The launch of OS X Mountain Lion was the most successful in Apple history with over 3 million downloads in the first 4 days! We have had the privilege of working on the system for quite a few months now, testing our apps work for you when you upgrade.
We are all really enjoying using Mountain Lion, it's an improvement on OS X 10.7 Lion and there are lots of features that we could not imagine being without already. This is always a good sign that Apple have got it right.
I put it to the team to share their top features:
Dan, Founder: iCloud Documents
“It has to be iCloud, specifically when working with documents. Knowing I can pick up my Mac or iPad and have access to all my important files is truly amazing. Another handy and slightly hidden feature is being able to create folders in the iCloud Documents Library, to do this simply drop one document onto another — just like on iOS.
Now, if only my todo list was stored on iCloud it really would feel like we're finally living in the future!”
Ben, Web Developer: Notification Center
“I've found myself using Notification Center more than I originally thought I would when it was announced, and certainly more than I do on iOS (never). Getting Mail, Calendar, App Store & Twitter notifications in a nicely designed, unified way is a big win for me.
I'm hoping more apps will start adding Notification Center support soon. It's also handy that you can Option-click the menubar icon to disable all notifications.”
Chris, UI Design: New Look Dock
“Whilst there's a few things I dislike in Mountain Lion, there's a lot of things I do like, especially the new Dock in 10.8. The Dock is always something that I have visible and I found that the one introduced to us in Leopard always felt cheap. Not any more. The glassy finish has been replaced with what seems like a futuristic, metallic frosted glass with sleek blurred reflections of the app icons. Even the indicators are embedded in a way that's very reminiscent of the machine it's running on. Hopefully we can see this design move over to the iOS home screen.”
Hamish, QA Manager: Tab View & Smart Search
“Safari 6 introduces some great features to make browsing a faster and more productive experience.
As well as enjoying the Share button and Offline reading list, I am loving the gesture driven Tab View. Tab View allows me to easily cycle through all of my tabs with just a pinch and swipe with two fingers. As Apple says, "Multi-touch makes Tab View a fun and natural way to browse".
The Smart Search Field is also worth highlighting as it too adds to the smoother experience. While a combined search/address field isn't entirely new in other browsers, it is certainly a welcome addition to Safari.”
James, Engineer: Time Machine
“I've thousands of photos and videos on my Mac and an external hard drive. When Time Machine was introduced it was a blessing in keeping it all backed up. In OS X Mountain Lion Time Machine has been enhanced to support backup to multiple locations. I can now keep a backup hard drive at home and one at Realmac HQ and effortlessly use both of them without having to manually switch between the two.
Another feature that plays hand in hand with Time Machine is the new Power Nap. Now whether I'm busy editing photos in Analog or I've put my Mac to sleep, Time Machine backups will run every hour. I've never felt safer in the knowledge that all my content is safely backed up. If you're not using Time Machine already, now is the time!”
Keith, Engineer: SceneKit
“I’m not actually running Mountain Lion yet, however the developer feature thats stands out for me is SceneKit, which can be used to composite 3D scenes, but I haven’t used it so I couldn’t actually comment on how good it is!”
Ted, Engineer: VIP contacts
“The ability to tag a contact as a VIP and then only get notifications for their new mail items (via the new Notification Center) is really great. Seeing Apple applying iCloud in more novel ways to things - such as iCloud tabs (being able to see all your open tabs on every device) - promises of more novel things to come. Then there are usual little details, things such as Finder in place copy/move progress bars and three finger tapping a file to quick look it.
A feature I thought was new was the ability to drag an application bundle onto Preview and see all of the assets it contains. It turns out it's not new in Mountain Lion. I imagine a fair few new things will have gone in this release too which we won't discover until 10.9 or beyond..”
Damien: Engineer: Sandboxing & Gatekeeper
“There's been a lot of discussion around Sandboxing since the launch of OS X Lion last summer. While sandboxing greatly enhances the security of OS X there are apps that, by their nature, are simply not a good fit for sandboxing and as a result, the Mac App Store. With OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, there's a new feature called Gatekeeper. This allows developers to distribute their apps away from the App Store (especially useful if the app in question cannot be sandboxed) and by default only apps that are digitally signed using what's called a Developer ID, or apps bought from the App Store can be launched by users.
This goes a great length to help prevent your files being affected by malware - and if an app signed by a Developer ID is found to be malicious (or the security of the app is found to be compromised) Apple can revoke the Developer ID for the app, and users will (with the default settings set for OS X Mountain Lion) be unable to install the app.”
Nik: Product Manager: Dictation & Airplay
“My two favourite features originally launched in iOS 5 - which seems like a theme for quite a few of Mountain Lion's features!
Dictation is especially useful as it's available in every text field throughout OS X. You have to enable it in System Preferences and requires a network connection, as your dictation is processed by Apple servers which supposedly learn from you as you speak. Just press the Function key twice to activate it in a text field and start speaking. It's not really something you can use in a busy office, but giving a test at home the performance is definitely promising!
The other favourite of mine is AirPlay. Allowing you to mirror your Mac to an Apple TV, it's great for showing video or Keynote presentations. On first glance it'd appear that Apple didn't show as much love to audio as they did video, but if you Option-Click the Volume item in the menu-bar, you can route audio output to an AirPlay-enabled device such as an AirPort Express or Zeppelin Air.”
Rob, Marketing: Twitter Integration
“I'm particularly enjoying the Twitter integration built into Mountain Lion. Set up through System Preferences I get notifications through to the Notifications Center. I will never miss an @-reply or Direct Message again!”
As you can see, we've been really enjoying some of the new things in Mountain Lion - but there's a lot more things beyond what we've highlighted above! Post below and let us know what are your favourite features in Mountain Lion that we've missed?