Last year’s Lion doesn’t feel very old, but Apple has sped up its desktop release cycle and released Mountain Lion, the followup that promises a more robust and useful desktop platform, further adoption of concepts from iOS, and a stronger focus on iCloud and third-party online services to tie your digital universe together. If you’re the kind of user who feels extremely restricted on an iPad as opposed to a computer, you might not like what this latest update brings. Mountain Lion is built for the kind of user who doesn’t care where files are saved as long as they exist, and who loves how iPad apps disappear into the background when not needed and magically remember exactly what you were doing when you bring them back. Read on to see if Mountain Lion works for you, or click here to jump directly to our conclusion.
A fresh new Mountain Lion installation. Note the opaque dock and cluttered menu bar.
Apple’s latest financial reports show that the iPhone and iPad lines now make up 72 percent of the company’s business, with Mac sales accounting for only 14 percent. These figures are even more impressive when you consider that the Mac and iOS families were roughly even just four years ago. It therefore shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Apple wants to apply as much of the iOS formula as possible to the Mac line. If iPhone and iPad users are so happy with their experiences, then it makes sense to adopt those conventions and ideas that make those devices so attractive, and provide new ways to bridge the two device classes. Some of these changes do seem logical, but others will aggravate longtime Mac users and those resistant to a general “dumbing down” of personal computers.
OS X v10.8, better known as Mountain Lion, comes almost exactly a year after Lion and marks a transition to a cheaper yearly release cycle, much like what iOS users are accustomed to. Notably, the “Mac” in “Mac OS” has been dropped, and the “X” signifying version 10 has become part of a new name, “OS X”. Previous releases were spaced up to two years apart and cost US$ 129 (Rs. 7,170) each.
Mountain Lion costs only $19.99 (Rs. 1,110) and includes a number of new features that users will see in addition to loads of background improvements. Only specific models of Macs are eligible to run Mountain Lion, with the oldest being the mid-2007 iMac refresh, and other relatively recent models excluded, such as Mac Minis launched before mid-2009.
If you didn’t get it preinstalled on a new Mac, your only option is to download Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store (Macs purchased after June 11, 2012 qualify for a free upgrade). The 4.7 GB download appears as a shortcut in the dock and Launchpad screen, and you can install it whenever you like. The process took us about 40 minutes on a 2008 MacBook and just under 20 minutes on a 2011 MacBook Air, during which time the machines were unusable.
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