There are two main approaches to changing consumer behavior - disruptive innovation, and incremental innovation. Disruptive innovation forces the user to radically change behavior instantly while incremental innovation changes a few things at a time eventually changing the complete behavior.
So, which is the right approach? That depends on where you are starting from. If your existing product is not doing too well, then incremental innovation will not dramatically improve things. Windows is a good example of this today. The existing Windows platform does not work well with touch devices hence a complete overhaul in Windows 8 is the right step. On the other hand if you have a solid product then incremental innovation could be the right next step. This is what Apple is doing with Mountain Lion and iOS.
With Mountain Lion, and iOS6 Apple is doubling down on the post-PC era. Apple is taking the next step towards providing a seamless experience across Mac, iPad, and iPhone. This is the first time your devices will provide a truly seamless experience. No other operating system - Phone, Tablet, or PC provides a seamless connected experience like Mountain Lion. Apple’s approach of not having the same operating system across phone, tablet, and computer but providing a seamless experience across these devices is the right approach. We use these devices for different use cases hence they should be designed to serve those different use cases. At the same time, they should be designed in a way that data is portable, apps are portable, and users should be able to seamlessly switch from one device to another without being interrupted.
With the launch of iCloud and the Mac App Store in 2011, you could access applications, mail, contacts, calendar, photos, music, movies, and TV shows on any Apple device without the need to actually connect wires. With Mountain Lion, Apple is adding document creation (Keynote, Numbers, Pages, and Notes), Chatting (Messages), Task List (Reminders), Notifications, Game Center, and Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter) to the list of seamless experiences.
What does this mean for the consumer? Buy a new Mac, iPhone, or iPad and enter your iTunes/iCloud credentials. Your apps and data will be installed on your device with 1 click. On your Mac - start any task like creating a Keynote presentation, playing a game, or chatting with a friend. Pick up your iPad/iPhone and continue the task exactly where you left on your Mac. Another example is Messaging. These days, my wife and I communicate through the Messages app. We can start the conversation on any device - iPhone, iPad, or Mac. All the devices receive every single message. I can switch devices and still continue the conversation exactly where I left it. And the devices are smart enough to hide the messages that I have already read so that I don’t have to sort through a list of old messages when i switch devices. The beauty is that it works without you having to do anything. This is true innovation.
If you are looking for a detailed review of OS X Mountain Lion read this post from Ars Technica.