Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL - News) has just released an early preview of its next version of Mac OS X, which will be called Mountain Lion. Along with a bunch of new features come several that are aimed exclusively at Chinese users. And so the update, which will go on sale this summer and be numbered 10.8, adds five elements that’ll be useful for users in China. They are:
Support for Tencent QQ, and Netease 163 or 126 email , in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar part of the settings.
Support for login to Sina Weibo in the same settings panel for faster sharing to Weibo from certain apps.
Similarly to the above, Chinese video-sharing websites Youku and Tudou are ‘share’ options in a number of apps, such as in QuickTime.
Baidu is a search option built in to the Safari web browser.
Improved, faster Chinese text input with a revamped input method editor.
That all sounds like good news for Youku (NYSE:YOKU - News), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU - News), Sina (NASDAQ:SINA - News), et al, though not such good news for Tencent’s (HKG:0700.HK - News) own microblogging platform, which has been left out of the action. To be frank, very few Chinese people use the Mac OS, but it’s nice to see Apple making an effort - probably done with a view to getting even more people in the country onto iOS and onboard with the whole Apple ecosystem.
The Chinese version of the Apple site doesn’t yet have any information about Mountain Lion, but the international site has a new preview mini-site for OS 10.8 which has a section called ‘All-new features for China’ that outlines those core improvements.
Judging by the contrasting images of the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar pane (above is from Apple, below are two from The Verge’s video demo), that part of the settings will look different depending on what language the OS is set to.
We saw a similar addition of Chinese localization in iOS 5 back in June of last year, when the same three email services were added to Apple’s mobile OS.
See the whole range of new features on the Mountain Lion mini-site.