OS X Mountain Lion is the next release of Apple’s operating system and I, for one, am looking forward to it! Lion was a big upgrade that included some nice features like Mission Control and Full Screen apps, both of which I use fairly often. Mountain Lion has some more really cool features that I’m sure I will be using regularly.
In this article, I’m going to go through everything you would want to know about Mountain Lion including release dates, features, requirements and cost. There are probably a lot more things we’ll learn as the release gets closer, but I’ll try to cover as much as we know now.
Mountain Lion Release Date
All Apple has told us till now is that Mountain Lion will be released this summer. Most people are guessing that will take place during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, which is from June 11th to 15th. The main theme of the conference is the future of iOS and OS X, so we can pretty certain Mountain Lion will be unveiled. Also, as you can see from the image above, Mountain Lion is borrowing a lot from the iPad, which means the line between Mac and iPad/iPhone is going to blur even more.
Mountain Lion Requirements
There are some older Macs the will not be able to upgrade to Lion, especially those that have integrated graphics cards. The basic requirements are
- 64-bit Core 2 Duo processor or higher
- 64-bit Kernel Boot Support
- Advanced GPU
You’ll also need an Internet connection for sure because Mountain Lion will only be available from the Mac App store, no physical media this time around. This will be the first time that the operating system will not be available on a CD.
Instead of listing out all the models that will support Mountain Lion, its easier to just list what’s not going to be supported and if you don’t have that, then you’ll be able to upgrade.
- The original MacBook Air
- Any Mac Mini before 2007
- Any iMac before 2007
- Any MacBook before 2008
- Any Mac with Intel GMA 950 or integrated graphics
- Any Mac with ATI Radeon x1600
Mountain Lion Cost
Snow Leopard was $29 and Lion was also $29, so it’s fairly safe to say that Mountain Lion will also be $29. Apple has not yet officially announced the cost of Mountain Lion, but it seems that will the new yearly release schedule and the previous two releases being $29, that is what you can expect.
Mountain Lion Features
There are a lot of new features and I’ll cover some of the major ones that will really be worth checking out.
If you own an Apple TV, then AirPlay Mirroring on iOS was awesome! Being able to shoot whatever was showing on your iPad onto your TV via the Apple TV has been great and one of the most useful features for me. However, getting used to that made it all the harder to not have that feature on my Mac! Giving Keynote presentations, I still had to use a cable to connect my Mac to my TV!
With Mountain Lion, you can stream whatever is on your Mac to your TV over WiFi! And since the Apple TV is only $99 and you already own a Mac, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.
GateKeep Keeps Your System Clean
Another useful feature is GateKeeper, which basically restricts what apps can be installed on your Mac. By default in Lion, anything can be downloaded and installed on your system. With Mountain Lion, you have three options: 1. Same as Lion, 2. Only apps from the Mac App Store and identified Developers or 3. Only from the Mac App Store.
Love the new iOS 5 features on your iPhone like iMessage? Well, now you can use Messages to chat with your online buddies like usual or send iMessages to any Mac, iPhone, or iPad. You can send pictures, videos, documents, contacts, etc. It’s awesome being able to send a text message to my wife’s iPhone right from my Mac.
iCloud is pretty good, but that’s one aspect of Apple I have not been terribly happy with. If you look at other cloud services like Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, or DropBox, you can quickly see that iCloud sucks in comparison. Yes, it lets you sync a few iWork docs across all your devices and some measly contacts, etc, but that’s about it. You can’t even upload your own files to the cloud with iCloud. And there’s no such thing as streaming your music, videos from the cloud.
Yes, iCloud lets you re-download your past purchases onto your devices, but that’s not a big deal. It would be awesome if you could stream them instead of having to download. Plus, what about all my own personal videos? And what if I didn’t want to use iTunes Match? And the PhotoStream is cool and all, but just a big blob of 1000 photos is kind of useless. Albums please? Ability to upload all my photos please?
Anyway, enough of the rant, Mountain Lion will integrate better with iCloud and it now has an easy setup feature so all you have to do is enter your Apple ID and you’re set. The iWork apps will also have iCloud better baked into them so the process of creating, editing, and viewing iCloud documents will be more seamless.
Notes & Reminders
If you use Notes and Reminders a lot on your iPhone or iPad, then you’ll be happy to see both of those will now be apps on the Mac too! Basically, makes life easier if you own a lot of Apple stuff. They are building a nice ecosystem where the traditional computer is becoming more integrated with your mobile devices too. Windows is nowhere near doing anything like that yet.
Again, if you are an iPhone or iPad user, you are probably familiar with notifications. Now it’s included with Mountain Lion. You can now quickly see stuff like new emails, messages, upcoming calendar events, friend requests, software updates, missed FaceTime calls, etc. Basically, it’s a replacement for anyone who likes to use Growl.
Share Sheets & Twitter
Both of these features make OS X a little more social. Twitter is now integrated into Safari and other built-in Mac apps. You can tweet about stuff with just a click. Share Sheets basically let you share whatever you happen to be viewing, i.e. photos, videos, websites, etc from right within the app.
Other Small Features
There are a lot of other small things that have been updated or tweaked also, including:
- A search box for LaunchPad
- Reader in Safari is now a standard button (used to cut out all ads and show just text)
- Use the address bar to search in Safari (like in Google Chrome)
- VIP ability in Mail app (You can designate certain people as VIPs and receive alerts when they email)
- QuickLook now lets you share files without ever opening the associated app
- The Widgets UI has been updated and looks more like the LaunchPad
So there you have it! Really looking forward to this update! What are your feelings? Are you happy with the feature set or prefer something else? Let us know in the comments! Enjoy!