updated 02:17 pm EDT, Mon June 11, 2012
New Macs to ship with Lion, get free upgrade
As expected, Apple has formally detailed the next major Mac OS X release, referred to as Mountain Lion, which is scheduled to arrive in July. Version 10.8 is claimed to offer more than 200 new features, including "Documents in the Cloud," native voice dictation, and deeper iCloud integration that will automatically sync Messages, Reminders and Notes content.
Documents in the Cloud stores documents created or viewed in Pages, Keynote, Preview and TextEdit. The company will offer an API to extend the service into third-party apps, while other files can be placed into the cloud storage system via drag-and-drop migration.
The Notification Center for Mountain Lion will mimic its iOS counterpart, serving as a common location for alerts from various programs. The system intelligently disables notifications under certain circumstances, eliminating the possibility of accidental pop-ups when making presentations on a projector.
The Sharing button has been integrated across multiple programs, such as Safari, enabling users to use the feature universally after providing authorization just once.
Like Windows 8, Mountain Lion is capable of performing a number of processes while the devices is in sleep mode. When used on the second-generation MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro, the system can be set to automatically run software updates or backups while on standby with the lid closed.
Apple has continued to drop the price of its major Mac OS X releases, as Mountain Lion can be purchased for just $20 and a single license can be used on multiple machines. The company has yet to finalize a specific release date, though developers will quickly receive a near-final build to hasten the process.