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This week Apple® announced that OS X® Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, is now available as a download from the Mac® App Store℠. Why should you care? Well, Mountain Lion comes packed with more than 200 innovative new features that you may find pretty cool! This announcement comes at a good time for Apple, which reported disappointing third quarter earnings this week and really needs to get people pumped again about its offerings.
New features include:
• iCloud integration, for easy set up of your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes, and keeping everything, including iWork® documents, up to date across all your devices;
• All-new Messages app, which replaces iChat® and brings iMessage™ to the Mac, so you can send messages to anyone with an iPhone®, iPad®, iPod Touch® or another Mac;
• Notification Center, which streamlines the presentation of notifications and provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third-party apps;
• System-wide Sharing, to make it easy to share links, photos, videos and other files quickly without having to switch to another app, and you just need to sign in once to use third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo;
• Facebook integration, so you can post photos, links and comments with locations right from your apps, automatically add your Facebook friends to your Contacts, and even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center (Facebook integration will be available in an upcoming software upgrade);
• Dictation, which allows you to dictate text anywhere you can type, whether you’re using an app from Apple or a third party developer;
• AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send an up-to-1080p secure stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV®, or send audio to a receiver or speakers that use AirPlay; and
• Game Center, which brings the popular social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so you can enjoy live, multiplayer games with friends whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Mountain Lion also includes the awesome new Gatekeeper, which makes downloading software from the Internet safer; Power Nap, which automatically updates your apps and system while your Mac is asleep; and a faster Safari® browser.
“People are going to love the new features in Mountain Lion and how easy it is to download and install from the Mac App Store,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With iCloud integration, Mountain Lion is even easier to set up, and your important information stays up to date across all your devices so you can keep editing documents, taking notes, creating reminders, and continue conversations whether you started on a Mac, iPhone or iPad.”
The reviews of Mountain Lion that I’ve read are mostly all good, with users praising the news features and saying it’s pretty polished. Ars Technica pointed out the many areas where Mountain Lion is superior to its predecessor, OS X 10.7 Lion, which fell flat with the reviewer. Lion is currently used by 40% of Mac owners, according to Apple. About 50% are still using the previous version, Snow Leopard. Lion was criticized for being a minimal upgrade that removed some much-loved features, such as replacing the “save as” with the less user-friendly “export.” Good thing Mountain Lion is a significant upgrade that adds plenty of integration with the iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS. Users will see their Reminders, Messages, Notes and other notifications automatically synced between devices. Sounds pretty cool!
Mountain Lion is available as an upgrade from Lion or Snow Leopard for $19.99. For a complete list of system requirements and compatible systems, please visit: apple.com/osx/specs.