Apple [AAPL] has introduced Mountain Lion, its name for the next version of OS X, due to ship in summer. I've been sifting through the data across the last few days and have gathered a series of video walkthroughs for the new OS, which is currently only available for developers.
[ABOVE: Apple's Mountain Lion video guide.]
Mountain Lion -- the video guides
Mountain Lion introduces Messages (available in beta), Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, along with other iPad-inspired features including Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring.
Beyond this, the new OS is built with iCloud integration, including document updating and new security feature, Gatekeeper. Don't underestimate the future importance of cloud across all platforms.
Insanely Great Mac was quick off the mark with its video guide (above), which mainly demonstrates the operating system's AirPlay support for the Apple TV (which doesn't work with every Mac at present).
A nice detailed preview of at least the initial stages of setting up and exploring the OS comes from The Verge (below).
Cult Of Mac has also published its own short, informative two-minute guide to the operating system. This gives us a small glimpse at many of the smaller new software improvements within the OS, if you're looking for a feature overview.
What else have we learned?
Q: Will Mountain Lion work for everybody?
No, Apple's new OS will demand a more recent Mac. As a rule of thumb, any Mac that's five or more years old won't be supported.
These include those Macs using Intel's GMA x3100 or 950 chip, and anything that's older than a mid-2007 iMac, an early 2008 MacBook Pro, early 2009 Mac Mini, MacBooks running Intel Core 2 Duo processors and the first-gen MacBook Air. If you use one of these Macs you'll need to think about upgrading, or alternatively buying yourself an iPad for AirPlay streaming to your television.
Q: Will Mountain Lion keep my apps up-to-date?
This seems likely. The new OS sees a big improvement in the App Store and application updates.
When possible, Mountain Lion will automatically detect any app that has historically been updated via Software Update and ask to register it to your Apple ID. Once this is done you will be able to use the App Store to keep your application up-to-date, even if it was installed from a DVD.
This hasn't been possible until now, and while I suspect it will require developers make some changes to their application code (and it won't keep apps not yet distributed by the App Store up-to-date), it could be very useful to many of us seeking an easy way to keep our software fresh. Though beware of Gatekeeper, which could herald a new era of Apple app control.
Q: Will Mac displays go high-res?
This seems likely. MacRumors claims to have identified a new HiDPI mode within the OS; that's alongside several resource files within the new Messages app which tend to support higher-resolution Mac screens. Can a high-res Retina Display MacBook Air or iMac be far behind?
Q: Will I need to upgrade again next year?
Yes. Apple will in future offer an OS update every year.
The company already frequently boasts about how it's operating system has seen significant upgrades at a pace far ahead of any competing OS. The effect of this is that every Mac ships bundled with what is already arguably the world's most advanced system (though if we're honest, not every Mac user is utterly besotted with every element of Lion's UI).
With annual upgrades (as revealed to Daring Fireball's John Gruber), that advantage will become ever more apparent as OS competitors struggle to match the Mac. Most importantly, it means Apple will be able to add a plethora of new features to the iCloud, deploying these across its platforms every year. In future the Mac will be invisible, and iCloud will be your Home.
[ABOVE: Apple's new Messages app replaces iChat and further merges the company's Macs and iDevices.]
Elsewhere on Computerworld
Our editors have been taking a deep dive into Apple's new OS across the last few days. You may want to take a look at the following reports, or check through our extensive Mac OS Mountain Lion resource page.
Got any more facts about the OS? Please drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.