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OS X Mountain Lion was launched earlier this week. For those who don’t know, OS X is Apple’s flagship operating system. Each new update comes with its own code name. On Wednesday, July 25, Apple released the ‘Mountain Lion’ update.
While Mountain Lion, unlike previous updates, was not a huge leap forward for Apple, it did add some notable refinements to OS X.
PC World recently published a list of things Windows 8 could learn from the recent Mountain Lion update. Windows 8 is currently receiving a mixture of criticism of praise in the months leading up to its release, and Microsoft might be able to learn a thing or two from Apple about innovation.
5 things Microsoft can learn from Mountain Lion
5) Improve the notification center
OS X has a versatile notification center. Users can scroll through calendar notifications, messages, mail, and app updates on the right side of the screen. The notification system seamlessly integrates with the desktop, making it a useful addition instead of a little-used annoyance. Windows 8 will feature a notification system, and it will be easier to access than OS X’s system (simply slide the mouse to the left side of the screen), but it doesn’t list updates that users might have missed in the past. So, if you don’t want Windows 8 bugging you while you’re trying to work, but still want to look at the notifications you’ve received throughout the entire day, then you can’t easily do that in Windows 8.
4) Make SmartGlass as useful as AirPlay mirroring
When Microsoft announced SmartGlass at E3 earlier this year, the tech industry was impressed. SmartGlass allowed PC users to seamlessly connect their tablets, smartphones, and Xbox 360 together to create an expanded viewing experience. Viewers could watch Game of Thrones over their TV-connected Xbox, for example, while maps of Westeros and character info pop up on their tablet screens. OS X Mountain Lion has similar AirPlay mirroring functionality, and if Microsoft wants Windows 8 to be successful, then SmartGlass better be as useful as AirPlay mirroring.
3) Text messaging support
How many times have you been sitting at your computer screen, only to receive a text from a friend and be forced to turn to your tiny little phone screen and type out a response? Sure, it’s a first-world problem, but OS X Mountain Lion allows users to respond to iMessages directly from their desktop. While it’s not quite full texting integration, it does mean OS X users don’t have to turn away from their computer screens as often. If Windows 8 wants to blow its competition out of the water, then it should figure out a way to integrate Windows Phones with Windows 8, allowing users to have a seamless experience across all their Windows devices.
2) Make built-in reminder features
OS X Mountain Lion has notification and reminder features automatically built-in. These reminders sync across all devices, making it easy to set an appointment on your computer then look at it on your phone later. Windows 8 has apps for this in its app store, but if Microsoft wanted to impress users, it should have notification syncing built-in.
1) Create better voice recognition
Windows has always had voice dictation in its operating systems. However, since voice dictation is considered an ‘accessibility’ feature, it can be difficult to find. Windows 8 hasn’t changed that. However, using OS X Mountain Lion, Apple users can simply touch the function key twice (from any application) and start talking. While not everybody enjoys using voice dictation features, it wouldn’t be too difficult to add this type of functionality to Windows 8. Maybe get users to tap the Windows key twice to activate voice support?
Conclusion – Windows 8 versus OS X Mountain Lion
Gabe Newell, head of one of the world’s largest PC gaming companies – Valve, tore apart Windows 8 in a recent interview. He called it a “catastrophe”. While Valve’s flagship platform, Steam, has been a PC mainstay for years, Newell suggested that his company was going to work on a port towards Linux – especially since Microsoft seems to be ignoring its large PC gaming fanbase.
Windows 8 is a few months away from release. It’s currently scheduled for an October 26 release date. Existing Windows users can upgrade to Windows 8 for just $40. But the big question on everybody’s mind is: will they want to?