You were probably surprised by the announcement of Mountain Lion and to be honest so were we.
The first surprise was that nobody saw the announcement coming, there was no rumor, something that has become unusual with Apple.
The second surprise was the way the announcement was made, there was no event, no speech, that's a first in the history of Mac OS.
The date of the announcement is also surprising, in the middle of february. This choice was probably made for several reasons. It allows Apple to stay in the news while it has no new device to unveil. The last device unveiled was the iPhone 4S early October. The iPad 3 (or 2S) should be unveiled soon, but for the Mac we will have to wait at least for March to see the new Mac Pro and later in the spring to have the Ivy-Bridge based iMac and MacBook Pro. Apple probably wants to stay in control of the media coverage, which hasn't been favorable between all the lawsuits, the working conditions in China and the increasing tension with Apple Premium Resellers.
To get back to Mountain Lion, its name indicates that it is an evolution of Lion (just like Snow Leopard was an evolution of Leopard). OS X appears to be converging even more with iOS, a process we started calling 'iOSification'. Apple isn't even trying to hide it as it announces the system to be inspired by the iPad and re-imagined (read adapted) for the Mac.
Apple's strategy is clear, it aims at convincing the millions of iOS users to buy a Mac even though in the process long time Mac OS users can get confused.
Apple (as usual) announces 100 new features, but most of them are just adaptations of iOS features.
We have to say that we are not surprised of the way Mac OS is evolving. for the last 20 years, Apple has been working on the system to make the tools disappear behind features, a process that Microsoft started much later. That way, the user doesn't have to wonder how to do something, he just does it without having to look for it, as Steve put it, "it just works". Of course we regret the fact that we will probably not be able to be as much in control as we still can, but in exchange it will allow millions (maybe one day billions) of people to know what to do without difficulty.
There is one aspect of this announcement that we find disappointing. Most of the new features are centered on the interface and not on the system itself except for Gatekeeper, which will apparently keep the system safe. No new file system, no more mention of Open CL, of Grand Central, etc. All the things that could sound like 'get your hands dirty' or 'DIY' has been forgotten or at least left aside for now. For the first time, the announcement of the new version of Mac OS is not targeting Mac users, but iOS users who will be happy to find the iPhone interface in their computer.
It is of course too early to start criticizing or lauding Mac OS 10.8 but we start waiting for Mac OS 11 because since 10.5 Leopard, there was not a lot that changed besides the interface changes and the new visual effects.
By Machmeter, original by Lionel