Apple’s Mountain Lion system debuts
Apple’s new operating system for Macs, formally OS X 10.8 and dubbed Mountain Lion, went on sale Wednesday as a $19.99 download from Apple’s App Store. It builds on the previous system, Lion, which came out last July.
Mountain Lion is made for a world where your computer is just one of your computing devices, along with your iPhone and your iPad. Apple wants to make it easier to switch from one to the other.
It’s already easy to switch between iPhone and iPad. For instance, songs and apps you buy on an iPad will automatically pop up on your iPhone through Apple’s iCloud online-storage service. Lion has some iCloud features, but Mountain Lion really brings the Mac into the iPhone-iPad family.
It’s similar to what Microsoft Corp. is doing with its forthcoming Windows 8 system. That system, to be released Oct. 26, will bring the look and user interface of Windows Phone to PCs. Among the features of Mountain Lion:
• The new software will have better integration with social networks such as Facebook Inc.’s. It will have built-in features to facilitate sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other services. For instance, you’ll get notifications when you get a message or a mention in a Facebook or Twitter post. You need to sign in only once, and you can share directly from other apps you are using.
• Power Nap keeps your Mac updated even while it’s in power-saving “sleep” mode. It will get your email messages, back up your files and download software updates automatically. It will work with recent MacBook Air computers and the higher-end MacBook Pro model, the one with the sharper, “Retina” display.
• A Messages app, copied from Apple’s mobile operating system, will replace iChat. It will allow you to send messages to other Apple users, whether that person is on a Mac or an Apple mobile device.
• Mountain Lion will be integrated with iCloud, the new Internet storage service designed for the mobile devices.
• The software will bring dictation to Macs, essentially allowing the computer to type as you talk.
• Game Center will store high game scores and help users find opponents on both Macs and Apple mobile devices.
• The search and address bars are now combined on Safari, just as they are on Google’s Chrome browser.
• Safari’s Reading List now works offline. If you are reading a Web page and need to go somewhere, just click the small “glasses” icon for the browser to store a copy. You can continue reading in the car or on a train, even if you don’t have an Internet connection.
Your upgrade options depend on what computer you have now.
If you bought your Mac on or after June 11.
The upgrade is free. You can get Mountain Lion as a download through the Mac App Store.
If you bought your computer in late 2009 or after.
Be sure you have either the Snow Leopard or the Lion version of the operating system installed. The upgrade will cost $20 through the Mac App Store. That’s $20 for all your Macs, not each one.
If you have an older computer.
You must first upgrade to Snow Leopard if you don’t have either that or Lion already. That costs $29 and is available for shipping through Apple’s online store.
It’s possible an older computer won’t work with Mountain Lion at all. You need at least 2 gigabytes of memory and 8 GB of available storage. Specific computers supported by Mountain Lion are listed here: apple.com/osx/specs
Even if you can run Mountain Lion, it’s possible some features won’t work on older machines.
The Associated Press