Apple unveils iOS-inspired OS X Mountain Lion

Mac OS X Mountain Lion

Apple today uncloaked its next major Mac OS X release, shifting more features from iOS 5 over to its desktop platform.

Messages, Notes, Reminders and the Notification Center will all appear in OS X Mountain Lion, which was opened to developers today with over 100 new features.

Users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the App Store in late summer, Apple said.

iCloud functionality has been tied in closer to the OS, designed to make it easier for account holders set up and access their cloud-based apps and data. OS X Mountain Lion will drag all iCloud users' information down onto the desktop once the user has signed in with their Apple ID.

Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters.

Tighter Twitter integration will allow users to sign in once and tweet directly from various clients, including Safari and Photo Booth.

Apple has also introduced what it believes is a "revolutionary new security feature" in Gatekeeper. It simply lets users choose which sources they can download apps from. For instance, they could change their settings so only software from the Mac App Store could be downloaded.

"Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

"The developer preview of Mountain Lion comes just seven months after the incredibly successful release of Lion and sets a rapid pace of development for the world's most advanced personal computer operating system."

Initial reaction from analysts has been positive, with Gartner's Michael Gartenberg taking to Twitter to sing the operating system's praises.

"It's not iOS replacing Mac OS but integrating experiences across platforms as appropriate to make an Eco-system. Very different approach," Gartneberg said.

"iCloud experience more tightly integrated into Mountain Lion. Apps can now see iCloud directly as an information storage location."

Apple and Microsoft will be waging a major OS war this year, as Windows 8 is due for a release before the year is up. A beta release of the Microsoft OS is due imminently.

Both borrow heavily from their respective mobile OS experiences.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.