Mountain Lion and iOS 6: What You Need to Know

By Wesley Fenlon

Facebook joins Twitter as a deeply integrated social network, the Mac gets notifications, and iOS 6 gets turn-by-turn navigation at long last.

Apple announced an update to OS X, dubbed Mountain Lion, back in February. It was a surprise to see another version of OS X coming so soon after Lion, which launched last summer. Part of Apple's WWDC keynote on MOnday was dedicated to Mountain Lion's new features--the release is nearly finished and was made available in pre-release form to Apple developers attending the conference. It'll see a full $20 release this summer, just in time for the buzz to die down and make way for its second major OS upgrade of the year: iOS 6.

The mobile operating system will, at long last, offer built-in turn-by-turn navigation through a new mapping application Apple developed itself. Both updates are offering a heap of new features, big and small, from a desktop Growl replacement to cellular FaceTime video chatting.

Let's dig into both of them.

OS X Mountain Lion Features. Coming in July for $20.

  • Built-in Facebook support. Like with Twitter, Macs can easily share photos and links to Facebook. Contacts pulls in people from Facebook, Notification Center shows Facebook notifications.
  • AirPlay mirroring. Share the screen with an Apple TV.
  • Power nap. Updates App Store apps, performs Mac OS updates and backups while computer's sleeping. Only works on SSD systems.
  • Documents in the cloud developer SDK for apps like Pages. Updating a Pages file on an iPhone shows up on the desktop, and vice versa.
  • Game Center on Mac. Mac-to-Mac gameplay support and Mac-to-iOS gameplay support.
  • New apps: Messages, Notes, Reminders. Messages replaces iMessage and syncs with the mobile version on iOS.
  • Dictation. Talk to your Mac and it will type for you.

iOS 6 Features. Coming this fall.

  • Home-grown maps with Yelp integration and real-time crowdsourced traffic information. Turn-by-turn will update based on traffic info.
  • Flyover: maps are in 3D, and you can look at pretty buildings from a bird's eye view. Also supports top-down satellite view, naturally.
  • Siri is smarter, even if she's not a better listener. She knows about sports. She's integrated with Yelp and OpenTable. She can help you go to the movies. She can launch apps.
  • Siri now supports auto integration (sync your phone, press that button on your steering wheel and start giving Siri orders) and is coming to iPad.
  • Facebook integration comes to iOS as well. Integrated like Twitter into notifications. Pulls data into contacts. Great for sharing photos, etc.
  • Phone app updated with built-in reply options. Swiping a phone call up lets you reply with a message like "I'll call you later" or lets you set a reminder for yourself to return the call.
  • Do Not Disturb mode keeps the phone silent and the screen off at night (or whenever you enable it). Repeated calls in a short time period will be put through, in case it's an emergency.
  • FaceTime over cellular. Apple IDs and phone numbers can be united, so you can easily use your 3G connection to talk to someone on a Mac.
  • A new VIP mailbox will push new emails to the lock screen.
  • PassBook: a unified ticketing app for Fandango movie tickets, Starbucks gift cards, United Airlines boarding passes, and so on. Simple QR support. Supports live updates for information like flight schedules.