Apple to Converge iOS and OS X Features with Mountain Lion Operating System

Apple to Further Converge iOS, Mac OS and Cloud Services with New Mountain Lion OS

by Anton Shilov
02/16/2012 | 03:43 PM

Apple on Thursday released a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the OS X, which brings popular apps and features from iPad to the Mac and further unifies user experience and data across different devices. Essentially, it means that Apple is looking forward to create an ultimate platform that spans across all types of devices.


Mountain Lion introduces Mail, Calendar, Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring. Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a security feature. Mountain Lion also introduces AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what's on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV. Game Center lets owners to personalize Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

Mountain Lion makes it easier to set up iCloud and access documents across all of one's devices. Mountain Lion uses Apple ID to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. The new iCloud Documents pushes any changes to all devices so documents are always up to date, and a new API helps developers make document-based apps work with iCloud.

Hundreds of new APIs give developers access to new core technologies and enhanced features within OS X. The Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, making it possible to create multiplayer games that work across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A new graphics infrastructure underpins OpenGL and OpenCL and implements GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, to make it easier to create OpenGL apps. Using Core Animation in Cocoa apps is easier than ever, and new video APIs deliver modern 64-bit replacements for low-level QuickTime APIs. Enhanced Multi-Touch APIs give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced mitigation against buffer overflow attacks.

The addition of applications for iOS to Macintosh personal computers as well as improved integration between devices clearly shows Apple's intention to create a mega-platform consisting of many different devices. Such unification does not slowdown evolution of every single piece of the mega platform, but improvement of every single product essentially spearheads of the whole mega-platform. Apple allows software developers to take advantage of iCloid as well as all the APIs so that to enable access to documents (and very likely other data over time) from all devices using different programs (e.g., Pages for iOS and Pages for Mac OS in case of documents), which gives a lot of freedom and convenience. One thing that is unknown is how will software for iOS will look on big screen Mac OS devices.

Apple is not alone in its attempt to bring mobile and desktop operating systems as well as devices closer to each other. Microsoft does something similar with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7.5.