Apple's iOS has influenced where its OS X is heading.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook showed off a new version of the OS X 10.8 dubbed Mountain Lion that uses a lot of the same features from the company's much-loved iPad. In fact, the company is using the iPad in the OS X 10.8 marketing material, calling it "Inspired by iPad."
The new operating system will feature Apple's messaging service, notification app, gaming center, sharing and integration with the company's online service iCloud -- seemingly borrowing straight from the iOS. The Wall Street Journal suggests this means that all of Apple's products are "destined to converge."
CNET also seems to point this out, calling Mountain Lion sprinkled liberally with "iOS fairy dust."
Messages, as it's called in Mountain Lion, will replace iChat, the chat software Apple includes out of the box. Users will still get access to IM networks like AIM, Yahoo, and Jabber, though Apple's added compatibility with the same iMessage service that was introduced as part of iOS 5, which Apple says has now served up 26 billion messages since its October launch. Messages can be used to send and receive iMessages with these users for free, and the conversation can be picked up and continued from any device with that same Apple ID and iMessage enabled.
Basically this means if you use iMessage, write notes or reminders on an iPhone, it can be seen and retrieved from any Apple device, including Mac or iPad, because of iCloud.
Most iPad users will notice the new Mac OS is looking very familiar with notifications accessible from any screen and a finger-swiping motion allowing it to open on the side. There are built-in share sheets to send information to social media outlets, and the new OS will also support a feature called AirPlay Mirroring, which lets users view what's on the screen of their iOS device and Apple TV.
The one big difference from the iOS is Mac's new Gatekeeper, an Apple security feature to defend the machine against increasing malware attacks. All the features on the new Mac OS can be viewed at the Apple site.
Cook said the Mac is a vital part of the company and benefiting from the success of the iPhone and iPad, especially in China. However, despite his enthusiasm, Macs only represent about 5.4 percent of global PC shipments in the last quarter of 2011. Granted, it has grown slightly from the year before (4.5 percent) but it's small potatoes in comparison to the iOS cash cow. Apple's revenue rose to 73 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, but its money from Macs fell from 20.3 percent to 14.2 percent.
Apple has also decided to rid itself of the "Mac" in Mac OS X and changed it to OS X Mountain Lion. While some may say this is more proof that Apple is downplaying the importance of its PCs, it may be more likely that it's trying to promote its iOS operating system -- and the Mac has simply become a peripheral of iOS devices.