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With Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Apple Offers Glimpse Of The Future (And Its Name Is Twitter)

Apple likes surprises, and that’s exactly what the Cupertino company has given us with today’s announcement of OS X Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8). The OS update is available right now for developers, and will be downloadable by all through the Mac App Store later this summer.

As you would expect, Mountain Lion comes with a wealth of new features, but one change in particular will be of major interest to social networkers: Mountain Lion now includes system-wide Twitter integration, allowing you to share content from your Mac to Twitter in just two clicks. Take that, Facebook.

Make no mistake, this is huge. Huge for Twitter, which gains credibility from Apple, and easy access to their millions of global users. And it’s huge for Apple, who taps further into the social credibility they’ve been unable to create themselves, following the integration Twitter has already seen in iOS 5 on the iPhone and iPad. With this move, Apple gets further into bed with Twitter, and makes a big bet on both of their futures.

Tweet right from your apps. That’s the message direct from Apple. With Mountain Lion, it’s going to be satisfyingly easy to post to Twitter as many apps, including Safari, will now come with a Share button, which, for existing Apple iPhone and iPad users, is the familiar right-facing arrow icon already used in iOS.

From here, you can share to Twitter in just two clicks.

Attachments and geotagging are also supported.

This Twitter-friendly update isn’t limited to Apple apps. There will be a developer API for the Share box, which means that all new apps on the Mac App Store could include built-in share to Twitter functionality, right out of the box.

Mountain Lion will also now support iOS-style Notifications, which work with Twitter, so when somebody sends you a reply or direct message, you’ll get a notification on your Mac.

Didn’t I say this was huge?

It’s super easy to set up: sign into your Twitter account from the Settings area in Mountain Lion, and two-click Twitter shareability is suddenly system wide.

What’s interesting about this no holds barred Twitter integration from Apple is that it’s going to be kind of hard to undo. Not in a technical sense, but you have to think that for Apple to so fully bed down with Twitter that both companies are making a big bet on the future here, and it’s one that involves both of them, running through the interwebs, hand in hand.

And while an Apple/Facebook partnership might yet materialise, Apple’s love for Twitter – and that’s exactly what this is, as no tech organization would so completely embrace a third party within their operating system if they weren’t both huge fans and firm believers in their business model – is very real, and very right now. It’s a beautiful thing, and paves the way for some interesting times to come.

So, after all that goodness, here’s some speculation: is an Apple/Twitter merger a distinct possibility in the future? On the back of this move, you would have to say yes. It won’t happen anytime soon, but you have to think that discussions are already underway.

And, for the cementation of Twitter’s future, Apple’s move into social and me, personally, as a huge fan of both, I don’t think that would be the worst thing in the world.

(Hat tips: TechCrunch, Gigaom.)

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