Even though most businesses still use the Windows operating system, Mac is getting more popular among professionals in creative industries like design because of the strength of its artistic applications. Usage of the iOS on the iPad is exploding among small businesses who want mobile computing with more portability than a laptop, but more computing power than an iPhone. Mac is catching up in terms of usability for businesses, and the release of its new OS makes it even more functional in the professional field.
Apple’s newest iOS X, OS X Mountain Lion, is available as a download in the Mac App store for $19.99, five dollars less than its predecessor, OS X Lion. It requires a computer running Lion or Snow Leopard to begin with, and 2GB of memory, along with 8GB of available space. The new iOS is available for free on any machine purchased from Apple on or after June 11. Qualifying owners have to request their copy on the Apple website by August 24 or thirty days after their date of purchase, whichever is later.
Mountain Lion offers a variety of new tools that can help small businesses with organization and productivity. Foremost among these tools is the new Notification Center, a feature that consolidates notifications from both native and third party applications into one place. The Notification Center shows alerts from Calendar, Mail, Messages, and other programs in a neat sidebar that remains hidden until you need it. Then, Mac’s multitouch gestures come into use with a quick two-finger swipe at the edge of the touchpad to reveal the sidebar. Notification bubbles also pop up at the corner of the screen when you get a new email or message, for example.
Another addition to the OS that could cause higher productivity is the removal of iChat in favor of the simpler “Messages.” With the Messages app, you can message iPhones, iPads, and other Macs all from the same location, which will allow companies to more easily coordinate with employees and clients from a single consolidated place. You can also video chat straight from Messages to any of these devices. It’s one of many applications that Apple is borrowing from iOS in order to make the two systems more compatible.
If your business makes extensive use of social media, Mountain Lion has something to help you with that, too. The Sharing application means that, like on the iPhone, you can share content from nearly any application straight to email, Twitter, Messages, and other social media platforms. This means you can increase the impact of your company’s social media without even leaving the page you’re on. iPhoto also integrates directly with Facebook so you can upload photos straight from the application. Apple also says that new updates increasing the connection with social media outlets are coming soon.
The new Gatekeeper platform means that businesses using Mountain Lion can be safer downloading software from the Internet. Though Mac is already famous for being well-protected against viruses and malware, Gatekeeper gives even more extensive protection from malicious software and gives users more control over what apps are downloaded. This could be especially helpful for smaller businesses that don’t have access to IT resources.
Mac to Mac sharing and document accessibility has been substantially improved by Mountain Lion’s use of iCloud. While iCloud had already been in use to sync iPhone and iPad data, with the new OS X, that same functionality comes to Mac computers. In the iWork suite, users can save documents from Pages, Keynote, and Numbers straight to iCloud, where the documents are accessible from the iCloud website on any computer or Apple mobile device with these programs installed. Your business can take documents with you wherever you go–update a Keynote presentation on your iPhone or iPad, and find that your updates and revisions have been synced with the file wherever you open it. What Apple had already done for their mobile devices now finally also applies to their computers.
With OS X Mountain Lion, Apple (unlock icloud) is doing everything they can to integrate mobile and computer, and to streamline functions as much as possible. What this means for you as a business person is that whatever work you need done via technology will be easier, quicker, and better suited to syncing between devices, people, and even social media applications. For small businesses that have to rely on fewer people doing more, and on technology and social media for high-impact, low-cost marketing, this is good news.
This coming fall, Apple is also coming out with a new iOS, iOS 6. Apple has said that the new iOS will contain enhanced Facebook compatibility and more iCloud features, so in combination with OS X Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to get even more out of your devices for your business. But until then, enjoy the enhanced productivity courtesy of Mountain Lion.