In a move that surprised many, Apple today announced the next major release of Mac OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion.
With Mountain Lion, Apple continues to blur the lines between OS X and iOS, so much so, the advertising tag line is, "Inspired by iPad. Re-imaged for Mac."
With more than 100 new features to look forward to, Mountain Lion is going to be a must upgrade for Mac users with modern hardware (2009 and later). The tentpole applications for Mountain Lion include deep iCloud integration, Messages (replacing iChat), Reminders and Notes (taking over for features in the Mail application), Notification Center, Share Sheets, deep Twitter integration, Game Center, AirPlay Mirroring (requires a second generation Apple TV), and Gatekeeper.
Additionally, the Software Update control panel will be making the jump from a stand alone application to a feature inside the Mac App Store application - just like the software update feature in iOS.
You can read more about the major features of OS X 10.8 on Apple's Mountain Lion website.
With today's announcement, Apple has made Messages available as a free download to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion users. You can download Messages for OS X from the Apple website.
While Apple was publicly talking about Mountain Lion today, they weren't talking release schedules or pricing. Apple was only saying, "OS X Mountain Lion arrives this summer." Mountain Lion, like Lion before it, will be available only as a purchase from the Mac App Store. Registered developers can download a beta version of OS X Mountain Lion starting today with a $99/year paid subscription.
I remember when Apple first started talking about how Lion was going to bring many of the iOS features to OS X and was not really looking forward to 'dumbing down' my Mac. But Lion has been a nice upgrade and I'm perfectly comfortable with it, so much so, I'm looking forward to getting Mountain Lion installed sooner rather than later.