Lots of little notes on today’s announcements…
OS X Mountain Lion
- Reminders/Notes – Not sure why this wasn’t introduced last year, it was a big gap with the iOS. For those who uses Reminders (doesn’t work well for me), this is a must. Catchup.
- Messages – Messages is nice, but unless it’s pluggable so developers can extend with new protocols, it seems like this is a drag for most. There’s a reason Adium is popular. It supports anything you’re friends or organization do. Most companies use an IM protocol of some sort. Not everyone is using one Messages will support.
- Notifications Center – Perhaps the killer feature. Hoping the API isn’t restricted to AppStore apps, but I’m not holding my breath.
- Dictation – Not sure what to make of this. Apple hasn’t indicated if it’s done locally or sent to their servers (and the NSA).
- Built in sharing – I use sharing tools pretty minimally. Looking at usage of things like tweet buttons, I’m hardly alone.
- Features for China – If it isn’t clear yet, Apple now cares about this market.
- AirPlay Mirroring – If Notifications isn’t the killer feature, this is the other competitor.
- Cloud documents API – Step one of Apple’s eventual deprecation of the Finder.
- Inline download/copy process – Finder will now show the process inline. Clearly copied from iOS and a change from the classic copy modal.
- Safari Do Not Track – Yay!
- FIPS 140-2 and Kernel ASLR – When not sandboxing and restricting developers, Apple does try to improve security.
- Go full screen on any display – YES!
- Overall – It’s 19.99 because that’s about what it’s worth. It’s not a bad OS release, it just doesn’t have anything that’s a must have. If it were much more, I think most people would just skip it.
One thing worth noting about Facebook/Twitter integration. It’s all about creation, not consumption. Both Twitter and Facebook supports notifications, yet both will push to the web vs. an integrated experience like Apple does for everything else. It’s a shame really. If the same effort to ease consumption were made to ease creation you’d get a lot more interaction vs. people broadcasting. Twitter for Mac, TweetDeck, etc. are popular for a reason.
- Maps – The data apparently comes from TomTom. It looks great, and will likely kill the other GPS apps out there if it’s decent (I’m betting not initially). Flyover looks cool, but not nearly as useful as StreetView, which is going away. I’m not sure how many people realize that.
- Siri – Some cool new features, but still no API to extend it and select partners involved here. I’m a tad underwhelmed.
- FaceTime over cellular – Unless you have unlimited data (which is going away), good luck with that.
- Phone enhancements – What Apple does best: refining an experience to be easier and more pleasant.
- Find my iPhone – Lost mode is one of the best new features of iOS 6. Don’t think it was even mentioned.
- Find My Friends – Apple didn’t kill this yet? Has anyone ever used it?
- Passbook – It’s ultimately the future, but it has a long way to go. Credit Card companies could have shared 1 physical card 15 years ago if they wanted to. When making a purchase you’d just select which credit card account to hit. The reason they never did this is that branding in your wallet is valuable. That’s a big advertisement every time you take it out in the presence of others. There’s a reason why it sticks out when you put it in the bill holder at a restaurant. Boarding passes, tickets, coupons are the same thing. Companies aren’t going to give that up for free.
- Overall – Slightly underwhelming, but this is only a list of features for legacy phones. The rest will be announced with new iPhone. Android isn’t giving Apple much reason to push here either.
MacBook Pro Retina
- Retina – Just wow. Need to make a trip to an Apple store and check it out.
- No 802.11ac – I can’t fathom why Apple excluded it other than they didn’t manage to get an Airport ready in time.
- Soldered in RAM – Sigh. I’d rather Apple have designed it’s own SDRAM replacement than fix RAM like this.
- USB 3 – Overdue, and finally done right. Almost every PC implements it with a separate chipset, hence a separate port. Apple broke the mold.
- HDMI – I’m actually against this. I’d rather an HDMI adapter when I need it (rare) and an extra USB port which is more practical. HDMI adapters are cheap and portable. USB hubs are bulkier.
- Overall – I wouldn’t buy one today. IMHO it will be refined over time. This is a new format for Apple. It’s worth noting the MacBook Pro Retina essentially replaces the MacBook in the lineup (flipping to the other side of the pro). I expect the 3 laptop lines to co-exist a while.