Apple's New Mountain Lion OS For Mac Gets iPhone, iPad Love

Apple said Thursday that its Mac line of desktop and notebook PCs, which tend to live more often than not in the massive shadow of the iPhone and iPad, will be getting a makeover this year with the launch of a new OS dubbed Mountain Lion.

The new PC operating system is the successor to Apple's Lion OS that launched last July and, following in its older sibling's footsteps, Mountain Lion will deliver a user experience more similar to that of the iPad's iOS. "With all-new features inspired by iPad, the Mac just keeps getting better and better," the Cupertino, Calif.-based company posted on its Web site Thursday.

Mountain Lion will deliver to the Mac iOS-owned features including Apple's messaging service, notifications app and gaming center. The new OS also is tightly integrated with Apple's home-grown cloud service, iCloud, which allows users to synchronize apps including mail, calendar, contacts and documents across their Mac and Apple mobile devices. So if something is deleted, edited or added to an app on a Mountain Lion-enabled Mac, the same action automatically will be rolled out onto a user's iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, and vice versa.

"We see that people are in love with a lot of apps and functionality here," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, referencing his iPhone. "Anywhere where that makes sense, we are going to move that over to Mac."

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Mountain Lion comes equipped with another new feature called AirPlay Mirroring. With it, users can wirelessly stream digital content including HD movies and TV shows from a Mac computer onto an HDTV via Apple TV, the company's digital media receiver. Meanwhile, AirPlay -- not AirPlay Mirroring -- already is available to Apple users, which enables them to wirelessly stream content from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to an HDTV or speakers (again, through Apple TV).

Cook said in his interview with the Journal that he views Apple's iOS and Mac OS X operating systems "as one with incremental functionality." He said there is a place for both laptops and traditional notebook PCs in the market but didn't dismiss the possibility that the technologies could continue to converge. So much so, in fact, that when the Journal asked him if the market might someday see an iPad, iPhone and Mac running on the same chip, Cook said that the company doesn’t "close things off."

A preview version of the Mountain Lion OS is available for developers on Apple’s Web site and will go to market this summer.