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Mountain Lion to Descend July 25

By Rachelle Dragani MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jul 17, 2012 5:00 AM PT

Apple's upcoming operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, may be scheduled to land on July 25, according to a report from 9to5 Mac.

Mountain Lion to Descend July 25

The OS has 200 new features and is designed to seamlessly tie together apps from across Apple's hardware ecosystem.

If the rumored date holds true, the operating system will launch the day after Apple announces its latest quarterly earnings report. When OS X Lion launched a year ago, Apple followed the same pattern -- it announced during its earnings call on July 19 that the system would hit stores the next day.

The upgrade will cost US$19.99 and will be available at the Mac App Store on the day it launches.

Both U.S. and international Apple retail stores are planning for overnight shifts on July 24, according to the sources that spoke with 9to5 Mac.

Apple announced recently that the system would launch in July, but it has not confirmed the July 25 release date. The company did not respond to our requests for comment on the story.

Beyond the PC

Apple gave developers a taste of the new system at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. While OS X Mountain Lion is designed for Mac computers, the best features of the new system are the ones that tie together other hardware from Apple's ecosystem, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

"Those advance the notion of post-PC productivity," she said. "They are experiences that help people be productive using multiple modes and devices."

One of the biggest tie-ins will be the replacing iChat with Messages. Messages will work as an instant-messaging app that can be integrated with iMessages on a user's iPhone. With the new system, users can send messages between their Mac computers, iPhones and iPads, and the conversations will be immediately synced to all of that user's Apple devices.

The new system will also feature integration with Reminders, Notes, Game Center, AirPlay and Twitter, which will make it easier to share links and messages to the social network.

The notifications system is also getting an upgrade on OS X Mountain Lion. Now, it will more closely resemble that of the system on iOS, in which alerts will appear in a small bubble in the top right-hand corner of the screen for five seconds. A notification screen similar to the one in iOS will store the alerts.

OS X Mountain Lion also places a greater emphasis on iCloud, making more apps available to be synced to cloud storage. Another feature, Power Nap, will keep the Mac computer up to date by refreshing mail and other apps even while it sleeps.

Apple's designers were thinking of everyone on this upgrade, said Ezra Gottheil, senior analyst for computing practice at Technology Business Research.

"Mountain Lion has a mountain of features, and which are best depends on what you like," Gottheil told MacNewsWorld.

In addition to new features, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will have a smaller price tag than some of its predecessors. The $19.99 could help bring in users who wouldn't have normally sprung for the improvements, said Gottheil.

"Most will upgrade relatively quickly, driven in part by the low upgrade price," he said. "I do think price does help sales, especially among users who are pretty happy with what they have."

Pouncing on Mountain Lion

Although the $20 price tag may make it easy for Apple to convince users to upgrade, some customers may choose to hold back at least a few weeks and wait for Apple to work out whatever kinks may arise from the mass of changes the company has made to the OS. Such problems irritated some early Lion adopters, said Gottheil.

"To be fair, virtually all software is updated soon after major releases, including Apple operating systems. It's just that in Lion, some of the problems were unusually large for an Apple product. I believe Mountain Lion will be more finished than Lion and many users will upgrade soon after the early reports come out," he said.

Some of the users aware of Lion's initial problems out of the gate might hold off with the upgrade temporarily, said Gottheil, but this time around, he's sure that Apple wants to avoid any growing pains.

"I think some of the more sophisticated users, the ones most interested in upgrading quickly, will be more cautious because Lion had some teething problems," he said. "I hope Apple reverts to its previous habit of having few problems in early versions."

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