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RIP, iChat: Mountain Lion Pounces On The Scene With “Messages”

by Adriana Lee | February 16, 2012February 16, 2012 10:48 am PST

If there was any doubt about Apple moving OS X closer to iOS, this here should seal the deal.

The company put out a developer preview of Mountain Lion this morning, and it packs some pretty iOS-like touches. Not only does the next version of the desktop OS sport Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, more iCloud integration, Game Center, built-in social sharing and AirPlay, but there’s a new texting program designed to bring OS X into the iMessage world alongside iOS mobile devices. The new messaging application does away with the stalwart iChat client that Macs have shipped with for nine years.

The new Messages client doesn’t completely do away with iChat, though — all those accounts you had going there, like AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber, will still be supported. (And by the looks of it, so will its video chat features.) Messages basically just adds the ability of Mac computers to join the iMessage microcosm along with iOS 5–driven iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads. This means users will be able to text practically anyone with nearly any sort of Apple computing device. Similar to the iOS version, Messages pops in an ellipsis, so you know that the pal is typing. It also offers drag-and-drop, to make photo and vid sharing easy breezy.

There were some glitches this morning, when Messages’ public beta was supposed to go live, but it appears to have been resolved now. So if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, head on over to this link for all the action. (You’ll need to have at least Lion 10.7.3 for this to work.) Again, it’s a beta, so be forewarned that there could be some kinks that need smoothing.

To snag the developer preview of Mountain Lion, visit this link for the goods. (To be eligible to download this, you need to be part of Apple’s Mac Developer Program.)

So, how does Mountain Lion look to you so far? Are you excited about Messages or any of the other new features? Weigh in below.

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...