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Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview

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The New OS X Mountain Lion. Image courtesy of Apple.

The New OS X Mountain Lion. Image courtesy of Apple.

Cupertino, California (Scicasts) - Apple has today released a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the company's operating system, which brings popular apps and features from the iPad to the Mac and accelerates the pace of OS X innovation.

Mountain Lion introduces 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 revolutionary security feature, the company says, which keeps users safe from malicious software by giving them complete control over what apps are installed on their Macs.

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

New Features

The new Messages app, which replaces iChat, allows users to send unlimited messages, high-quality photos and videos directly from their Macs to other Mac or iOS devices. Messages will continue to support AIM, Jabber, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. Starting today, Lion users can download a beta of Messages from www.apple.com, and the final version will be available with Mountain Lion.

Reminders and Notes help users in creating and tracking their to-dos across all of their devices. Game Center lets the users personalize their Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether they are on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Mountain Lion presents notifications in an elegant new way, and Notification Center provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third party apps. System-wide Share Sheets make it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third party apps.

In addition, Twitter is integrated throughout Mountain Lion so users can sign on once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and third party apps. Mountain Lion also introduces AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of a Mac's content to an HDTV using Apple TV.

The company highlighted that over 100 million users have iCloud accounts, and Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up iCloud and access documents across all devices. Mountain Lion uses a user's Apple ID to automatically set up Contacts, Mail, Calendar, Messages, FaceTime and Find My Mac. The new iCloud Documents pushes any changes made to a user's content included in a set of devices so that documents are always up to date, and a new API helps developers make document-based apps work with iCloud.

Mountain Lion also ships with features specifically designed to support Chinese users, including significant enhancements to the Chinese input method and the option to select Baidu search in Safari. Mountain Lion makes it easy to set up Contacts, Mail and Calendar with top email service providers QQ, 126 and 163. Chinese users can also upload video via Share Sheets directly to leading video websites Youku and Tudou, and system-wide support for Sina weibo makes microblogging easy.

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.

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