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Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4

Mountain Lion, a.k.a. OS X 10.8, marries the Apple desktop operating system to iOS features that previously were found only on the iPhone and iPad. Among them: Messages, Notifications, Reminders, a Game Center, and better integration with iCloud. It's not a revolutionary upgrade to the desktop OS, but it should please Mac enterprise users.

Messages Beta

If you've been using Messages Beta on Lion, then you already have an idea of what it brings to the desktop. When Mountain Lion officially becomes available in the App Store, Messages Beta will stop working in Lion, and you'll have to upgrade to Mountain Lion to keep using it.

Notifications

Applications such as Growl have been providing system notifications in OS X for quite some time. Apple finally has brought Growl's functionality to Mountain Lion by integrating system-wide notifications into the operating system. The actual implementation takes its queues directly from iOS. They share a similar tray background, look and feel.

When system or app events occur on your Mac, those notifications will appear in the upper right corner of your screen, first as a self-dismissing notification, like in Growl. Notifications then go into a self-hiding event tray that slides out on the right side--as opposed to coming down from the center of the screen as it does on your iDevice. System event notifications disappear after a few moments. You'll have to manually dismiss other types of notifications.

How this will work--or conflict--with notification apps such as Growl is not yet known. Growl has been around for years, but it is possible that it might be out of a job.




Like Growl, Mountain Lion brings new types of notifications to the core OS. Here, you see a calendar notification in the upper right corner.



After initial dismissal, if you need to see all of your notifications, you can recheck them by clicking on the bull's eye. The Notifications tray falls out in a gray, linen background.

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