Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion to developers

Just seven months after Lion hit servers, Apple has released OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8) to developers. This tight development cycle is in support of integrating the best features of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system into OS X. As Steve Jobs put it in 2010, Apple intends to "hook up" the user environments of the iPad and the MacBook. The result is a substantial step forward for Apple interconnectivity. Apple’s announcement focuses on ten new features out of more than 100 changes in the OS. Of these, nine are lifted in their entirety from iOS – including Notification Center, AirPlay mirroring, Game Center, Share Sheets, iChat (now Messages), iCal (now Calendar), and Address Book (now Contacts). One entirely new feature is a security module called Gatekeeper, about which we will have more to say later.
A general focus is convergence of OS X with iCloud applications. Reminders and Notes are iCloud-enabled features, and Mountain Lion allows documents to be uploaded directly to the cloud from the File menu. Twitter integration is also a new feature of Mountain Lion with users able to tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and third party apps after a single sign in.
Porting of iOS 5 apps over to OSX has proven to be an efficient approach to the development of Mountain Lion. Apple did not have to test multiple versions of new programs and GUIs to optimize functionality and ensure a good user experience, when they already had such apps in iOS 5.
As is usually the case with Apple, there are some pieces of coal in the stocking. For example, only Mac App Store apps will be allowed to use Notification Center or the deeper levels of iCloud integration. Also the new security module Gatekeeper is strongly biased to work with Mac App Store software.