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OS X Mountain Lion in final stages, can your Mac handle it?

Apple's OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion has been released to developers in Gold Master form, and Apple has revealed the specs required it.

Apple's OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion has reached the final stage before it's uncaged. The new software has been released to developers in Gold Master form, the last step before its full release later this month.

Older Macs won't be able to tame this big cat, so Apple has revealed the specs required. You need a computer running OS X version 10.6.8 Leopard or later, with 2GB of memory and 8GB of available disk space.

You're good to go if you have an iMac from mid-2007 or newer, a 2009 plastic or 2008 aluminium MacBook, a mid-2007 MacBook Pro, a late-2008 MacBook Air, a 2009 Mac mini or 2008 Mac Pro.

Mountain Lion is the next generation of software for MacBook laptops and iMac desktop computers, following the current version, Lion. If you buy a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac now, you'll get Mountain Lion for free when it's released as a digital download from the Mac App Store. If you already have a Mac, Mountain Lion will set you back just £14.

New features include lots of stuff inspired by Apple's mobile software, such as iPhone and iPad-style notifications, souped-up Messages, and voice control. Developers have spotted hints in the code for iOS 6 that Apple's new Maps app may come to Mac computers as well as tablets and phones.

You also need an Apple ID for many of the features, including downloading the software in the first place. 

There's no exact date yet for release, but it will be this month. The next version of iOS 6, the software for iPhone and iPad, is expected to follow this autumn.

Microsoft's rival software Windows 8 arrives in late October, and will span tablets as well as computers.

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