Slowly but surely, Apple's operating systems are converging. While both are standalone systems in their own right, Apple's strategy has been to take the most successful features from the iPhone and iPad experience -- such as intuitive gestures, full-screen applications and a cloud-based syncing system -- and port them to the Mac. As a result, Apple's next two big software releases -- Mac OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6 -- will be very closely tied together.
Bonding these two separate systems together would be impossible without iCloud. Apple's free cloud storage service, which was introduced in iOS 5 last year, is responsible for syncing your mail accounts, your contacts, and your documents across all of your Apple devices, including Mac computers, iPhones and iPads. On Monday, Apple introduced two new additions to the iCloud Beta portal for iOS 6 developers, including the Notes and Reminders apps.
Developers currently enrolled in the iOS 6 beta will see Beta tags applied to four applications on iCloud, including Calendar, Find My iPhone, Notes and Reminders. The last two are completely new additions to the cloud platform, but Apple had said that these applications would become available over the Web in the release of Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion.
Using Notes And Reminders In iCloud
Until Mountain Lion came along, Mac users made do with an app called Stickies, which allowed them to create virtual multi-colored sticky notes and place them all over the computer screen. This app, while fulfilling a need for notetakers, was still extremely unattractive and there was no way to search the content of the notes or organize them efficiently.
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That all changes in Mountain Lion, thanks to iCloud. Now, the helpful Notes application on the Mac takes after the iPhone and iPad app, which lets users create and search notes in a clean and easy-to-use interface. On the Mac, however, users will also get a chance to add photos, movies and links to their notes, as well as rich text, bullet points and formatted lists. For those users that will miss Stickies, Apple also allows anyone to tear the note right out of the Notes app and stick it anywhere on their desktop for easy access. Apple has likely released the Notes application early for iOS developers so they can figure out way to port rich content like images and lists to the iPhone and iPad.
Reminders has also made it to the Mac in Mountain Lion, which will help Apple users keep organized whether they're on the go or in front of their computer. A former exclusive to iOS 5, Reminders lets users create organized, virtual reminders on their iPhone or iPad, which can alert the user at a certain time or upon arriving at a certain place, which is all accomplished via text notification. In Mountain Lion, users will be able to set, adjust and organize their reminders on the Mac.
Reminders will get an update later this fall when iOS 6 releases, because Apple has created an interesting new connection between its Phone app and Reminders. Now, if you decline an incoming phone call, you can have your phone automatically create a Reminder for When I leave, which sets up a virtual geo-fence around your current location and sends you a notification as soon as you breach that perimeter. Once this feature is released in iOS 6, the Reminders app in iCloud and on the Mac will likely also receive an update for this great feature.
iCloud: Linking Mountain Lion With iOS 6
Mountain Lion, which was unveiled in early February, will include many popular features from iOS, including the ability to message iPhone or iPad owners with its free messaging platform, an enhanced Notification Center, and new ways to share to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
We see that people are in love with a lot of apps and functionality here, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Anywhere where that makes sense, we are going to move that over to Mac.
Besides Notes and Reminders, Apple plans to add several other applications to iCloud now that their iOS counterparts are being ported to the Mac. In Mountain Lion, Apple plans to add Game Center, Notification Center, and Messages, so it's likely that developers will soon see those applications appear on the iCloud Beta portal.
Apple said Mountain Lion will be released sometime in July, but analysts believe it will arrive towards the end of the month.
iOS 6, on the other hand, will be coming out this fall, and is said to be packed with more than 200 new features and optimizations, including a new Maps application, enhanced accessibility for disabled users, deeper integration with Facebook and Twitter, and significant improvements to Siri, the company's AI virtual assistant.
iOS 6 will also get a handful of Mountain Lion features, thanks to iCloud. Apple added Mail VIPS -- an inbox that lets you see the messages from the important people in your life -- a Do Not Disturb feature for the Notification Center, and a new feature called iCloud Tabs, which lets users view their tabs opened in Safari across all Apple devices.