For many years convergence was interpreted to be the growing intermingling of the internet and television. That particular synthesis did take some significant steps forward with the popularity of Netflix and may still proceed forward in light of the upcoming Apple television sets, but most people are still accessing the internet through desktop, laptop or mobile devices, and they are still sitting in their living rooms watching completely passive television programming. The form of convergence that proceeds with remarkable velocity however is the way that conventional computer operating systems are developing to seamlessly interact with, and even resemble, mobile devices. Apple’s next version of its OS X is named Mountain Lion, and it takes a significant step in making your Mac “feel” like an iPad.
iPad Flavor in a Keyboard/Mouse Paradigm
When OS X Mountain Lion arrives this summer, it will boast over one hundred new features, and most will be imbued with that “iPad flavor” even though they will be optimized for the conventional Mac desktop and laptop paradigm of keyboard and mouse or touchpad. Apple is well aware that, until the traditional keyboard interface is replaced, iPads and tablets in general cannot be seriously considered for most business applications. Try typing 70 wpm on the iPad’s onscreen keyboard and you’ll soon give up in frustration. However, with the explosive growth being witnessed on the iPad and iPhone side, it was inevitable that OS X would evolve towards a more mobile iOS type of experience:
Messages – Goodbye, iChat, you won’t be missed. The new Messages app lets you send and receive text, photo and video messages to and from iOS units from your Mountain Lion equipped Mac, as well as sync right up to your iMessage app on your Apple mobile device.
iCloud Integration – Mountain Lion integrates iCloud far more deeply than previous OS X iterations, and now you’ll find yourself automatically set up when you log in with your Apple ID. This allows for all your mail, documents, calendar items and everything else dealing with your mobile life to remain synchronized across all your far flung Apple devices. You can now actively edit documents stored in the iCloud, not just view them.
Notification Center – Mountain Lion boasts its own iOS type of Notification Center where a simple mouse swoosh will bring down the list on the right side of the display. All your incoming mail, messages, reminders and odds and ends will be present there and the relevant app can be launched by clicking on the item.
Share Sheets – When you come up with an interesting link in Safari, just click the Share button and off it goes via email or Twitter. Facebook and Google+ are still media non grata.
Game Center – Rev up your virtual engine. You can now race (or chase or shoot) your iOS friends in any multiplayer game right from your OS X.
AirPlay Mirroring – The reasons to get an Apple TV just got better with full 720p resolution wireless streaming directly from your Mac to your big screen, just like the iOS devices.
Gatekeeper & Software Updates – Remember when you had to go to the store to buy applications in a box, install from the CD or DVD? Those days are gone. Mountain Lion is set up to be as friendly with the App Store as your iOS device. Gatekeeper actually allows you to specify whether you want to install apps exclusively from the Mac App Store; add Apple-vetted trusted developers; or even add the vast masses of conventional software.
Reminders, Notes and Contacts – These apps get the full iOS treatment in Mountain Lion, becoming effective clones of what you’ve become accustomed to in your mobile Apple devices.
These and many more features will be welcomed by Mac lovers everywhere, but the elephant in the room seems to be… where is Siri? Macs can’t boast the system on a chip tech that facilitates the iPhone 4S’ vocal assistant, so Siri fans may have to keep talking into their hands for the foreseeable future!