It has been only seven months since Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.7 Lion and today the company announced Mountain Lion—the next major update to its desktop operating system. As 9to5Mac first learned in October, Mountain Lion brings even more popular iOS features to the Mac platform. The notion is shared by those Apple invited to a private briefing a few day ago: Mountain Lion is all about putting even more of iOS into the bowels of OS X. Meanwhile, iOS-ification of OS X continues with Twitter integration in Mountain Lion and new iOS-esque apps, such as Messages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirroring, Notes, Reminder, Game Center, and deep iCloud integration.
With over a hundred million iCloud accounts now in use, Mountain Lion’s setup assistant will now ask you to set up an iCloud account for the Documents in the Cloud and Find My Mac features, as well as to sync contacts, email and chat messages and calendar entries. You can also access your iCloud storage in Finder and drag and drop documents for manual syncing between iOS apps that support Documents in the Cloud and their desktop counterparts.
AirPlay Mirroring is another welcome addition for those wishing to securely beam a 720p video stream of what is on your Mac to a HDTV through the Apple TV. Share Sheets, a new system-wide feature, is accessible from Apple’s and third-party apps for sharing links, photos, and videos. Like in iOS, Twitter integration means you give your Twitter credentials once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and supported third-party apps.
Mountain Lion Beta is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today whilst end-users can upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012. The company also pledged to update OS X once a year from now on. For more information, check out Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lion Sneak Peek page.
The full release, more features and two press shots are after the break.