Apple's OS X Mountain Lion will launch Wednesday, so it's a good time for Windows users to peer across the border at what features in Mountain Lion might prove useful.
Note that Windows 8 is a complete overhaul, while Mountain Lion is more of a refinement. Yet the Apple update adds lots of new features that would fit in nicely on Microsoft's OS. In hopes of keeping alive the tradition of stolen OS features, here are five aspects of OS X Mountain Lion that we'd like to see in future versions of Windows.
Windows 8 will have pop-up notifications that slide onto the top-right corner of the screen, which are useful for noticing new messages, calendar appointments, or other important updates.
But Windows 8's notification system is still missing a list view for all the updates you might have missed, similar to Notification Center in Mountain Lion. This would be especially helpful if you didn't want pop-ups to interrupt your work, but still want to glance at a list view of notifications periodically.
Microsoft knows that PC-to-TV connectivity is going to be huge, which is why the company will release a SmartGlass app that lets tablets send content to Microsoft's Xbox 360. Still, we know very little about how this app will work.
Meanwhile, OS X Mountain Lion will allow full AirPlay mirroring to Apple TV boxes. It'd be nice to have similar mirroring capabilities between Windows 8 PCs and the Xbox.
Although Mountain Lion users won't be able to send and receive all their text messages on the Mac, they will have access to all iMessages, which come from other iOS and Mac users.
Microsoft could offer even deeper message syncing between Windows Phones and PCs, so users wouldn't have to answer messages on a tiny screen when they're at a full-sized computer.
Synced Notes and Reminders
The Windows Store will likely offer several third-party notes and reminders apps that can sync data across devices.
With Mountain Lion, these features are built in, so your notes and reminders are automatically available on any Apple device. Sure, Microsoft has a more advanced note-taking product in OneNote, but a more simple--and free--solution as part of Windows 8 would be helpful.
Easier Voice Dictation
In Windows 8, voice dictation is available as an accessibility feature, and as such, it's buried behind several menus and not intended for general use.
Mountain Lion makes voice dictation easy to use from any application--you just press the Function key twice, and start talking.