OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" has been released as a developer preview and will be available to Mac users in the summer, one year after the launch of Mac’s OS X operating system, which sold 17 million copies.
Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring. It’s also the first OS X release to be integrated with iCloud.
The developer preview also introduces Gatekeeper, a security feature that helps keep users safe from malicious software by giving them complete control over what apps are installed on their Mac.
“The 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.”
Among the other new features include a Messages app which replaces iChat and allows users to send unlimited messages, photos and videos directly from their Mac to another Mac or iOS device. 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.
Hundreds of new APIs will also 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.
Apple hasn’t confirmed how much the upgrade will cost when it lands this summer.
For more details, check out the YouTube preview of Mountain Lion.