Mountain Lion, will be available to download from the App Store for only £14 on Wednesday 25th July. Do you need it?

Yes, you do.

What does Mountain Lion do?

It brings some of the iOS features to the desktop in Apple’s quest to make all of their hardware and software work together in a seamless and recognisable way. Some improvements to iCloud ready for iOS 6 in the autumn along with the new iPhone 5 release could mean getting your Mac up to date now will get you ahead of the curve. Mountain Lion is generally an update rather than a ‘new’ operating system, so most Apps will work fine.

Here’s a quick summary Mountain Lion’s features:

iMessage on the desktop. You can send an MMS to anyone who has an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch or another Mountain Lion user, great for texting from your computer and receiving replies.

Reminders – now on your desktop too, at last you can put a reminder on your iPhone and see it when you open your Mac.

Notification Centre – a bit like having AOL on your desktop, but hopefully much much better. Might be a bit annoying at first, hopefully it will have a “Do Not Disturb” button.

Dictation – talk to your Mac in any App that you can type into. Another voice recognition attempt which learns your voice. Most people I know don’t like the idea of talking to a computer because the software has been difficult (rubbish) – eg. IBM’s ViaVoice and to some extent Siri on the iPhone, but maybe Apple have cracked this one at last.

Power Nap – not sure I like this: when your Mac laptop (with flash storage) is asleep it will still be communicating on the network, downloading your eMails, synching PhotoStream and even backing up. Its not really asleep then is it!

Sharing – buttons added throughout Mountain Lion to share links, photos and files via Mail, iMessage and AirDrop.

Facebook integration, maybe I will finally start using Facebook and not hating it so much or maybe I will just find the button to turn off Facebook. Microsoft have bought their own Facebook App called Yammer, so will no doubt be integrating that into Windows 8, I’m not convinced that Social Networking should be an integral part of an operating system.

Twitter – tweet links and photos directly from Safari and iPhoto. See the responses pop-up  in the Notification Centre.

AirPlay Mirroring – share your desktop screen via your AppleTV wirelessly. That’s quite cool, especially if you have a huge HDTV. Great in the classroom or conference room, no more messing about finding the right adapter.

Game Centre on the desktop. If you have to play games this is the way to do it.

GateKeeper – protects your Mac when downloading Apps from the App Store and other places. Very useful if you download a lot of Apps from various sources and want the assurance that they won’t damage your Mac.

Safari – an upgrade to enable the URL bar as a search bar, just like Windows Explorer! You can now surf on your Mac, pick up your phone and continue surfing in the same place, all neatly synched for you.

Some other tweaks:

Tap for QuickLook – now you can tap the trackpad with 3 fingers to get a quick preview of any file, the spacebar was the way to do this before in case you didn’t know.

Launchpad Search – click on LaunchPad and start typing the name of the App you are looking for, Launchpad displays matching results.

Full Screen Apps on any display. If you have a second monitor you can now put an App in full screen on any display.

Screen Sharing Drag and Drop – you can copy files from a Mac you are managing with Screen Sharing.

Screen Saver enhancements, use PhotoStream as your screen saver

Time Machine now lets you backup to multiple locations, eg home and work.

Summary

There’s no real “killer” improvement as far as I can tell, but as is usual with operating system upgrades you have to buy it to keep your hardware investment up to date and fully functioning. £13.99 is not much to pay to stay in the game.

Apps Known to Not Work in Mountain Lion

see http://roaringapps.com/ for more info

AutoCAD 2012

FileMaker Pro 11.0.3

KeyNote 5.1.1

LotusNotes 8.5.3

Numbers 2.1

OmniPlan 2

PhotoShop Elements 5 v9.0

Apple Remote Desktop 3.5.2

VMWare 3

iPhone 5 rumoured to be released on 12th September 2012, along with iOS 6

Check the Tech Specs to see if your Mac can run Mountain Lion, although the install will check if your Mac can run it for you.

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