On July 25, Apple released the ninth generation of the OS X operating system to the general population.
OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) is a $20 upgrade for either OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or OS 10.7.4 (Lion). Similar to Lion, the upgrade is only available as an Internet download sized at more than 4 Gigabytes; a fast Internet connection is desirable. Those with multiple Apple computers need purchase only one copy of OS 10.8; the upgrade can be downloaded additional times using the same Apple ID login to the Mac App Store.
There have been, literally, dozens of newspaper, magazine and Internet articles since the release. I'm sure you saw articles in the Naples Daily News, The Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. I've compiled a listing of articles from other sources that give much more information than provided by the three newspapers listed. The site (tinyurl.com/dye3288) contains Internet links to information that supplements this article.
I'm not going to try to duplicate the references; rather I'll cover a few selected items.
Can your computer run OS 10.8?
Many existing, serviceable computers will not be able to run OS 10.8. Even some that currently run OS 10.7 (Lion) can't run OS 10.8. Apple's list of qualified computers must meet these dates or be newer:
MacBook (late '08 aluminum, early 2009)n MacBook Pro (mid / late '07)n MacBook Air (late '08)n iMac (mid '07)n Mac mini (early '09)n Mac Pro (early '08).
Information about your Mac is available via About This Mac (under the Apple icon) / More Info. Your build generation will be shown in Lion but not in Snow Leopard. In the latter case use the serial number and the Apple site (tinyurl.com/2asb9aw) to gain more information about your Apple device.
Two non-Apple sites (tinyurl.com/y9h5vrz and tinyurl.com/c49o7) also can provide information.
Recent Mac 411 articles discussed the benefits of the Dropbox.com application. Unfortunately, Dropbox does not automatically update its software in a timely manner. When I installed OS 10.8 in my computer I lost most of Dropbox's functionality. The OS 10.8 compatible version of Dropbox is 1.4.12. Go to their site to download v 1.4.12 or later. All capability returned once I had the current version.
Safari 6.0 is not just for OS 10.8
Apple released v 6.0 of Safari for Macs running OS 10.7.4 (Lion) simultaneously with the release of OS 10.8. There are many changes but two are in the toolbar. First is the combination of the normal URL field with the previously adjacent search field.
Type in a URL, including the extension, and Safari delivers the website; forget the extension and a search will offer choices of likely destinations. Select between Bing, Yahoo or Google for the search engine in Safari / Preferences / General; their choice in the search area is gone with 6.0.
A second item (in the OS 10.8 environment) is an iCloud Tab tool. This awaits the iOS 6 release this fall before it functions. When available you will be able to move from Safari in your iDevice to Safari in your Mac and have the same active tabs show via iCloud synchronization.
RSS is the ability to receive notifications of changes to websites you subscribe to. If you own a Nikon camera you may want to know immediately of news about new cameras or lenses. An RSS "alert" is sent when the website is changed. You could receive the alert either in Safari or Mail before OS 10.8; now a separate RSS reader is required.
What is the name?
OS 10.8 continues the process of bringing the User experience to be the same whether using an iDevice or a Mac. Several Mac applications received name and visual changes. Notes and Reminders are new stand-alone apps that were separated from their prior home in Mail. iCal was renamed Calendar. Address Book was renamed Contacts; in addition a three-panel display is available to show Groups in the left panel, Members of the group in the middle panel, and Details of a member in the right panel. Additionally, iChat has become Messages; it has both video and text messaging capability.
OS 10.8 is a natural evolution of Lion. The changes were predictable once Apple indicated they wanted the iOS and the OS user experiences to be similar. Power users can still function without giving up much capability.
Do you have a question about using your Mac? Send your question to Jerry: AskJWK@gmail.com.
An index of prior Mac 411 articles is available at tinyurl.com/Mac411Index2. Jerry King is president of the Naples MacFriends User Group (NMUG), founded to help Macintosh users get the most out of their computers. NMUG is open to area residents and seasonal visitors.