July 10, 2012

Apple’s Mountain Lion OS Goes Golden Master

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Keeping on track with their release schedule, Apple has released their Golden Master version of Mountain Lion–their latest operating system for the Mac–to developers. Golden Master versions are essentially a final and finished product and is often the same version that ships to customers. As such, Mountain Lion could be unleashed to the public any day now, keeping in line with their promise to launch the new OS in July. Apple released the GM version of Mountain Lion to registered developers yesterday through their developer portal. Now, these developers can give Mountain Lion one last look over to spot any bugs or issues before its final release.

Much like last year´s release of Lion (or OS X 10.7), Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) will be released through the online Mac App Store. When it does release, Mountain Lion will sell for $19.99.

During this year´s WWDC Keynote, Apple announced Mountain Lion would ship “in July,” though no specific date was announced. Some have tried to predict the date Mountain Lion will ship, looking to last year´s Lion release date for evidence.

For instance, during last year´s third quarter earnings call, Apple announced they would release Lion the next day, July 20, 2011.

Apple has scheduled their third quarter earnings call for July 25th, leading some to wonder if Mountain Lion will ship on the 26th. This could bring the launch right down to the wire, though it certainly wouldn´t be the only time Apple has waited till the last second of their promised ship date. For instance, when Apple announced the iPhone in 2007, they promised it would be available “in June.” The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007.

While Lion was the first move towards merging the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch operating system (iOS) and the Macintosh operating system (Mac OS X) together, Mountain Lion furthers this merger, adding some once iOS specific apps to OS X. For instance, Mountain Lion users will now be able to use Messages to send a receive iMessages from other iOS devices. Mountain Lion also brings Notification Center to the Mac, gathering alerts and notifications in a sidebar. Other iOS specific features, like sharing and AirPlay, will make their way to the desktop as well. With Sharing, users can share articles, pictures or other documents to other apps, such as Mail or to social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. AirPlay will allow users to stream content from their Mac to their Apple TV, as well as directly mirror the screen to another other display equipped with an Apple TV.

Apple is also increasing the role of iCloud between the devices, adding Notes and Reminders to the Mac. Now, these apps will stay in sync between iOS and OS X devices, via iCloud.

Another major feature of Mountain Lion is Gatekeeper, which will allow users to control what kinds of apps can be used on their machine. Users can choose from 3 different settings, depending on their desired security. In the strictest setting, their machine will only run apps they downloaded from Apple´s Mac App Store. Any app downloaded from the internet will not work in this setting. In the second setting, only apps from developers with a unique developer ID will run on the machine, meaning users can still download apps from the internet, but only if the developers are a part of Apple´s developer network. In the third setting, Gatekeeper is disabled, and users can run whichever apps they choose.

Mountain Lion could ship any day now, and if last year´s Lion launch is any indication, Apple will likely announce the release date one day before.