Neat iCloud integration, but some of the features aren't much use and some won't reach their full potential until iOS 6
One of the key things about Apple’s products is the level of interaction between them, such as being able to send content from your iPad to your Apple TV. While the mobile devices have been very good at this, OS X has lagged behind a little. With Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple is redressing the balance, with a raft of changes designed to make working across all of your Apple devices easier.
As with recent products, iCloud is key to a lot of the integration, providing the online storage and synchronisation technology.
Apple’s iCloud now sits at the Center of operating system, directly integrated into it. One of the key changes is that some built-in apps can now save files directly to iCloud, so you can access and edit them from other iCloud-connected devices.
TextEdit and Preview are the main apps to get this feature. When you first start either app, you see a list of documents stored in your cloud storage. You can also drag-and-drop old documents into this dialog box to add these files to your iCloud storage. This counts as moving the document, so the original is removed from your computer.
TextEdit and Preview now have their own section of iCloud storage, and you can drag-and-drop old files into the cloud
From both TextEdit and Preview you can now also save files directly to iCloud, bypassing having to use your local storage at all. It works incredibly smoothly and quickly.
It’s far from perfect, though, and Apple hasn’t provided any application to browse all of your online documents, leaving TextEdit and Preview with their own separate areas of iCloud. So, if you want to find a specific file, you first have to open the application you saved it in. There’s also no way to organise files into Folders, which is annoying once you’ve got a big collection of documents.
Any file can be uploaded into iCloud, but the level of success varies. For example, if you put an image file into TextEdit’s iCloud, opening the picture opens the raw code; doing the same thing using Preview means that the file opens correctly.
For us, what iCloud is really missing is a way to synchronise documents and files regardless of the application they were created in, while providing a simple way to browse your entire iCloud data store.
With that in mind we think a dedicated file synchronisation and backup service makes more sense for most people, such as the excellent SugarSync.
REMINDERS AND NOTES
OS X has always had Reminders and Notes, but they were part of iCal and Mail respectively. With Mountain Lion, Reminders and Notes now get their own applications.
It’s a good move, particularly if you’re using alternatives to iCal and Mail, such as webmail or Outlook 2011, as you can now share your Reminders and Notes between your OS X and iOS devices.
Notes works in much the same way as the iOS version, giving you a simple application for jotting down small bits of information.
Notes is now a standalone application, which works in the same way as the iOS version
Reminders synchronises with those that you’ve made on your iOS devices, but the new version also lets you set locations, so you’re only notified when leaving or arriving at a destination.
Reminders has been pulled out of iCal and is now a standalone app
Reminders will automatically look up your home and work addresses, provided they’re entered into the Contacts app. You can also type in the name of a contact, to automatically fill in their address, or simply type an address in directly.
It’s fair to say that neither application is particularly revolutionary, but spinning them off as their own distinct programs makes a lot of sense and makes them easier to find.