Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion’s new document model explained

The Very Model of a Modern Mountain Lion Document

Matt Neuburg does an outstanding job of describing Apple’s new document model in Mountain Lion, how it improves upon Lion and how both of them are vastly different from document models in earlier versions of Mac OS.

I’ve been struggling with “Save,” Save As…” and auto save since the Lion upgrade and while I’m not completely comfortable with the new model in Mountain Lion, reading Matt’s piece enabled me to make the changes in my System Preferences General Pane that I need to to feel comfortable, for the time being.

All of this is OS X being influenced by iOS, for better, worse, or who knows?

These are the details that Mac and to a lesser extent iOS users sweat over and I’m glad of that. Apple sweats over them too and that’s what makes this stuff work so well.

Fascinating time to be using these tools.

Mountain Lion first impressions

I upgraded my 15″ early 2011 MacBook Pro to Mountain Lion yesterday morning. Here’s what I’ve been using and loving so far:

Dictation. Works great, just like in iOS. Dictated chat messages in new iChat, some emails, and some notes as well as this sentence.

Notification Center: I love notification Center in iOS and I really like it in Mac OS now. Works better than badges in the dock and notifications interrupting things in the middle of the screen for me. I see incoming emails, texts, reminders and more, all in one place and I can snooze or close them. Great.

Mail.app: Before Sparrow was bought by Google I switched back to using Apple’s native Mail program for email and it’s working fine for my two email accounts (gmail and .me). The small upgrades to this application in Mountain Lion are excellent: better threading of related emails and no doubt much more as I find it.

AirPlay: AirPlay is now on the system menubar. We have an AppleTV and with a simple menu command I can see my screen on our big 52″ HD TV. Sweet. So, I see a fun video I want to share with my wife, just send it to the TV and she can see it. Very cool. We’ve been using AirPlay in iOS on iPad and iPhone for a while now, great to have it on the Mac too. AirPlay is an incredible technology and the way it works with AppleTV is a great example of what makes Apple such a great technology company. Fantastic stuff.

Safari: I love the unified url and search fields and how Safari intelligently deals with text entered there. I also love the Sharing button for tweeting, sending pages in email and more. Excellent, saves many steps for me. The Sharing button is system-wide and I’m finding it in other places as well. Wow, very cool.

Messages: I was using the buggy beta of the new Messages app but switched back to the older iChatAV until because it was too rough around the edges. The finished version works extremely well and allows me to connect with contacts via AIM, Google, and Apple on any computer and iOS devices. I love that I can now send a message to a phone first over wifi and then over cell. Works seamlessly.

I’d be using the new Notes application with iCloud syncing to the Notes apps on the iPhone and iPad but I already use SimpleNote and JustNotes on the Mac to sync with it and at this point I’m going to stick with the third party system because it’s more full-featured and works faster.

Here’s Apple’s intro video on Mountain Lion in case you haven’t seen it.

Here’s a list of all of Mountain Lion’s new features.

I think Mountain Lion is a hit and well worth the $19.95 cost to upgrade. My friend Gary who’s visiting did the upgrade right after me, no problems and he’s loving it.

Thoughts on Apple’s recent announcements

I was traveling the day of the Apple keynote presentation at their annual World Wide Developer’s Conference so I didn’t see the announcements live but the next day I watched the event as you can here:

Apple Special Event, June 11, 2012

If you’re an Apple user (Mac, iPhone, or iPad) and are interested in what’s coming in the year ahead you might enjoy the presentation.

Unlike others who seem to have been let down by the presentation, I loved it and it gave me a clear picture of Apple’s direction in the near and probably the mid term, maybe even the long term.

Mac OS X.8 (Mountain Lion) and iOS 6 both look like wonderful upgrades but the bottom line is this: Apple’s various devices are becoming simpler, more streamlined, and most importantly, better integrated with each other and with various social and informational services outside of Apple’s domain.

iCloud is better integrated into more Apple applications and it looks like there will be built in functionality that will compete with Simplenote, Dropbox, and Instapaper, to name a few.

Dictation, which was initially only on the iPhone is now on the iPad (3) and is coming to the Macintosh. No doubt Siri is coming to the iPad and at some point to the Macintosh as well. Think about this: it wasn’t long ago that speech to text and/or speech commands and text to speech were novelties and didn’t work all that well. Now they’re both reliable, understandable and work on small, handheld devices. This is revolutionary. Apple is betting heavy that speech will be a big part of using all of its devices going forward.

Apple’s computers are starting to move in a bigger way toward flash storage (SSDs): the new MacBook Pro model is a solid state device with no hard disk. While I’m not in the market for a new computer at the moment, I’d buy this machine in a heartbeat if I were. Solid state storage is the future of computing and no doubt more of Apple’s computers will move to it as it becomes more affordable.

Neither AppleTV nor Apple’s plans for a television were mentioned during the presentation. No doubt the next step is to tie AppleTV into this mix in a bigger way and my guess is that it will happen incrementally as it has been for a few years now. Here’s an idea for a next step: Add Game Center to AppleTV. I don’t play games on computers or iOS devices but if I did I’d be using Game Center and it seems to me it’s just a matter of time before Game Center is on AppleTV, another iOS device that will no doubt run at least some iOS apps in the future. When that happens AppleTV will essentially be an “iOS Mini” driving an HD TV and computing will have truly entered the living room.

While Wall Street and the pundits may be disappointed that this particular keynote didn’t announce much that wasn’t already known, I found it exciting to see the way the new operating system for the iPhone and iPad and the new operating system for the Macintosh work so well, individually and together.

Simpler is better and Apple is definitely moving in that direction.