OS X Mountain Lion UK price, release date, features and more

Everything you need to know about Mountain Lion, the new version of OS X Mac.

The next edition of Apple's cat-flavoured operating system, Mac OS X, is right around the corner. This latest edition is dubbed Mountain Lion. Here's everything you need to know about Apple's increasingly iOS-infused desktop platform.

Release date and price

Apple has vowed to get Mountain Lion onto Macs everywhere this summer, which means we really don't have long to wait. Expect Mountain Lion to arrive in the next month or so.

The best news is it's dirt cheap -- expect this update to cost just £14. Like Lion, it'll be available as a digital download through the Mac App Store.

OS X Mountain Lion features

So what are the most exciting new bits and bobs coming to Mountain Lion? Read on to see what's in store for your Mac

Game Center

Avid iOS gamers will be pleased as punch to learn that Apple's online game network is making its way to Mountain Lion. Game Center supports multi-player from Mac to Mac, as well as cross-device gaming, so you can challenge foes, even if your dastardly opponents are using mobile kit like the iPhone , iPad or iPod touch .

Dictation

Now you can bark orders at your Mac! Mountain Lion lets you talk into Facebook or Microsoft Word, which could save you a lot of time if you're a slow typist. But how accurate will the speech recognition prove?

iCloud tabs

Browsing on your iPad and fancy continuing your surfing on your Mac? Safari will now use iCloud to sync your tabs, so you can keep cruising the Internet when you switch devices.

Power Nap

The adorably named Power Nap keeps your Mac up to date while it's asleep. So it updates and syncs, as well as backing itself up. Your Photo Stream will also get updated.

This feature isn't for everyone -- Apple says it'll work with second-generation MacBook Airs and the new MacBook Pro with retina display .

Messages

Messages replaces iChat and will work just like iMessage does on iOS gear. This means you'll be able to hold conversations with your iPhone-owning friends on your Mac. Handy -- just make sure you're not gossiping about anyone you share your computer with. Apple says you'll be able to drag photos and videos into the conversation, making it easier than ever to send your pals cat videos.

Notes

Another app shamelessly ported from iOS, the Notes app lets you jot down handy items like shopping lists or the names of your sworn enemies.

Gatekeeper

One for the security conscious -- Gatekeeper is a feature that controls the software you can install on your Mac. You can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps from the Mac App Store to be installed or to only install programs created by Apple-approved developers.

Developers will get unique Developer ID from Apple, which marks their software as safe, with the idea of this feature being to reduce the risk of viruses or unwanted malware.

Notifications

You know the notification panel introduced to iOS devices last year? Well, now it's coming to Macs. Dragging two fingers to the left will bring up the notification panel, which displays treats such as new emails or messages, Twitter mentions and direct messages or event reminders.

Airplay Mirroring

One for Apple TV owners, this feature lets you funnel a 720p stream of whatever's on your Mac's screen to a TV that's hooked up to Apple's blocky little set-top box.

This essentially turns your telly into a big monitor, connected over Wi-Fi, and will be helpful for showing friends holiday snaps or airing video that's available on your Mac.

Automatic downloads

This nifty feature sees other Macs that are logged in with the same Apple account automatically downloading new apps when you purchase them.

Requirements 

Apple says you'll need to already have OSX 10.6.7 or later installed (aka Lion or Snow Leopard), 2GB of memory and 8GB available hard disk space. 

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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