When Apple launched Mac OS X Lion last July, it brought the Macintosh operating system ever closer to the experience folks had gotten accustomed to on the iPad and iPhone. Now, just seven months later, Apple today unveils OS X Mountain Lion, an early preview version for developers.
This 9th major release of OS X goes even further in bringing features common to the iPad and iPhone to the Mac. And when Mountain Lion hits, likely this summer, Apple plans to commit to a roughly 12 month release cycle for new versions of OS X.
This is a heady time for Apple's traditional computers. The Mac has outpaced PC industry growth for 23 straight quarters. And during the last quarter of 2011, Mac sales grew 26% year over year compared to the overall PC industry, which was flat.
Apple isn't providing pricing at this point (Lion cost $29.99) or a specific date when Mountain Lion will be un-caged for consumers. The operating system isn't even in its prerelease beta state yet. But as with its predecessor, Mountain Lion will be available as a digital download through the Mac App Store (and presumably preloaded on new Mac models available at the time).
I've had a chance to check out the early Mountain Lion build on a loaner MacBook Air. Highlights of what's coming:
Apple promises a lot more, including much easier ways to share pictures, videos, links, documents and content within apps. And I'm sure you can expect a few surprises before the formal launch, Siri on the Mac, perhaps? For all of that, stay tuned.