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MacStories Reading List: Special Mountain Lion Edition

As the majority of East Coast Apple users were sipping on their morning coffees either in front of their Macs or on their way to work last Thursday morning, Apple’s PR department prepared to lift the embargo on one of the most unusual Apple product announcements to date: Mountain Lion.

At 8:31 AM on Thursday, February 16, the Apple community came to a full stop as publications like The Loop (they tweeted first), Macworld, and TechCrunch unveiled the details of Mountain Lion, the next major version of OS X set to ship this summer. After an initial shock due to the surprising nature of the announcement (hotel rooms? Good hot coffee? Private briefings with Phil Schiller? Apple PR is on to something here), you could hear the Internet fell silent as millions of eyeballs quickly skimmed through the iOS-inspired feature set of the next big cat. Notification Center, Reminders, Notes, iCloud – the next OS X (just don’t call it a Mac OS X) surely is something worth keeping an eye on. Because, stay assured – the thing is going to keep its eyes on you.

With this week’s Reading List, we’ve collected the best articles from around the web about the recently announced Mountain Lion. If you’re looking for more Mountain Lion coverage, make sure to check out our newly created hub as well.

While we can’t offer you a good coffee with Apple’s Phil Schiller, we still think this week’s Reading List will fare pretty good next to your favorite cup of Americano. Enjoy.

Stephen Hackett’s piece makes a lot of sense after the formal announcement of Mountain Lion.

Apple obviously knows this. Even though it is a huge company, it acts like a small one. Everything goes through a very small number of people at the very top. It’s a bottleneck, but it’s a bottleneck by design. Apple keeps a firm hand on the throttle, and would rather move too slowly, or in just a singular direction, than too quickly. While it can be frustrating as a customer, it’s what keeps Apple products great.

The Tick-Tock of Apple, Stephen Hackett (@ismh)

Tim Schafer reflects on the success of Double Fine’s first Kickstarter campaign in an interview with Giant Bomb:

I’ve been very surprised by the success of it so far, so it’s taught me that maybe I’m not the best at predicting. Nobody was really good at predicting this one. I guess I assumed this [the Kickstarter] would be a good test. I couldn’t take the money and make Psychonauts with it because some people have backed the project based on a certain promise that it’s going to be an adventure game, so it wouldn’t be right to take it and make Psychonauts with it. Maybe we could put it up to a vote! But I actually want to make an old graphic adventure, so we keep it this way and use this as a test to see if we can go bigger.

I think people are asking a lot of publishers and developers out there. At DICE, you can tell people are asking these interview questions, “Well, has this changed everything? Are you going to do Kickstarters to fund all your development now?” I think it really has to be a special thing. I think it’s definitely a possibility to do it a lot more, but I think each time you do it, it has to be a good story for people to get behind. I think the story of us making a graphic adventure when we couldn’t have done it any other way is a good story. I think there are more stories to be done that way, and there might be one that is equal to $20 million dollars. I don’t know.

$1.6 Million and Counting, Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek)

Following the announcement of Mountain Lion, Om Malik makes the case for a Social, Mobile, Cloud operating system.

When I think of today’s connected life, I see two distinct approaches to operating environments: OSes that are desktop-specific and the one OS that is a true cloud OS, for a dedicated cloud client. Back in 2008, I wrote about what makes a cloud client and asked our community to weigh in.

The slow rise of the SoMoClo OS, Om Malik (@om)

Ted Landau thinks Mountain Lion has the right approach to bringing iOS features and apps to the Mac.

That was then. With the forthcoming Mountain Lion, Apple has done a much better job of transitioning iOS features to the Mac. As a result, I am now much more optimistic about the future direction of OS X than I was a few months ago.

Mountain Lion Does iOS-ification Right, Ted Landau (@tedlandau)

Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software thinks Mountain Lion’s Gatekeeper shouldn’t be a replacement for Sandboxing – and offers a few suggestions to Apple to improve the latter.

Imagine a future where the majority of Mac apps are signed with Gatekeeper certificates, and an accurate list of entitlements. Users will be protected by smart default settings, and by the knowledge of who their apps come from, as well as what they intend to do. Developers will be protected from their own unintentionally destructive mistakes, and from impostors selling software purported to be authentic. And Apple? Apple will be remembered as the huge, clever computer company that solved the software security problem on two fronts, without pissing off developers or customers. Much.

