Mac OS X Mountain Lion to launch in July – Facebook integration coming

11 Jun 2012

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Apple’s latest computer operating system Mac OS X Mountain Lion will be available in July as a download from the Mac App Store. The new OS will have 200 new features, including Facebook integration and dictation.

OS X Mountain Lion will be available from the Mac App Store for US$19.99. Mountain Lion requires Lion or Snow Leopard (OS X v10.6.8 or later), 2GB of memory and 8GB of available space.

Facebook integration won’t, however, be available straight away but is expected to come in an upcoming software update to the new OS. When Facebook support does become available, you can post photos, links and comments with locations right from your apps. Once you have signed in, your Facebook friends automatically appear in Contacts with their profile photos. Facebook notifications work with Notification Center in Mountain Lion, and you can even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center.

Among the new features are an all-new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration, Dictation, Power Nap, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper. With iCloud built into the foundation of OS X, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to keep content up to date across all devices.

The cloud is at the heart of new OS X Mountain Lion

“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.”

Using your iCloud account, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up your 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, including Apple’s iWork suite, so you can always access and edit your documents on any device.

The new Messages app replaces iChat and brings iMessage to the Mac, so you can send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or another Mac. You can include attachments, high-quality photos and HD video, and your iMessages appear on all your devices so you can 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.

Mountain Lion streamlines the presentation of notifications, and with Notification Center you can see all your notifications from OS X and third-party apps in one convenient place.

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 you to share 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 and Twitter are integrated with Notification Center so you can receive notifications when someone sends you a message or mentions you in a post or tweet.

Dictation is built into Mountain Lion and allows you to dictate text anywhere you can type, whether you’re using an app from Apple or a third-party developer. Mountain Lion also introduces Power Nap, a 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 your Mac using Time Machine.

The new Gatekeeper security feature makes downloading software from the internet safer by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from anywhere, just as you do today, or for maximum security you can set Gatekeeper to allow only apps from the Mac App Store.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com