When Apple named 2011’s major OS X update “Lion” many people (including yours truly) wondered if the naming indicated that the “king of the jungle” would be the last big release for the Mac before joining forces with a unified iOS across both Mac and mobile products.
The answer to that question is Mountain Lion- still a distinctly Mac-only offering, but moving closer to feature parity with the iOS. iChat is out and Messages is in. iCal becomes Calendar, and Address Book becomes Contacts. Game Center moves onto the Mac platform, as does AirPlay mirroring, Notification Center, OS-level Twitter integration, and plenty more.
This feels like an entirely appropriate move and one that’s most likely been a long time coming. Mac OS X (now only referred to by Apple as “OS X”) had evolved for many years before the offshoot iOS appeared with a clean slate to essentially “start over.” The two operating systems have been developed in parallel since then, but it was clear that there were inconsistencies and differences in how a particular task got done. Mountain Lion is more than just renamed applications and more iOS-style UI elements- one only has to look at the deep integration of iCloud in this new 10.8 release for proof. It’s a shift for Mac users that will potentially remove the user even further from digging around for files in directories on the hard drive. You still have access to all the same folders, but the necessity to navigate them is becoming less important.