountain Lion may drop on the 25th this year. If your itching to try the new OS right now, you can sign-up for a developers account to gain access to Mountain Lion as well as iOS 6, and any future updates by Apple.