At the Worldwide Developers Conference back in June, Apple unveiled their next Mac operating system: Mountain Lion. And today, Apple announced that Mountain Lion is available for download at the Mac App Store for $19.99. But if you’re a new Mac owner, meaning you purchased your Mac sometime between June 11, 2012 and today, you’re Mountian Lion upgrade will be free. Also, purchases made after July 26 which do not include Mountain Lion will get a free upgrade. Macs from 2007 up to the present are capable of receiving the upgrade but it requires that you either have Lion or Snow Leopard installed.
The new Mac OS has over 200 new features that aim to connect all your Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Macs, for a more streamlined experience. Since 200+ features is way too much to cover in just one article, we’ll just give you the highlights of the new Mac OS.
When Apple released Lion, it allowed Macs using Lion to share files via Wi-Fi Direct. Now, Mountain Lion makes things easier as files stored in the cloud can be accessed by other Apple devices. And the best part about iCloud is that when you change something on one device, the changes made will be available on all connected devices.
During the Apple’s earnings call, Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer stated that, “We built iCloud into the foundation of Mountain Lion making it easier than ever for customers to keep content up-to-date across all their devices.”
With Mountain Lion installed, users can now send unlimited messages across multiple Apple devices. But that’s not all: since your Apple devices are connected, you can start a conversation on your Mac and continue chatting on your iPhone, iPad or even iPod Touch running iOS5. And if you get tired of typing, you can quickly switch to FaceTime by just clicking on the video cam icon. Other features of iMessage is that it allows you to attach media to your messages, and you’ll never have to guess whether they got your message or not–iMessage displays a delivery status as well.
Sometimes things get so cluttered you have a hard time figuring out where a notification if coming from, and a lot of times, you forget about it all together. Mountain Lion now features a Notification Center where you can see everything that’s happening in a central location, like an email or a message received, a software update or a calendar alert.
With Mountain Lion, you can get things done when you sleep and when your Mac sleeps. Mountain Lion periodically updates Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac, and Documents in iCloud. Another great thing about Power Nap is that when your Mac is connected to a power source, it downloads software updates and makes backup copies with Time Machine so you never have to worry about losing important files. And unlike most humans who snore, talk or grind their teeth when sleeping, even if your Mac is updating, the system sounds are silent and no lights or fans come on, so you won’t even notice it’s updating. So when you and your Mac wake up, you’re both good to go.
Ever get tired of tapping on your Mac’s keyboard? Ever wish you have a personal assistant who can just type whatever you dictate? Well, you don’t have to hire a personal assistant when you upgrade to Mountain Lion since it types what you dictate. It uses the Mac’s built-in mic so no need to buy additional dictation accessories, plus the more you use it, the smarter it gets, adapting to you the way you dictate and mastering your speech patterns. Dictation supports English (U.S., UK, and Australia), French, German, and Japanese.
You can find the Share button anywhere on Mountain Lion, making it easier to share something from an app. It allows you to share photos, videos, and other files with Mail, Messages, and AirDrop; send links from Safari; or post straight to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or Vimeo when you feel like sharing.
Right now, Mountain Lion is Twitter-centric as it allows users to tweet from any app they are using. But come this fall, the Mountain Lion will be more Facebook-centric. The upcoming update will allow users to share anything on Facebook via any app they are using.
Game Center has also invaded Macs. Now you can play on Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch without losing progress by just using your Game Center ID.
Macs are even safer than before. Gatekeeper protects Mac users from downloading and installing malicious software by blocking apps created by malware developers and verifies whether an app has been tampered with. App developers are required to get a unique Developer ID from Apple which they would use to digitally sign their apps. If developers don’t have the Apple Developer ID, their apps would be blocked from the iTunes or the App Store.
I am Mountain Lion, hear me roar!
The point of Mountain Lion is tie all your Apple devices together, cementing Apple’s hold on consumers. Since everything will be seamlessly connected with one another, why would you choose to use other brands?
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s actually a pretty smart move. By making things work the same way, the familiarity of using all their devices makes it easier for consumers to choose what they want to purchase. It’s been a successful marketing tactic so far, and Apple’s strengthening its play on the software field to better leverage the cloud and streamline its services. Apple’s catching up with Google in many ways, and looking to leapfrog its top mobile OS competitor in other ways. The cloud space will only get more competitive as the major players vie for consumer affection and loyalty, building an ecosystem around their closed-loop marketplaces where software and hardware meet.