OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was released on the Mac App Store yesterday for a mindboggling price of just $19.99. It includes 200+ new features, most of which are taken – in one way or another – from iOS. It includes apps such as Notes, Reminders and Calendar, services like iMessage and Game Center and features like Twitter Integration, AirPlay Mirroring and easy sharing from system apps. The OS is getting excellent reviews from critics and, to be honest, it’s making some of us Windows users considering the thought of getting a Mac.
But, fret not Windows 7 users! We did some research and found that most of the new features in OS X Mountain Lion can be enjoyed on Microsoft’s desktop operating system. Check them out after the jump.
OS X Mountain Lion Transformation Pack for Windows 7
I’m strongly against installing Transformation Packs. It slows down your computer and the resulting user interface looks like a very ugly mix of the two parents.
The OS X Mountain Lion Transformation Pack for Windows 7 and 8 is somewhat better than other packs I’ve seen so far. It actually is successful in giving a very Apple-like feel to your Windows desktop. Go ahead and give it a try if you like the idea of making your Windows PC look like a nearly-there Mac.
iCloud On Windows
If you go through Apple’s official website, you’ll find iCloud all over the place. It’s one feature Apple is really working hard to market, and for good reason: it’s an excellent service that really makes your digital life that much easier.
Thankfully, with an overwhelming amount of Windows-using iOS-device-owning customers, Apple does support iCloud on Windows (client available on official website), albeit in a very limited fashion. You can only sync Mail, Contact, Calendar, Bookmarks and Photos, whereas on Mountain Lion you get all that and Messages, FaceTime, Game Center, Reminders and Notes.
Something is better than nothing, I guess.
Notes Replacement: ResophNotes
Notes on Mountain Lion is a very useful app for, well, taking notes. While its note-taking abilities are not ground-breaking, its iCloud integration is what makes it really great. You won’t get that on Windows, but you can get ResophNotes (resoph.com) which integrates with my personal favorite service SimpleNote – a note-taking and syncing service that works across iOS devices, desktop computers and web browsers.
Reminders Replacement: Desktop Reminder
Reminders on both Mountain Lion and iOS 5 is as simple a task-planning app can get. You write down a task and set a time for it. When the time comes, the app reminds you of the task and then after you’re done, you can clear it off your list.
On Windows, you can get the same set of features and a whole lot more with Desktop-Reminder. Get it from desktop-reminder.com
Facebook And Twitter Integration
Alright, this is one feature Windows won’t properly get unless and until Microsoft strikes a deal with the two services. The only way to get a taste of how cool Facebook and Twitter integration is by installing plugins where possible and installing specific separate programs.
Personally speaking, my use of Facebook and Twitter mostly consists of sharing photos and interesting links. To that end, Cortex for Google Chrome (cortexapp.com) works really well. It not only supports Facebook and Twitter, but also Instapaper / Pocket, Tumblr, Gmail and Posterous. If you come across a page you like, and wish to share the link or a photo inside the page, all it takes is holding down the mouse button and pointing it to the intended service. It’s one of my favorite Chrome plugins.
Notification Center Replacement: Growl for Windows
Before Notification Center came along, there was Growl – the de facto notification system for OS X. After installing on your system, you were able to setup and install plugins so Growl could take notifications from third party apps. The developers later brought Growl for Windows that works in a very similar way. It’s not as pretty or as easy to set up as Notification Center, but it’s there for those who need it. Get it from growlforwindows.com
Voice Dictation Replacement: Windows 7 Built-in Speech Recognition
Believe it or not, Windows 7 comes its own speech recognition software that – besides letting you dictate text into documents – lets you launch programs, click buttons, open menus and a whole lot more with the power of your voice. You just have to go through a tedious setup wizard before you can use it. Just search for Speech Recognition from the Start Menu to access the feature right now.
AirPlay Mirroring Replacement: AirParrot for Windows
AirPlay Mirroring on OS X existed long before Apple brought it to Mountain Lion with an excellent app called AirParrot (airparrot.com). Whether Apple likes it or not, AirParrot also lets Windows users enjoy AirPlay Mirroring for giving presentations, watching movies etc. etc.
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