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It’s Now Official: Mountain Lion is Here!

As the company announced during its third fiscal quarter earnings call on July 24th, Mountain Lion officially hit the Mac App Store for $19.99. Apple’s most advanced desktop operating system is exclusive to the Mac App Store; the company won’t sell Mountain Lion via USB sticks or optical disks and it costs $10 less than Lion, marketed at $29.99. A single purchase can be used on up to five Macs.

Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of OS X, has more than 200 innovative new features such as iCloud integration, a messaging app, Facebook integration, a notification center, dictations and the Game Center.

Apple's Mountain Lion hit the Mac App Store
With Mountain Lion’s iCloud integration users can set up mail, contacts, calendar, messages, reminders and notes and update them across all their devices. The Messages app comes to replace iChat, bringing the well known iOS feature iMessage to Apple’s desktops so you can send messages to anyone using an iPhone, iPod Touch or Mac.

Another great new feature coming with Mountain Lion is the Notification Center, which provides easy access to alerts from your calendar, mail, reminders and messages, while also bringing the iOS 6’ “Do not disturb” feature. Just like iOS 6 Mountain Lion comes with deep Facebook integration, so you can post comments, links and photos right from the app you are using, as well as syncing all your Facebook friends and contacts with your Address Book, so you’ll have all of your friends’ contact information in one place.

As mentioned above, the list of new features is quite long but Dictation is one of those features you’re going to love. Also the new OS X comes with Gatekeeper, which aims to make downloading software from the internet more safe; also Power Nap, and a much faster Safari browser.

With Mountain Lion in the Mac App Store, Apple pushed out some updates for Mac OS X Lion as well, which include Safari 6 and iPhoto updates. Safari 6.0 includes an update which Apple calls “the Smart Search Field”, which is basically a unified URL bar with the search bar. The update also includes an offline reading list and Baidu Chinese search support for Chinese Mac users, along with the “Do not track” feature: Safari can send the websites you visit a request not to track you online.

With the launch of Mountain Lion, updates are rolling out in a fast pace: Apple has updated iMovie, Aperture and iWork. Pages, Numbers and Keynote users can benefit from their MacBook Pro’s Retina Display. In addition, the updated iWork includes iCloud documents in the Cloud support, meaning you can work on a document on your Mac and pick it up later on your iPad and vice versa. Shortly after its official release Mountain Lion hit the No. 1 paid app spot. Is it worth $20? Absolutely!

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