NEW YORK –
February has proven to be a big month for operating systems, with Microsoft and Apple releasing test versions of their latest software.
Apple announced the developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion is available for download starting today. The OS is expected to go on sale this summer.
Microsoft had already announced the public beta of Windows 8 would be released on Feb. 29.
Mountain Lion’s updates are heavily derived from iOS, the company said, with many features now found on the iPad being ported over. These include better integration with iCloud, messages, reminders, notes, notification center, share sheets, game center, Twitter, AirPlay mirroring and gatekeeper.
The Apple tagline is “Inspired by iPad. Re-imagined for Mac.” Some of the iPad functionality includes:
• Messages, said to be is an improvement on iChat, allows messages to be sent to any Apple device, along with photos, videos and documents;
• Reminders, a list-making app that can work in conjunction with other Apple devices through iCloud;
• Notes, with an extended textwriting function that can also be shared through iCloud;
• Notification center, which acts as a central depository for emails, instant messages, calendar alert and social-media alerts; the user is notified via a short-lived banner that appears on the desktop that something new is in the center for viewing;
• Shared sheets, a button that will be found on many Mountain Lion apps that will push links, photos and videos from the website to friends; and
• Game center, where the user can play multiplayer games with friends or congregate the games they already own.
The primary feature for Microsoft’s Windows 8 is its ability to operate in a touchscreen environment. Microsoft is banking on Windows 8 to compete with Android 4.0 and iOS to fully compete in the tablet market.
Other benefits are:
• a faster boot time;
• using a Metro interface that emulates the mobile environment from Windows Phone 7;
• Windows 8 running on ARMbased processors along with x86 chips from Intel and AMD;
• the ability to run two apps side by side, called Snap Multi-tasking;
• native USB 3.0 support; and
• better Internet experience with Internet Explorer 10.