It is OS launching season, with Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion launching late last night Australian time, and the recent launch of the excellent Nexus 7 tablet running the very latest and “pure Google” Android OS Jelly Bean 4.1.1 and setting a range of new standards for modern operating systems.
Mountain Lion has a number of standout, headline features such as notifications, iCloud syncing, Notes, Reminders, Dictation, rocket-boosted speedy Safari 6.0 browser, Mac App Store delivered “Check for Updates” system, Twitter integration, Facebook integration to come with what will presumably be the 10.8.1 update, info-sipping capability while in sleep mode on compatible devices, wireless AirPlay mirroring of your Mac’s screen direct to your Apple TV equipped flatscreen TV.
Meanwhile, Google’s Nexus 7 tablet enjoys the benefits of a low price, a quad-core processor, 12-core graphics, an 8 or 16GB capacity with the slightly more expensive 16GB model surprising Google by being the one consumers have reportedly chosen in far greater numbers than Google expected, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 7-inch screen that’s sharp and bright.
It also has Google’s most advanced and purest Android OS yet – Jelly Bean 4.1, which was quickly updated to the 4.1.1 update the System Updates available service notified me of.
For the low price, and despite deficiencies like no rear camera or even a built-in camera app for the front facing camera (the front-facing cam works automatically with apps like Google+ video hangouts where you and up to 9 others can video chat), or no 3G/4G capable device as yet, it’s the first and so far best device to run Jelly Bean 4.1.x in almost all its glory, with Nexus 8 and more improved models still to come.
It’s also a collection device for Google to learn about every aspect of your digital and real life behaviour to store in its vast global omniverse of a database, but hey, it’s Google’s best one yet!
Everyone’s collecting data on us, so Google’s not alone, with Apple, Microsoft and everyone else wanting a piece of your user behaviour information and patterns.
However, both are examples of hardware and software combinations expressly designed to work together, with Google and Microsoft learning from the example Apple has set, adding a compelling new dimension of dedication to the world of late 2012 ultra-mobile general computing technologies now emerging.
Then there’s iOS 6, the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini all expected to arrive at the same time in late September or early October – if Apple does not surprise with an earlier iArrival.
iOS 6.0 revitalises compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models with Apple’s most advanced mobile operating system ever, and which via iCloud, interacts with all your iDevices and Macs more seamlessly than ever before.
Apple has also yet to launch new Mac Minis, properly upgraded new Mac Pros, and an expected MacBook Pro 13 with SSD, slim-design and breakthrough Retina Display as with the 15-inch model.
It’s also worth noting that Microsoft’s Surface Tablet running Windows 8 Pro, which will be Microsoft’s very first ultra-premium Windows 8 ultratablet that effortlessly converts into an ultrabook notebook, or at “keyblet” it described as somewhere online when it first launched, is also yet to come, which it will 90 days after the Windows RT tablet launch on October 26, the same day Windows 8 Pro launches at retail.
90 days later means an introduction around the time of Australia Day, January 26, and it will be Microsoft’s infusion of a Nexus 7, iPad and MacBook Air with Windows 8 Pro – pure Microsoft, as it were, just as we having pure Google and Apple, which has always been pure Apple and nothing else.
Windows 7 machines will continue being on sale for two years after Windows 8’s introduction, so if people aren’t fully enamoured of Windows 8 to begin with, Windows 7 will continue be sold in retail boxes for a year, and presumably Windows 8 Pro-equipped machines will be sold with downgrade rights to a copy of Windows 7 Professional instead.
But for those that take up the Windows 8 challenge, especially on Surface Tablets, Ultrabook Tablet hybrids and even regular, non-touch ultrabooks, notebooks and desktops, it’s very clearly Microsoft’s best version of Windows yet.
It delivers a fantastic speed boost to existing computers (as Mountain Lion does for computers upgrading from Lion 10.7 or Snow Leopard 10.6), a brand new and improved Windows user interface and experience while almost completely preserving the desktop way of doing the vast majority of things, while FINALLY unleashing the true tablet experience Microsoft wished it could have unleashed way back in the early 2000s when the Windows XP tablet burst onto the scene, after Windows 3.1 Pen Edition failed did during the decade prior.
Microsoft needs Windows 8 tablets to take on the iPad as Android smartphones have taken on the iPhone in the smartphone space, a space Windows Phone 8 is being prepared to attack as well, in a big way, especially with the code sharing between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 to really change the entire Windows dimension and value proposition, something sure to really make developers think twice, especially if Windows 8 tablets sell in the hundreds of millions the way Windows 7 licenses do.
There’s the word of Linux too, with Linux.com showcasing the “The 2012 top 7 best Linux distributions for you”, where the desktop Linux winner isn’t Ubuntu, but Linux Mint 13, just released in two versions, Linux Mint 13 “Maya” on last Saturday on the 21st of July, and the “KDE” version released on Monday the 23rd.
There’s also the aforementioned Ubuntu Linux distribution, www.ubuntu.com with the 12.04 LTS (long term support) release having arrived on April 26 2012, and the 12.10 release due on the 18th of October 2012, 8 days before Microsoft releases Windows 8 to GA or “general availability” on retail computers, for online download and through retail boxed purchase.
Linux, being open source, has the advantage of being open - rather than the closed, walled gardens of Apple, Google and Microsoft, let alone the Facebooks and others of this world, but for now, the extreme polish, work and dedication that money can buy has made the world of Apple, Microsoft and Google the most attractive, simple, easy, app-laden and more that they've ever been, leaving open source to advertise its benefits and features more innovatively so people figure out for themselves why the ever improving open source apps are alternatives worth looking at in a world of endless vendor, cloud, app, ID and more lockin.
So, there’s a three big operating system launches still to come – iOS 6, Windows 8 and that next Ubuntu, with service packs, patches, updates and more inevitably on the way.
Begun the OS wars they most certainly have – take your positions and your chosen devices, and may the best operating systems win more users!