At the keynote at the WWDC 2012 event, Apple has announced that OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, will be available in July as a download from the Mac App Store. Mountain Lion introduces more than 200 innovative features including the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration, Dictation, Power Nap, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper. Apple claims that with iCloud built into the foundation of OS X, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to keep one’s content up to date across all your devices.

“The pace of innovation on the Mac is amazing, OS X Mountain Lion comes just a year after the incredibly successful launch of Lion,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With iCloud built right in and the new Notification Center, Messages, Dictation, Facebook integration and more, this is the best OS X yet.”

Launching in July

Launching in July

Apple states that by using your iCloud account, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up one’s Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes. The new Reminders and Notes apps help you remember important tasks and jot down your thoughts quickly, while iCloud automatically keeps everything up to date. Documents in the Cloud works with iCloud-enabled apps which include Apple’s iWork suite, so one can always access and edit their documents on any device.

The new Messages app replaces iChat and brings iMessage to the Mac, allowing one to send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or another Mac. With this feature, one can include attachments, high quality photos and HD video, and their iMessages appear on all their devices allowing one to pick up a conversation right where you left off. iMessage includes group messaging, delivery and read receipts, typing indicators and secure end-to-end encryption. The Messages app also supports traditional instant messaging services, including AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Jabber.

Notification Center
Mountain Lion streamlines the presentation of notifications, and with Notification Center one can see all their notifications from OS X and third party apps in one convenient place. One can customize which apps send you notifications, the type of notification they wish to receive, and how many items are shown in Notification Center. When one wants to focus on their work or watch a movie, they can choose to temporarily suspend all notifications.

New system-wide Sharing is built into Mountain Lion, making it easier than ever to share links, photos, videos and other files. Clicking the Share button allows a user to share quickly without having to switch to another app, and they just need to sign in once to use third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo. Facebook and Twitter are integrated with Notification Center so you can receive notifications when someone sends a message or mentions the user in a post or Tweet.

Facebook Integration
With built-in support for Facebook, one can post photos, links and comments with locations right from their apps. Once they’ve signed in, their Facebook friends automatically appear in Contacts with their profile photos. Your Facebook notifications work with Notification Center in Mountain Lion, and you can even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center. Facebook integration will be available in an upcoming software update to Mountain Lion.

Several new features added

Several new features added

Dictation is built into Mountain Lion and allows one to dictate text anywhere one can type, whether they’re using an app from Apple or a third party developer. Mountain Lion also introduces Power Nap, an innovative new feature that keeps your MacBook Pro with Retina display and MacBook Air (second and third generation) up to date while it sleeps. Power Nap automatically refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud, and when plugged in, downloads software updates and backs up their Mac using Time Machine.

The new Gatekeeper feature makes downloading software from the Internet safer by giving one control over which apps can be installed on your Mac. Users can choose to install apps from anywhere, or for maximum security one can set Gatekeeper to allow only apps from the Mac App Store. The default setting allows one to install apps from the Mac App Store and apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. In addition to checking daily for security updates, Mountain Lion includes app sandboxing to keep misbehaving apps from compromising your system, and kernel ASLR for improved protection against buffer overflow attacks.

Additional new features in Mountain Lion include:

  • AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send an up-to-1080p secure stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV, or send audio to a receiver or speakers that use AirPlay
  • Game Center, which brings the popular social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so one can enjoy live, multiplayer games with friends whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
  • A faster Safari with a unified Smart Search Field, iCloud Tabs that present their open tabs across their devices, and a new Tab View to quickly swipe through them
  • New features for China, including significantly improved text input, a new Chinese Dictionary, easy setup with popular email providers, Baidu search in Safari, built-in sharing to Sina Weibo and popular video websites Youku and Tudou; and
  • Over 1,700 new APIs that give developers access to the latest core OS and web technologies, as well as the newest features of OS X, including Documents in the Cloud, Notifications, Sharing and Game Center

Pricing and Availability
OS X Mountain Lion will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99 (US). Mountain Lion requires Lion or Snow Leopard (OS X v10.6.8 or later), 2GB of memory and 8GB of available space. For a complete list of system requirements and compatible systems, please visit the link here. OS X Server requires Mountain Lion and will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99 (US). The OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date upgrade is available at no additional charge via the Mac App Store to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on or after June 11, 2012.

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