Yesterday turned out to be a very interesting day in the world of Apple, with the company blind-siding the majority of Mac users and announcing the release of Mountain Lion, which is the latest iteration of OS X, and is set to be launched in the summer. The new OS is a continuation in the development of OS X and gives the most clear indication yet that the company is heading down the route of fusing OS X and iOS together.

Mountain Lion features a number of drastic improvements and feature upgrades which Apple are describing as being inspired by the iPad. Cupertino-based Apple obviously see a future where users operate a Mac and a mobile device harmoniously together with an OS which is an amalgamation of the two, providing the perfect base for this. The additional features included in Mountain Lion is quite extensive with the addition of Twitter integration throughout, Gatekeeper security software, an iOS-like Notification Center, as well the introduction of iPad-style applications such as Reminders and Notes.

OS X Mountain Lion logo

The feature additions are big, but the real excitement sees to be surrounding the Mac’s new found AirPlay Mirroring support which will now allow the screen a user’s Mac to be mirrored over Wi-Fi to an Apple TV on the same network. This is a feature which has been heavily praised on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, but has also gained some criticism due to it only being available on those two devices. This news might not appease some hardcore Lion users who fully expected AirPlay Mirroring to be something they would be enjoying by now, considering it was going to be included in OS X Lion until it was unexplainably pulled at the very last minute by Apple.

AirPlay Mirroring abilities is sure to open up a whole new world to a lot of Mac users who will now beam photo slideshows, YouTube movies, Keynote presentations and anything else you can think of via the Apple TV set top box. If the need takes you, you can even share your favorite Redmond Pie stories with your family and colleagues by mirroring your browser. The big question though, will undoubtedly be how does the AirPlay Mirroring perform? A number of third-party applications already exist which allow this functionality, but the problem is that they don’t do it in an overly convincing manner and certainly lack the professional implementation of mirroring that we are used to on the compatible iOS devices.

The guys over at Insanely Great Mac have taken the time to put together a hands-on video which show shows the new AirPlay Mirroring abilities in Mountain Lion in action. The video shows a MacBook Pro running a developer preview of Mountain Lion, wirelessly mirroring its display to an Apple TV. Check the video out and see what you think of the relatively seamless performance, and for all of you who may be getting an error message when trying to do this, make sure that your Apple TV is running iOS 5.1 beta 2.

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