I was hoping for a new experience; I’m sick of Lion. Sure, maybe I haven’t done a clean install, but my 2011 Macbook Pro came with OSX 10.7 installed. One shouldn’t have to do a clean install to get it to run more smoothly than before. In Lion, I can’t type a sentence without some sort of lag. One should be able to see why a new experience would be optimal for me.
I get to school in the morning, bringing only my 4S and my iPad 2. Normally, I bring my Macbook Pro, and, of course, I wish that I had brought it today. Throughout the two classes I take, I was waiting to get to my Pro, so that I could install some of Apple’s new software. I first heard, on Twitter, that “Mountain Lion” was out. Of course, my first assumption was to believe it was a joke, but no – Apple really released a new operating system that, according to Wikipedia, is the same as Puma.
Seeing a tweet from @chronic, I saw that we had finally gotten iMessage for OSX, something I had been looking forward to for quite some time.
When I got home, I immediately installed iMessage for Mac, or, as Apple says, “Messages” for Mac. I assume it’s called Messages because it’s not only iMessage, but, also, the same functions that iChat had. Plus, the app on the other iOS devices is called “Messages”, instead of “iMessage.”
It finally installed, but it didn’t meet my expectations. First, the contact pane isn’t integrated; it’s a separate window. The app had an overall lag about it, consistent with the rest of Lion. The default color for the chat bubbles, in Mountain Lion, was pink. Inconsistent with the default color on the iOS devices where you can’t change the colors. It gets the job done, but it isn’t even up to spec with Apple. Of course, remember, it’s in beta.
Following the popular method, I created a separate partition to install Mountain Lion. It installed.
Throughout the years, Apple has been trying to iOS-ify Mac OSX. I don’t mind; I think iOS is great. One will first notice that in the OSX startup. It’s just like the startup screen when turning on an iOS 5 device for the first time. You have your iCloud settings, your Find My Phone (Mac) Settings, and the sort. It’s nice, and for those who hate the iCloud aspect, it’s not required.
The first thing one will notice when turning past the startup screen is the extra icons on the dock. Placed on your dock, in the middle, are three of the new app’s icons. They are, in order, Reminders, Notes, and Messages. Of course, one
may argue that Notes.app isn’t new, but, actually, it is new. The previous Notes app was integrated in the mail app. The new Notes.app isnt really anything special; you can make notes, edit them, add photos and links, print and share, and that’s really about it.
There’s the expected “share” icon at the bottom where users can share the notes via various forms of communication. One of said forms of communication is via messages.app. Odd.
It can embed pictures into the notes, a thing that the iOS versions of notes.app can not do. When sending an iOS device a note from Mountain Lion with pictures in it, the pictures do not seem to make it onto the iOS devices.
Next boring feature is Reminders. It’s big, boring, and ugly. Frankly, I like the iPhone version best of all, with the iPad version very close behind.
The color schemes are, for lack of a better term, gross. Sure, they match the iOS versions, and I like that. The one thing is that the reds just don’t seem to fit. They’ll grow on me, no doubt. In the app, you can set your usual reminders for a time or a location. If you have iCloud set up, which you do, the reminders will automatically appear on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone running iOS 5+. I don’t envision anyone taking their Macbook Pro to the grocery store with a grocery list, but I could see someone making the list on the Macbook to use on their iPhone before they run out the door. Useful.
The reminders you set appear in the…notification center, which, naturally, should be the next big point.
Like iOS, Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion comes pre-installed with a notifications center. To activate it, you either swipe with two fingers from the edge of your trackpad, or, just as effective, provided your’e not in full screen mode, you tap the little circle-inside-a-circle that appears next to the spotlight search icon. I imagine that I should mention that, when you have a notification, the circle turns blue. Blue is an odd color, provided that the notifications icon has always been a red dot inside of a grey circle, but at least it’s consistent with the rest of the operating system.
When you get a notification, like Growl, there’s a pop up on the right side of your screen with the details. It has the icon + name + descriptive text about the notification. For example, if you got a notification regarding a new email, you’d see a small box. The box would be about the size of the standard growl notifications, but it would be a grey-white ish color. It would have the mail icon and the subject line of the email, as well as three to four lines of the email. Tap the notification, and it slides to the right into the notification center.
iMessage, or “Message” notifications are similar; they have the icon, name, and most of the message from the sender. They are, indeed, useful, but in a rapid IM conversation, they certainly could get in the way. Either way, I’d rather have them than not.
Of course, just like iOS, one can control the notification’s settings in the settings/configuration app.
Oddly enough, Mountain Lion comes with Game Center. Considering the fact that nobody gives a single thought about Game Center in the first place, this shouldn’t be a biggie for most people. In an attempt to unify the OS’s, I imagine that it would have to come sometime.
The app, in ML Dev Preview 1, is broken. You have to sign in; your picture isn’t there, your games aren’t there, your friends are gone, too. It probably wasn’t high priority in the developer preview yet. It has an interesting future; potentially turning Macintosh towards a gaming side. Maybe Macs didn’t appeal to children.
It’s just about how one would expect it to look; the same green poker table background with the – obviously – fake wood accents.
After this, I guess I ought to make a note of the Twitter integration, which happened to be one of my favorite features. (I love Twitter).
You have your Twitter settings in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars settings, oddly. (In there, you also have your Vimeo settings and such, odd) Sign into your Twitter account, and you’ll be able to tweet from anywhere that you see one of the “share” icons.
The Tweet UI is nearly identical to the iOS version. The screen turns a shade dimmer in the background, and, in the foreground, appears the familiar Twitter tweet sheet. You have the object you’re tweeting paper clipped to the right hand side. The Tweet is in the middle, adding location is on the bottom left, and send/cancel are on the bottom right.
Safari is faster, much faster. Switching between tabs is near instantaneous, and closing and opening it doesn’t take very much time either. It’s looks remain nearly identical to the previous version, except for the unified search and URL bar, similar to Google Chrome. This is a move that I’m very thankful for; switching between browsers with and without unified bars can get aggravating.
And, of course, you can share from Safari now -
That just about wraps up the new features in this build, except for the new Spotlight that’s inside launchpad. Tends to be more useful than one would assume.
One major thing I was looking for that is beyond all of the new features is a new, smooth performance. Honestly, it’s a different performance. Opening and closing anything is snappy now; there’s not much waiting while a memory heavy application closes. I truly did see the ever so annoying sinning wheel much less often. The animations, however, tended to be much more laggy and jumpy than on the previous OS. On Lion, I have an Xcode window open, a CS5 window, a full screen Safari, Twitter.app, multiple finder windows, and iPhoto open. I didn’t get the chance to try to Mountain Lion with all of those apps running at once, but I imagine that the outcome would be unsatisfactory for me.
I need to be able to use my Macbook Pro for more than Twitter. I’m a fan of Twitter, but I am positive that the computers are meant for more than just the single social network. I hope that the final build of Mountain Lion will make a difference.