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Apple Delivers OS X Mountain Lion to DevelopersBy Mark Long
Posted: July 10, 2012 3:47pm PDT
Apple has released the Gold Master version of its coming Mountain Lion operating system for developers, and remains on track to begin shipping the new version of OS X in late July.
"With Game Center, Notification Center, Documents in the Cloud, new sharing capabilities, advanced security features, and so much more, you can build the most innovative Mac apps ever," Apple told developers at its Mac Dev Center.
Using Apple's new Gold Master release and Xcode 4.4 GM seed, third-party software creators can begin building and testing their next-generation apps prior to submitting them for review.
We asked Al Hilwa, director of application development software at IDC, for his opinion of the key points concerning Apple's latest Mac OS from the developer perspective.
"This is largely an incremental release for Apple, but incremental is the hallmark of how Apple moves its OS's along between major releases," Hilwa said. "It has been quite impressive how Apple has moved the Mac along a convergence strategy with its mobile devices with relatively minimal disruption."
Adding Cross-Platform Capabilities
Among other things, the next-generation iCloud-enabled apps coming to the Mountain Lion platform will have access to a new document library that displays all the documents that users have stored in iCloud. The new Mountain Lion software offerings will be able to automatically push the editing changes any user makes to a document to all that user's Apple devices -- whether a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or an iPod Touch.
According to Hilwa, the most important aspects of Apple new Mountain Lion release are those that bring it into greater alignment with iOS.
"This is important because folding the two developer ecosystems is key to the future of Apple," Hilwa said. "The center of gravity has moved from Mac to iOS in terms of where developer interest and energy is, and the more Apple can do to keep this a single ecosystem the better it is for them strategically."
Apple's Gold Master release also includes the requisite game kit APIs for enabling next-generation apps to access Mountain Lion's new Game Center, which will connect users to Mac and iOS game players around the world. Among other things, the new APIs will empower new third-party apps to authenticate player accounts, provide multiplayer functionality, access friend information and manage voice chats between players.
Gold Master also enables third party software creators to build new apps that enable users to post content such as links, photos, and videos to their Facebook and Twitter accounts without having to leave the developer's app. Moreover, users will have the ability to share content through other services such as Flickr, Vimeo and AirDrop directly.
Third-party developers also will be building new apps that are tightly integrated with Mountain Lion's new Notification Center.
"With Mountain Lion, new APIs let you alert users of important events happening within your app through Notification Center," Apple informed developers.
Apple's Gold Master release gives developers the ability to digitally sign their next-generation Mac software through the use of a new developer ID certificate. Mountain Lion's built-in Gatekeeper security capability will automatically authenticate the certificate and inform consumers that the thirty-party apps they have selected can be safely downloaded to their machines.
The good news for consumers is that Gatekeeper will be able to block apps created by malware developers as well as verify that apps haven't been tampered with. The big benefit for app developers is that consumers +will be able to download third-party apps from Web sites other than Apple's Mac App Store with a high degree of confidence in the security of the transaction, which is not necessarily the case today.
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