Notification Center could take the grrrr out of Growl. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
In 2001, Karelia Software released an Internet search utility called Watson. It was a great utility — but it didn’t last long. In 2002, Apple released Sherlock 3, a search utility built directly into Mac OS that mirrored many of Watson’s functions.
With but a single OS update, Apple destroyed Watson’s market.
Apple called the update the natural evolution of Sherlock, but it didn’t stop fans of Watson from crying foul. And from that day forward, whenever Apple has released a feature or application that makes a third-party app obsolete, the newly deceased app has been considered “Sherlocked.”
At Monday’s WWDC keynote, Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice president of Mac Software, demoed Mountain Lion, wowing developers with impressive new OS X features, but also surely terrifying a few with the prospect of imminent Sherlocking. A handful of popular OS X apps suddenly became much less relevant as Apple introduced Mountain Lion features that mirror existing third-party functionality.
Who’s most vulnerable? Read ‘em and weep.
Stay notified. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
Growl, a global notification system, has enjoyed OS X support since 2003, and has become an app that savvy Mac users immediately download whenever setting up a new computer, or reinstalling a system. Growl’s notifications are standard on most Macs in the wild, but now Apple is rolling out a platform for its own onscreen alerts.
Like Growl, the new Notification Center in Mountain Lion pushes application alerts to the top right-hand corner of a Mac. Currently, Notification Center only supports Apple apps, as well as Twitter and Facebook. Growl, on the other hand, has a wealth of support for third-party apps like Adium, Rdio, Twitter, Dropbox and many more.
With a large stable of applications that already use the service, as well as more control over how notifications are delivered, Growl could very well survive the impending notifications war. But Growl needs to act fast in adding even more value. And it needs to hope that Apple doesn’t open up its Notification Center to more third-party apps.
Talk to type in Mac OS X. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
Dragon Dictate wants you to forget your keyboard, and talk directly to your computer instead. Originally developed for Windows, the software takes spoken word, and converts it to written text. It’s not perfect, but performs on par with the dictation features built into Siri.
Well, now there’s a problem for Dragon Dictate’s developer, Nuance: The new Dictate feature built into Mountain Lion delivers Siri’s voice dictation to the desktop. Granted, Dragon Dictate does offer a few novel commands not found in Mountain Lion. For example, you can use it to launch applications, and search Google. But at $200 a copy, it’s going to be a tough road for the Dragon.
To-Do List Apps — You Name It, It’s Vulnerable
Reminders is your to-do list everywhere. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
Reminders is a supercharged to-do list that syncs with all your Apple devices. Need milk? Reminders won’t simply “remind” you to buy it — it will push an alert to you when you enter your neighborhood market. Never forget milk, cheese, eggs or batteries again.
Reminders is a great app, but it will definitely put the hurt on any to-do list app supported by OS X. Reminders was once iOS-only, but now it’s coming to Mountain Lion. Reminders syncs between iOS and OS X, giving Apple an advantage over similar to-do list apps that charge for syncing functionality.
But all is not lost for some third-party to-do list developers. For apps like Omni Group’s OmniFocus that use the “getting things done” method to build to-do lists, the Reminders threat is relatively minimum. That is, until people realize it’s easier to, well, simply “get things done” than to subscribe to an elaborate, regimented system focused on the completion of to-do list items.
One field to rule them all. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
So you like a unified search/URL field. Chrome has that. Actually, Chrome has had that for a while and it’s alwasy been spectacular. But perhaps it’s been too spectacular, catching the attention of Apple. The Safari browser in Mountain Lion will include a unified search/URL field, giving Mac users one less reason to download Chrome.
Throw this on top of losing the default map app in iOS, and Google has had a tough week, all thanks to Apple.
And a unified search/URL field isn’t the only Chrome-killing feature Apple placed in its browser. Both browsers already offer keyboard shortcuts to quickly toggle through open tabs, but Apple expanded on navigation with a gesture-based tab-switching feature that’s sure to woo Mac users.
Apple also added cross-platform tab syncing. So, if you have three open tabs on your Mac, when you jump on to your iOS device, the same tabs will be open ther for continued browsing.
Oh, and there’s one final dig at Google: No Google+ integration in Mountain Lion. Ouch.
Send your messages to other Apple devices for free in Mountain Lion. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive is already losing sleep over iMessage. But now that iMessage will be the default messaging app in Mountain Lion, the executive might want to invest in some serious sleeping aids. Currently, iOS users with an iCloud account can turn on iMessages to send text messages to other iCloud users with iOS devices, all without dipping into the SMS allotment they’ve set up with their carrier.
In other words, free text messages.
Now iMessage is coming to Mountain Lion, and starting in July, text messages can be sent from iOS devices to Macs and vice versa. The iMessage beta has been available since February for Lion users, and, while buggy, it opened up a new world of communication for iCloud users. Mountain Lion combined with a free iCloud account and a few iOS devices could really cut into the cash cow of SMS messaging.
You can call these apps evolutionary. Or you can call them outright rip-offs. But the technology world has always “borrowed” from the past to make current products better. It’s just that some types of borrowing is more obvious than others.
Via: Gadget Lab