OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3

AirPlay Mirroring
If you have a second or third generation AppleTV, then you can use your Mac to push content to an HDTV via AirPlay. Many with iPads have been doing this for a while, and in Mountain Lion, Apple now allows you to push 720p content from your Mac to your TV through AppleTV.

Any web-based, streaming video service you’ve got for your PC can now be viewed directly on your TV. Unfortunately, this is another feature that isn’t active yet in Mountain Lion, so there’s no real way to test it or take screen shots of its components. However, I anticipate that it will have a similar look to what we have in iOS now.

Notes on the iPhone is very much like Notes was in Windows Mobile, back in the day. Text only, it’s a place to stash quick ideas or thoughts, nothing more. In Mountain Lion, you get the full benefit of OS X and a PC. Notes on the desktop includes the ability to use rich text, bulleted or numbered lists and to add a photo. Again, you get full search capabilities thanks to Spotlight. In the months following ML’s release, you should also be able to store and use clickable URLs and links.

Sharing notes via email or iMessage and Messages is easy via an included desktop app; and a pinning feature allows you to put stickies right on your desktop. Notes also lets you sync your notes with all of your iDevices.

I was never a huge fan of Notes; and in 3D-Land, I don’t like using Post-It’s either. However, many people need a good method for organizing the odd-out piece of information, and Notes is an excellent application to use for this purpose.

Twitter Integration
The popular status service is becoming increasingly popular with the current generation of teen cell and smartphone users who are used to describing their current drama level in 140 characters or less. It’s not a huge development, but others are correct when they say that it further demonstrates Apple’s willingness and desire to bring the desktop and mobile devices closer together.

Like its mobile counterpart, ML allows you to tweet directly from connected or enabled apps, provided your credentials are stored. In my opinion, while nice, the feature is incomplete. Yes, I tweet, and it’s a start; but I also use Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn among other networking services. This isn’t going to be finished or completed, until I can consistently status all of them at the same time.

Game Center
The iPod Touch is perhaps one of the best mobile gaming platforms anywhere. Capitalizing on this, Apple introduced Game Center for iOS and the gaming arena now has over 100 million registered users. In order to provide you with another point of seamless integration between your iDevice and your Mac, Mountain Lion will include a version of Game Center.

Unfortunately, Game Center isn’t available in any Developer Preview of the desk side OS. However, when the OS is released, you’ll be able to customize and synchronize your gaming experience (games, gaming network, etc.) on your Mac. You’ll be able to play games across all of your Apple hardware and participate in in-game audio chats, receive notifications, etc.

Currently, Apple is also putting its final touches on Game Kit, which will allow game developers to create multiplayer games that can be played on your Mac as well as your iDevice.

Share Sheets
Mountain Lion adds an easy way to share photos, videos, and web links in a feature called Share Sheets. In a supported app, after you click the iOS-like share button, you’ll be able to create a Share Sheet and then send that content to friends through Mail, iMessage, AirDrop, or specific, supported web sites, like Facebook or Twitter (for example), or some other supported network or site.

Sharing options are content sensitive and destination sensitive. If you’re looking at a Web page in Safari, for example, you’ll have options to share via e-mail, iMessage, or Twitter. Share Sheets aren’t a new concept; but it’s likely they will support drag and drop sooner rather than later. Apple has created an API for Share Sheets and it’s obvious that once Apple has implemented the common interface at the OS level, 3rd party developers will eventually create services that will allow users to share content. It’s just a matter of time.

Gate Keeper
Security is becoming a bigger and bigger concern in Mountain Lion. Not only is Apple requiring all developers to sandbox their applications, limiting access to memory, file handles, etc. Along with this and other security measures, Apple is giving its users the ability to identify where system specific apps can be installed from.

Mountain Lion’s Gate Keeper will allow users to specify that they only wish to install applications that come from the Mac App Store. Users may also indicate that any third party apps is ok, but this has the potential to open your system up to unwanted malware.

Those users that don’t want things too restricted, but don’t want every app in the world running on their system can choose a third option that allows not only apps from the App Store but also those apps signed with a third party developer’s Developer ID. If you do get malware after that, at least you’ll be able to point the fickle finger of fate at “the Key Master” and boot Vince Klothor off your system. Unfortunately, at this time, Apple hasn’t totally vented out how that tracking system will work. The details should come in the final release of Mountain Lion, expected later this month.

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