Applications: Hit and Miss
Notes, Reminders, Contacts, Calendar and Mail
The new Notes and Reminders programs seem to have been lifted right out of iOS. They look exactly like their iPad counterparts, but have slightly expanded functionality such as improved text formatting and roomier layouts. It should go without saying that iCloud can sync your notes and reminders between all your Macs and iOS portables, and alerts show up on the desktop and in Notification Center. All of this makes perfect sense, and while we don’t see these programs as essential for everyone, they’re nice to have.
Notes and Reminders look much like their iPad incarnations.
Contacts and Calendar ditch their former names (Address Book and iCal respectively) to better match their iOS counterparts. The slightly gaudy imitation of a real-world address book and desktop calendar remain, complete with faux leather textures and imaginary ripped pages. We deeply disliked this sort of design when we saw it in Lion, and we still do. Thankfully, it’s been toned down a bit, so you can see categories in a column on the left in both apps again.
Mail has always been more powerful than iOS’s mail app and thankfully hasn’t been dumbed down to match it. The only improvement worth mentioning is that you can now designate contacts as VIPs, so mail from them shows up in a new priority inbox no matter which account it comes to. This is a good way to stay on top of instructions from a manager or important client which might otherwise get lost in a flood of messages.
Contacts and Calendar have new names but the same faux-leather appearance
Apple has been stuck with multiple chat programs with overlapping features for a while, but this latest effort to solve that problem seems to have made everything worse. iChat, the hybrid multi-protocol instant messaging client, has been replaced by Messages, which does everything its predecessor did and adds iMessage, which iPhone users will be familiar with. There’s no contact list; you have to start typing a contact’s name and you’ll see entries from the Contacts program that match, and there will be multiple entries if a person can be reached via multiple protocols. For this reason, you often end up with multiple chat threads with the same person, and can’t always be sure they’re receiving your messages unless you annoy them by messaging on each service. You can start video chats with Yahoo and AIM contacts, but FaceTime lives on as a separate program which is called up when you try to video chat with an Apple ID user (who might or might not also be an iMessage user).
Messages is a user experience disaster, with multiple fractured threads for each contact.
iMessage introduces even more complications—iPhone users generally use iMessage tied to their phone numbers, so you won’t be able to chat with them unless they also associate an email address. This means that they will now have two iMessage addresses, which leads to further fracturing of conversation threads. Those who use only an email address to hook into iMessage cannot fall back to SMS when a contact is unreachable (except of course via yet another conversation thread, which won’t sync back to other iMessage devices). Even worse, if you’re signed in to iMessage on your Mac, it’s quite possible that someone trying to send you an SMS will have their message end up on your laptop instead of your phone, it could keep beeping all day and you wouldn’t know till you sat down at it again. If you share a computer, iPad or iPod touch with anyone else and ever forget to sign out, your private messages will be visible to them. iMessage is confusing enough when we sign in from multiple mobile devices, but mixing SMS and other IM protocols in ensures that we’ll never use it beyond our iPhones.
Safari has been tweaked with a faster rendering engine, unified URL and search bar, and visual improvements. You can now “zoom out” to see a swipable row of page thumbnails. It looks exactly like the tab switching mechanism on an iPhone, which is to say it doesn’t bother making adequate use of a much larger computer screen. Unsurprisingly, there’s also a Share button and iCloud integration in the form of iCloud Tabs, which let you see what’s running in Safari on other devices and bring individual over to pick up where you left off.
Safari has a new tab manager view, but the neat iCloud Tabs will require iOS 6 on your iPhone or iPad.
Game Center looks and behaves exactly the same as its iPad incarnation. High scores and achievements should now sync across iOS and OS X versions of a game. Cross-platform multiplayer is also on the cards, but doesn’t seem to work with any title yet.
Owners of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display and most recent MacBook Airs can take advantage of Power Nap, which wakes the CPU, storage and Wi-Fi up from sleep without activating the display, sound or other components in order to keep your iCloud documents, backups, location, email and notifications current as well as download and apply updates. The default setting is for it to run only when you’re plugged into mains power, and it will never even cause the fans to spin up. Retina display owners will also notice improved graphics and scaling of older apps.
The System Preferences dialogues have received various tweaks and changes. Some options are worded differently and some are easier to understand. You need to sign in to Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and Flickr through the Mail, Contacts and Calendars page for any of the Share Sheet features to work, even though they don’t quite belong there. Time Machine can now create encrypted backups and multiple backups in different locations.
Launchpad's search bar lets you start typing part of a program's name
You can now start typing to filter the apps in the Launchpad, which is easier than scanning multiple pages. Dashboard is nearly the same apart from an improved interface for adding new widgets.
AirPlay Mirroring, originated on the iPad but now lets you mirror your screen wirelessly on any TV or projector through an Apple TV set-top box. Your Mac’s screen will scale itself to 1080p so the output on the big screen looks crisp.
Mac , Mac OS , OS X , Mac OS X , Mountain Lion , Mountain Lion review , Apple , iOS , iPad , iMac , Macbook , MacBook Pro , Retina , Launchpad , Notification Center , iCloud , Mountain Lion India , Mountain Lion price in India , Mountain Lion rupees. Game Center , Twitter , Facebook
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