Apple OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) Review

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Apple's Mountain Lion operating system has been a long time coming. Apple first teased the "200 new features" represented in OS X 10.8 back in June, and here we are in August with well over three million copies already downloaded. According to Apple, the launch of Mountain Lion is its most successful OS X launch ever. It's also interesting for another reason: it's the first Mac desktop OS ever to not ship on a disc or USB flash drive from the start. It's only available as a ~4.34GB download, which you could argue alienates OS X users who don't have access to a reliable broadband connection, but that's a discussion for another day.


Of course, you could always head to an Apple Store, a Starbucks or some other locale with free Wi-Fi, but it's another step that hasn't been a part of the equation. Apple has never shied away from pushing the envelope, be it the removal of the optical drive in the Mac mini, the introduction of the Retina display, or the decision to force users to download Mountain Lion. It's a digital world, and the idea of download-only isn't as far-fetched as it once may have been. SSD-based Macs have a much easier time with the installation too; HDD-based Macs need to allow around an hour after download to completely install OS X 10.8.

What is Mountain Lion -

So, let's talk about what OS X 10.8 is. OS X is a significant step forward for Apple and it has reached a very mature stage. Obviously, we've only got another point release before we roll to OS 11, or whatever Apple ends up naming it. Speaking of names, OS X 10.8's "Mountain Lion" moniker is somewhat revealing as well. OS X 10.5 was named Leopard, followed by 10.6 also known as Snow Leopard. Apple said that Snow Leopard was primarily a refreshing and refining of Leopard. Now, we're in a similar position. OS X 10.7 was Lion and today, we have Mountain Lion. To best understand what makes this edition worthwhile though, let's look at what's new.


The actual desktop space of OS X 10.8 isn't dramatically different than what you'll find in 10.7. At a glance, it may be tough to see what's actually different in Mountain Lion. But it's just a reminder that most point updates are subtle, and many of the changes are under the hood. It's worth mentioning that Mountain Lion requires a fairly new Mac. You'll need an iMac (Mid 2007 or newer), MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer), MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer), Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer), MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer), Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) or an Xserve (Early 2009). AirPlay Mirroring requires an even newer subset of computers, and of course, Photo Booth and FaceTime require a Mac with a built-in camera / webcam. Why the need for all the fresh hardware? We'll take a look at that on the next page.
 

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It shows pretty heavily the classic attitude of apple. Instead of stretching the system to apply to the outlier users, they make their product so great that everyone changes their environment to suit their mac. And with good cause, No manufacturer on earth has been able to create such a compelling case to never touch any one else's hardware again. Every electronic need is filled and done so flawlessly. Apple has not changed with the departure of Steve Jobs.

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An interesting question is brought up though, If apple doesn't change without Steve jobs do they lose their ability to change? In the recent biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs notes that on every major success apple has had, he had to "push the rewind button" taking a good product and making a radical change close to the deadline in order to make it perfect.

Steve Jobs was a sadist jerk sometimes, but his passions for great products is incredibly hard to parallel, can the level headed new CEO Tim Rice do the same?

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Very true, I had admired Steve Jobs at times while disagreeing with decisions he's made during others. I chuckled when I read that he attributed his success/vision of products/change on the use of drugs like LSD. Perhaps Tim needs a little bit of that.

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Apple really seems to be moving in an interesting direction. They're catering more and more to the owners of their handheld devices, they've even come so far as to make OS 10.8 more like that found on an iPad. Based on their sales I absolutely understand their decision, they've sold more IOS products in 2011 than they've sold Macs in 28 years. Logically, the push to make things more like IOS makes sense, people obviously like it, but it just seems so counter-intuitive. I guess this might be giving us little hints as to where technology is going. Who knows what will be around in 5 years time? I can only imagine, but I am excited!

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