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Ten exciting system changes in Mountain Lion

Serenity Caldwell | Feb. 22, 2012
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Picturesque screen savers

Your Apple TV has long been able to put together really lovely slideshows with your photos; now, your Mac will be able to do the same. You’ll be able to chose from 15 different slideshow options—including Holiday Mobile, Photo Wall, and Scrapbook—that can highlight selections from your iPhoto or Aperture library, or a random folder.

Gesture simplification and key commands

Granted, keyboard shortcuts and advanced gestures may not be at the top of everyone’s excitement list, but they make me happy—especially when it pertains to things like inline dictionary definitions, duplicating documents, and renaming files.

First, Apple has simplified Lion’s “three-finger double-tap” to define dictionary definitions, reducing it to a single three-finger tap. Easier on the fingertips (and easier to explain to others, to boot). For those who don’t love how Lion replaced Save As with the Duplicate command, Mountain Lion attempts to ease the pain by automatically associating the Save As key command (Command-Shift-S) to Duplicate. And if you can’t remember to rename your files in the desktop, you now have a new option: within the Open/Save dialog box itself.

Dashboard gets some love

When Dashboard was first introduced as one of OS X Tiger’s keynote features, I remember being overly excited. Widgets! Easy access to weather, multiple clocks, and—hey—a relavant use for Stickies! Unfortunately, Dashboard was slow as molasses, widgets never really caught on, and once the iPhone came to the scene, those little single-purpose miniature apps were a whole lot more useful on a mobile device.

(Image Caption: You can even stick dashboard widgets into folders.)

That being said, it looks as though Apple might be prepping Dashboard for an iOS-integrated resurgence. With Lion, Apple gave Dashboard its own space; in Mountain Lion, widget organization now resembles an iOS home screen (like Lion’s Launchpad), with rows of widgets represented by an icon. These can even be sorted into folders, or individually rearranged.

Could these changes offer a gateway for running certain iOS apps on the Mac? Maybe, just maybe: We’ll have to wait until Mountain Lion’s release to know more. At the very least, it’s nice to see poor old Dashboard not completely left in the dust. (I like my weather widgets.)



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