OS X Mountain Lion hits the App Store today

Before we dig into some of the new features in Apple’s latest update to Mac OS X, I just want to call out what has to be either the biggest coincidence in the launch of a new tech product, or a very cleverly timed piece of PR genius:

On Sunday, as reported by ABC and the Daily Mail Online, a woman in California called police 911 services in a state of deep worry over what she believed to be a mountain lion that had supposedly crept into her neighbour’s yard and then fallen asleep or perhaps died, while lying on the neighbour’s patio table.

Looking at the photo below, you can understand her concern – the animal looks like the real deal.

Turns out it was real, or at least was once a real live mountain lion. But the animal sitting in the neighbour’s yard was a stuffed animal placed there by the neighbour to intentionally prank his wife when she looked out the window.

Oddly, though the event happened on Sunday, it wasn’t reported until today – coinciding with the mountain lion story you’re hear to read. Coincidence?

Okay, now that’s out of the way…

Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion seems like a bargain when you consider that for just twenty bucks, you can upgrade from either Lion or Snow Leopard and get over 200 improvements including:

  • iCloud integration, for easy set up of your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes, and keeping everything, including iWork documents, up to date across all your devices;
  • the all new Messages app, which replaces iChat and brings iMessage to the Mac, so you can send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or another Mac;
  • Notification Center, which streamlines the presentation of notifications and provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third party apps;
  • System-wide Sharing, to make it easy to share links, photos, videos and other files quickly without having to switch to another app, and you just need to sign in once to use third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo;
  • Facebook integration, so you can post photos, links and comments with locations right from your apps, automatically add your Facebook friends to your Contacts, and even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center;
  • Dictation, which allows you to dictate text anywhere you can type, whether you’re using an app from Apple or a third party developer;
  • 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; and
  • Game Center, which brings the popular social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so you can enjoy live, multiplayer games with friends whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

I’m especially keen to try out AirPlay mirroring – this has been one of those features that was notable for its absence from previous releases of the operating system as it is now standard on nearly all iOS devices. Being able to send any kind of content from a Mac to an Apple TV (and thus your HDTV) is very handy.

If you’re curious to learn more about Mountain Lion before deciding to take the plunge yourself, check out these helpful reviews:




While you’re at it, you may want to revisit the minimum system specs for OS X.

So readers, are there any Mountain Lion features you’re excited about? Drop us a line in the comments, and let us know – especially once you’ve had a chance to try it out. (Or if you’ve had any of your own close encounters with convincing stuffed animals)