Apple on Wednesday released Mountain Lion, the operating system otherwise known as OS X 10.8. Mountain Lion adds several iOS-inspired apps and features, wholly embraces iCloud, and, of course, drops support for some older Macs.
Like Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion is available exclusively through the Mac App Store as a 4.34GB download. But it comes at a discount from its predecessor: Mountain Lion costs $20.99. (If you purchased a new Mac on or after June 11, 2012, you can upgrade for free through Apple’s Up-to-Date program.) Your Mac will need to be running Snow Leopard or later to launch the Mountain Lion installer.
Some Macs that could run Lion can’t run Mountain Lion. You’ll need an iMac (Mid 2007 or newer), MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer), MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer), Xserve (Early 2009), MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer), Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer), or Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) to install the new operating system.
Many of the features introduced in the new OS X update will be familiar to anyone with an iOS device.
New apps in Mountain Lion include Reminders, Notes, and Game Center, each of which looks like—and syncs seamlessly via iCloud with—its iOS counterpart. Mountain Lion also includes Messages, née iChat, which now offers support for sending iMessages to other Mac and iOS device users.
Also making the leap from iOS to the Mac with Mountain Lion is Notification Center, a single spot that assembles alerts from Apple’s apps, along with third-party apps and websites that integrate with the technology. Mountain Lion delivers support for AirPlay mirroring to the Mac, letting Mac users send their display to an Apple TV.
Mountain Lion also introduces a number of new technologies to OS X including Gatekeeper, a security feature that gives users control over which apps can launch on their Macs; significant Mail and Safari upgrades; system-wide sharing features; and built-in dictation among other capabilities.
Mountain Lion is now available through the Mac App Store.