Apple Bred A Secret New Cat

MoD argued last year that Apple was getting so big that perhaps it was unable to really surprise the tech media any longer. And while that maybe true for the iPhone and iPad, Apple still has a trick or two in their super secret HQ.

MoD would love to link to any rumor sites story prior to today on OS X Mountain Lion, but they don’t exist. Not a single site had the codename/product name right. Now, some of the rumor sites did accurately guess some of the features, namely iChat becoming Messages, further iCloud integration, and a Notification application for OS X. However, no rumor site came close to predicting an OS X update being released this summer.

While the update has a number of interesting features, here’s an excellent recap of the features by MacWorld writer Jason Snell. There are several items about OS X Mountain Lion that are interesting about the future of Apple.

OS X Mountain Lion looks like a great update and while Apple didn’t announce a price for its’ newest cat a price figure of $19.99 seems logical, certainly no more than Lion’s cost of $29.99. With so much hardware revenue, Apple seems almost disinterested in OS update revenue.  Apple is more interested in folks upgrading their OS to the latest version. Microsoft cannot be happy about this trend from Apple, and is going to have to be very careful about how it pitches OS costs for both tablets and PCs that use the “same” version of Windows.

Apple instead of a media event to release the new software invited a half dozen of the most influential tech media for a personal media event at Apple HQ. John Gruber over at Daring Fireball has a great description of his personal media event. Apple seems focused on releasing new initiatives when they are ready, but also not abusing their media event buzz. iPad 3 will get the next media event slot in March, but Apple didn’t want to wait to launch the developer release of OS X Mountain Lion. It was ready to go, and now developers have time to be ready for WWDC and a summer launch. Also, despite just a handful of media members getting an early preview the news was all over the tech blogs by 10am that morning. In a Twitter universe the right 3 tech bloggers have the same impact as 200 media members.

Tim Cook recently discussed the iPhone Halo where Apple had 180 million iPhone users who were now also potential Mac and iPad customers. With that ever increasing population in mind, Apple is going to make OS X as user friendly as possible to the iPhone base. iCloud is being developed as the bridge to make a for a seamless user experience.  Apple wants users to have the same experience of accessing their key data across the two platforms without thinking about it.

OS X is going to get yearly updated for the near future. Instead of de-emphasizing OS X, Apple is going to expend a lot of energy to make sure that the OS X is in sync feature and capability wise with its’ multi-touch twin iOS who will be getting an upgrade to version 6.0 this summer. In addition, this yearly update indicates that Apple has expanded their OS development team to support annual upgrades to both OS X and iOS. Perhaps, a clear sign that Apple recognizes that it is a $120+ billion a year company, and has to have the resources to act like one.

Speaking of iOS 6, iOS 6 could easily get the same special invite media request treatment. March is going be all iPad 3 all the time. So instead of a second full blown media event in a short time frame, media members are given iPads 3/iPhones running iOS 6.0 for a week under embargo. Apple could then stealth announce iOS 6 later in April. WWDC in June will feature app demos of both new OSes and probably OS X and iOS versions of apps in data harmony thanks to iCloud.

iCloud features and abilities have only just started. iCloud is going to be a huge future part of the next gen releases of iOS and OS X. Apple is “all in” in terms of internet storage/internet data. Competing products should be wary since Apple is going to bake this functionality into everything they do.

Pay attention to the iCloud version of the Save files window. This extremely simplified look could be an early glimpse into a simplified Finder for OS X. A full screen file management application for new users. The old Finder would still be there for veteran users but new users may be given a whole new graphical way of managing files.  Here’s the new iCloud Open/Save screen image from Pocketlint

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