Apple, the king of the consumer electronics jungle, has roared, with 3 million downloads since launch in only four days.
This time, in its new Mountain Lion incarnation, numbered version 10.8, Mac OS X completes with a fuller mane of iOS and iCloud integration, and showing Apple’s way before it takes the plunge and also offers a hybrid desktop/tablet OS, if that’s something Apple ever does and is something we’d like to see happening!
Until then, however, the closest we have is the excellent touchpad integration into Mountain Lion OS X, right down to including the new right side to middle left swipe to bring up the Notifications bar, something that is done in a large yet small area, in a much easier way than reaching for the touch-sensitive screen.
Apple seems to have a lock on these innovative touchpad gestures, however Microsoft has loaded up Windows 8 with a tremendous number of Windows key and QWERTY key shortcuts to keep those with their fingers on the keyboard already on the keyboard and letter perfectly productive – while combining an ever-smarter touchpad with 10-point onscreen multi-touch and even, on digitizer-equipped models, stylus compatibility.
So, the news that Mountain Lion has been so readily embraced by at least the first 3 million is of no surprise, and while there’s sure to have been some installation issues for some number of people who are no doubt seeking assistance at Apple’s support forums for whatever reason, not that I experienced any such issues when installing the Mountain Lion upgrade on my computer, Mountain Lion’s popularity is obviously only going to continue rising for existing users who upgrade, and on all new Macs sold in stores too.
Selling for US $19.99, or AUD $20.99 including the Australian GST “sales tax”, it’s Apple’s “ninth major release” of OS X, and in typical Apple style has “more than 200 innovative new features”.
Apple’s Senior Veep of “Worldwide Marketing”, Philip Schiller, said in a media statement that: “Just a year after the incredibly successful introduction of Lion, customers have downloaded Mountain Lion over three million times in just four days, making it our most successful release ever”.
Mountain Lion’s new features are cool, and the AUD $20.99 upgrade price gives you a smoother, faster Mac with better, quicker Safari browser, iCloud integration between your Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and obviously any future iPad Mini and future iPhone 5, Voice Dictation when connected to the Internet, Messages to chat, text, and send photo and videos freely between yourself and other iOS and Mac OS X iMessage and Messages user, Facetime for video chat, and if your Mac has a powerful enough graphics chip from the past couple of years, it can also do AirPlay Mirroring, sending your Mac’s screen to an Apple TV equipped TV.
That said, a friend has been trying to do that with video and finding a stuttering effect to video playback – probably needs to upgrade his router to a new 802.11n router or perhaps even an Airport Extreme for the best effect.
There’s also that promised Facebook integration, which remains promised for 10.8.1 presumably, seeing as we are with 10.8 now and Apple says Facebook integration “will be available in an upcoming software update to Mountain Lion”.
Apple also takes the opportunity to remind the world of its Mac App Store, which already offers “thousands of apps” in all the categories that matter, with Apple handily boasting that it “is the largest, fastest growing PC software store in the world.”
In typical Apple style, it ends with its boilerplate noting that it makes “the best personal computers in the world”, the best software, the best phones and tablets, has the best handle on mobile and the best online store for everything digital, too.
Apple says it in its own way, but it says just that, and they’re obviously extraordinarily proud to be doing it, and extraordinarily successful doing so.
And good on Apple for that. It's a great OS thus far, lets you work with or without iCloud, and unless you need to stay on older versions for software or hardware compatibility purposes, is definitely worth upgrading to for all compatible Mac users.
Just make sure to do a Time Machine backup first, and if your Mac can have its memory upgraded, it might well be worth checking what you've got an upgrading to 4GB, 6GB or 8GB depending on the speed, brand and type of Mac compatible memory that you're getting to get the biggest benefit from your new OS upgrade boost!