Well I can't say I'm not surprised. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we'd be hearing about an OS X update in February, nor that it would come with the oh so obvious title of Mountain Lion.
But here we are, just two days after Valentines Day. A brand new version of OS X ready for developers to start munching on, learning its new capabilities and how to include it in their apps.
Everything about Mountain Lion seems obvious. There isn't one curve-ball that has left me scratching my hand. It is the obvious evolution of OS X as it grows alongside iOS.
It's wonderful that Apple has gotten around to removing a lot of OS X's cruft. This cruft was not only outdated but also a source of confusion for new OS X users - especially when coming from iOS.
iCal, iChat, Address Book have been cleaned up and renamed for consistency with their iOS counterparts. iCal is now Calendar, with Notes and Reminders now broken out into their own respective apps - just like iOS. iChat is now Messages and includes seamless support for iMessages. Lastly Address Book has been renamed to Contacts. All told these changes remove a lot of confusion when switching from iOS to OS X, something that all users will benefit from.
The one controversial change in Mountain Lion is the addition of Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper introduces a tiered security wall, letting users choose what level of trust an app must have before OS X will allow it to be installed. The default setting is to trust Mac Store apps and apps that have signed up for and implemented certifications of their trustworthiness.
Undoubtably the tech blogosphere will blow this change out of proportion. There remains an option to trust any and all apps, just like Lion currently behaves. So long as Apple never removes that option then this will forever remain a non-issue. In large ways Gatekeeper will benefit many users. The average computer user doesn't need root level access at all times. Nor should the average user trust and install anything they want. This is where Gatekeeper will help.
There are many more features that Mountain Lion comes with. For a more in-depth break down check out Apple's official Mountain Lion page as well as the in depth coverage provided by MG Siegler on TechCrunch and John Gruber on Daring Fireball.
I can't wait to install this thing.