There has been a lot of chatter over the Internet for last few months about OS X Mountain Lion, Apple’s latest OS for the Mac. Apple has opted for a new direction with Mountain Lion with an offering that shows the first signs of unity between desktop and mobile.
Apple has finally deemed Mountain Lion stable enough to bless it with a “near final” Developer Preview 4 tag, available for download by developers enrolled in the OS X development program. The release of the Developer Preview 4 version of the new operating system means that Apple is pretty much done applying the polish and finishing touches to the software, with a prime time public release coming sometime this month.
The Mountain Lion OS has seemingly split public opinion since its announcement, but it definitely goes some way to showing the world just what Apple’s future plans are. The company describes the OS as bringing a whole host of new features that have been inspired by the hugely successful iPad and re-imagined for the Mac, with the hope that it makes the Mac experience smarter, easier and a lot more intuitive and fun.
Deeper integration with iCloud allows users to sign-in with a registered Apple ID to automatically have iCloud support across the whole system, something that will greatly benefit features such as mail, calendars and documents. OS X Mountain Lion also brings a significant and much needed update to the iChat application, rebranding it to ‘Messages’ and bringing the ability to send unlimited free of charge iMessages to users of Macs, iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.
Popular iOS-based applications such as Reminders, Notes, Notification Center have also been integrated into Mountain Lion, as well as sharing sheets being littered throughout the system for complete social interaction with services such as Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. Mountain Lion represents a monumental change for Mac users and goes way beyond being an evolutionary operating system upgrade, feeling more like a new relationship is being formed with OS X and iOS.
Apple introduced AirDrop in OS X Lion, making it easy to set up a secure, configuration free file sharing session between two Macs on the same network. In Mountain Lion, Apple makes the feature accessible all over through the new Share Sheets feature. Share Sheets presents a “send” icon familiar to iOS users in a variety of places throughout OS X Mountain Lion, from Quick Look panels to Open File dialogs to Contacts, Safari and Photo Booth. Clicking on a Share Sheet icon opens a menu displaying a variety of contextually relevant sharing options based on the accounts configured in the “Mail Contacts & Calendars” pane of System Preferences.
Quick Look an image, for example, and Share Sheets present options to send via Email, Message, Twitter, AirDrop or Flickr.
As mentioned earlier, the released DP4 build of Mountain Lion is only available to registered Mac OS X developers, so if that applies to you then head on over to the Developer Center and download your copy now.
Apple released a full list of Macs compatible with OS X Mountain Lion.
Although most of the details with regards to Apple’s much anticipated OS X Mountain Lion are already public domain, the Apple has now revealed which specific Macs will be upgradable once the next iteration of its desktop operating system does emerge. If you’re in ownership of a MacBook released prior to 2007, you’ll be disappointed to learn that you’ll need to grab yourself some new hardware if you wish to sink your teeth into Mountain Lion, since it’s thought it will simply not run on 32-bit GPUs.
As such, if you’re a Mac Mini user and purchased your little computing box before 2009, you will also need to consider investing in a newer unit if you want to run the heavily iOS-influenced iteration of OS X.
Last year’s release of OS X Lion saw many old favorites left behind, and Mountain Lion will follow a similar pattern. With each iteration of OS X there’s always a list of machines that have been left behind, and Mountain Lion is no different, it would seem. Apple hasn’t stated any specific reasons as to why certain models have been left out of contention, but presumption seems to be that graphics on 64-bit systems are the main source of the problem.
The details regarding Mountain Lion, which dropped earlier this week, indicates the older machines depend on specific 32-bit GPU drivers, and it appears as though Apple has decided to leave the older devices out as opposed to going through the painstaking rigmarole of writing new drivers for each one. Apple will obviously continue to support the older machines with security patches and performance enhancements, but from an OS X point of view, Mountain Lion is simply a step too far. Here is the fully classified list of devices compliant with Mountain Lion, which will be arriving later this month for the upgrade price of $19.99.
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
Although it’s always a shame to see older machines left out in the cold, but Apple will continue to support Snow Leopard and Lion so computers on those operating systems will be eligible for Apple security patches etc. Additionally, with every new release of an operating system there are bugs that have not been ironed out, so if you do not upgrade to Mountain Lion immediately it is not a such a bad thing.