Fix The Sandbox, Daniel Jalkut (@danielpunkass)

Ars Technica collects reactions from developers following Apple’s surprise Mountain Lion announcement (which, it turns out, wasn’t really a surprise for some developers who had been briefed by Apple about Gatekeeper).

Apple’s next version of its desktop operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, promises developers access to hundreds of new APIs to enable new functionality for their apps. While developers we spoke to seem mildly excited about the new functionality, their immediate focus was on the implications of Apple’s new Gatekeeper security feature.

Mac developers: Gatekeeper is a concern, but still gives power users control, Chris Foreman (@foresmac)

Macworld’s Dan Moren talks to other developers about Apple’s changes in security for Mountain Lion.

That said, Apple is trying to make the process of embracing its new security procedures something that developers want to do, especially when it comes to the Mac App Store. Currently, it appears that certain features—such as the ability to add full-fledged support for iCloud, or support for Mountain Lion’s Notification Center—are only available to those who go the distance and submit their apps to the Mac App Store.

“The App Store-only APIs [application programming interfaces] continue to proliferate, which means we’re being marched, slowly-but-surely, to a future that’s increasingly locked down,” said Shirt Pocket’s Nanian.

Developers unsurprised, but cautious about Gatekeeper, Dan Moren (@dmoren)

Gatekeeper Q&A by Rich Mogull.

In the past, despite being a Mac fan, I’ve been pretty critical of how Apple handles a lot of security. While I still don’t agree with how they handle everything, I’ve noticed a massive change in the past 2 years. With Lion, Apple for the first time invited certain security researchers to evaluate pre-release software (albeit under NDA) without forcing them to pay for a Developer Program subscription. With Mountain Lion they pre-briefed an outside security type for the first time ever. They have hired a bunch of very smart and experienced security experts.

OS X 10.8 Gatekeeper in Depth, Rich Mogull (@rmogull)

CNET’s Molly Wood neatly summarizes one of the reasons behind Apple’s success in the past years.

Tech is mainstream, at this point, and for a lot of people, it’s become essential and indispensable. So, given that, computers shouldn’t still be this hard. Apple has always understood that simplicity and usability were crucial to user happiness, and although they sometimes simplified (to the point of unnecessary restrictiveness), the simplicity combined with increasingly robust capabilities is a winning combo in this complicated and busy world.

Why Apple is winning, Molly Wood (@mollywood)

An interesting take on why Apple shouldn’t build a social network by Thomas Brand.

Apple’s products are the social network. Their stores are the hangouts. Their popularity is the hot topic in the media. Their best bet in social media is to become the dominant platform people use to access Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Building another Ping, MobileMe, or social network is not what Apple does best.

- Why Apple Does Not Need a Social Network, Thomas Brand (@thomasbrand)

The Verge’s interview with Growl’s Christopher Forsythe is particularly interesting considering Apple is going to bake Notification Center right into Mountain Lion. See also: Growl’s official response to OS X 10.8.

So about 8 years ago I was working on a few things and came to a point where I just didn’t know what was going on with anything but the main application I was working in. I found this pretty frustrating so I thought about it for a while. At the time I was working in some capacity on Adium. There was a mild argument about the interface at the time with regards to notifications. Jorge, the guy working on the notifications bezel wanted a bunch of options. Adam, the guy who created Adium wanted something simpler, more or less the Colloquy notifications.

To me it didn’t make sense that Colloquy had to create this interface, in a different way than Adium had. I contacted both Jorge and Karl (the guy who worked on the notifications for Colloquy) and asked them if they’d be interested in working on a project to create something that a lot of different applications could use. Jorge said no, but Karl said yes.

5 Minutes on The Verge: Growl’s Christopher Forsythe, Thomas Houston (@thomashouston)

And after all is said and done, Alex Brooks takes a look at the PR strategy Apple used to unveil Mountain Lion.

This week though Apple showed that it had a new tactic up its sleeve and this tactic really does have a death wish for the rumour. On Thursday morning at 8:31 AM Pacific Time an embargo lifted on the details of Apple’s latest major update to OS X. A carefully selected number of blogs immediately published their articles to the shock and dismay of onlookers. Since Lion had only launch seven months beforehand it seemed incomprehensible that Apple was planning another major OS update, but even more remarkable was that not a single rumour of this operating system had left Apple’s confines. Not even a hint.

Apple’s Death Wish for the Rumour, Alex Brooks (@alexbrooks)


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