iChat is gone. Messages is here. Like Messages on iOS, Messages on the Mac runs using the iMessage instant messenger service introduced in iOS 5. iMessage allows users to send texts, photos, videos, contact information and group messages over Wi Fi (or in the case of iOS devices 3G). This eliminates the usage and charges for SMS messages.
With Mountain Lion, if you are the sort of person who uses Messages, you can do so from your desktop or laptop. For my own use, I still have not decided if Messages is a good or bad thing. On the good side, when a message comes in while I am working on my MacBook Air, I can respond right there. Before I would have to pull out my iPhone or iPad. Laziness aside, being able to type on a real keyboard is great. On the bad side, as I have three devices with Messages, when a message comes through I have R2D2 (my alert sound) chirping at me all over the place. Oh, dear. How horrible!
I know… it is very nice to have first world problems.
Overall, I have been happy with Messages. I never used iChat, but I do text. Because many of the people I text with are Apple users, Messages has been awesome. Here is the problem, if no one you know uses Messages, what is point? It would be like using Myspace.
There is not much new in mail. The biggest addition is a new VIPs, which allows you to mark an email, actually it marks the person who sent the email, as important. To do so, hover over the senders email address which reveals a star just to the right of the name. Click on the star and Mail creates a new folder titled “VIPs” just under the inbox. Whenever that person sends you an email it will show up in that folder, with a star next to it. People who deal with vast quantities of email will appreciate this feature.
Additionally, you can add email notifications to Notification Center, you can click the sort bar at the top of the list to jump to the top and VIPs and recent senders are pushed to all devices via iCloud.
I have noticed people have a weird relationship with email clients. Some are apathetic, by that I mean, it’s email, what is there to get excited about? If it can get your email, open it and allow you to reply or create new messages, great. It does what it is supposed to. Others righteously praise or violently condemn email clients. As I am in the former camp, Mail does exactly what I need, so if it had not even been updated I would have been fine with it.
How about you? Will Messages work for you, or will you stick with texting and chatting via other means? Are you an email client aficionado or are your needs satisfied with simply checking and sending email? Let us know in the comment section below.