In this article, you will learn the OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion upgrade process, my first impression about it, also the Mountain Lion features and my thoughts.
I downloaded and installed OS X Mountain Lion the same day it released. The USD$20 upgrade is a no brainer for Apple loyal users like myself.
However, some users are hesitate to purchase the latest OS X. Some worry about the installation failure. Some worry about incompatible hardware and software. Some worry that the new OS X is not worth $20.
After using Mountain Lion for days, here’s my first impression about the new OS X and you decide it worth your money or not.
Mountain Lion upgrade
Depends on your Internet connection speed, you may take few hours to download the 4GB Mountain Lion installer.
The installer auto launch after download completed. It took few minutes to copy files to your Mac. Then, it will restart and start installing Mountain Lion, which took about an hour.
The installer auto restart again and boot into Mountain Lion. Any incompatible apps will be moved to Incompatible Software outside your user folder.
Done! You have Mountain Lion installed! It is simple and easy!
The most noticeable change is the new Dock design. Performance wise, I didn’t notice much different on my old iMac.
Except the few old apps that’s incompatible with Mountain Lion, all my apps are running smooth.
Mountain Lion assigns 3 fingers tap as Quick View and Dictionary shortcut. It is handy but breaks my custom 3 fingers tap as middle mouse button click shortcut for Chrome. I have to disable the Mountain Lion gesture.
While previous OS X versions get their cat wallpapers (Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion), OS X 10.8 get Zebra wallpapers, instead of Mountain Lion. That’s weird.
Mountain Lion features
Apple says that there’s over 200 new features in Mountain Lion. The following are the feature highlights and my thoughts about them.
Mountain Lion has better integration with iCloud, the Apple’s cloud storage. With iCloud, you can sync files among your iDevices and Mac.
Personally, I seldom use iCloud for my files. I use [Dropbox](http://db.tt/zxEt3gH “sign up via my referral link to get extra 500MB free space”). It is easier and more open.
Reminders and Notes
Reminders and Notes are iOS apps ported to OS X. I don’t use them on iOS. With OS X and iCloud, now I might use Notes to sync simple text among my iDevices and Mac. Reminders app has limited feature. I don’t use it at all. I use other ToDo apps that sync using iCloud, such as Due (App Store link).
Messages with iMessage
Messages on OS X allows you to send message as well as attach photos, videos, contacts and files to iOS users with iMessage.
Though I am a long time Apple and iPhone user, but I seldom use iMessage because not all my friends are using supported device. And, why do I need to have Messages on desktop while I have my iPhone beside me all-the-time?
By the way, you can use iMessage to send file attachment to yourself on OS X desktop without using email. That could be useful.
Notification Center is another feature ported from iOS to Mountain Lion. It is one stop for all apps notifications.
You can also tweet and update facebook status (coming soon) from Notification Center.
While I like the feature but I would like more options to customize it. Notification Center is now fixed at the right hand side. I would like it (as well as popup) to move to left hand side of my second monitor.
For gamers. With the Game Center app, you can play games against anyone on a Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
Multiplayer game is cool but currently there are limited games that support multiplayer game for both iOS and Mac.
Safari 6.0 is the latest web browser version by Apple. It is faster than previous versions. It features a Chrome-like omnibox input for search and web addresses. New Safari supports OS X gestures such as pinch and swipe. With iCloud Tabs, the web pages you open on iPhone or iPad (iOS 6) will be available on Mac, too.
I am loyal Google Chrome user. I tried Safari 6.0 for hours. It is fast but has memory leak problem. It used up 2GB out of 4GB RAM available on my iMac.
Now you can talk to your Mac and make it type for you. Sound cool, right? It didn’t work for me… Like iPhone’s Siri, OS X Dictation does not understand my accent. Too bad.
I still have to type this article using keyboard, instead of talking to my Mac
New features for China
Good news for China and Chinese users. Mountain Lion included many popular Chinese features and services. Now it includes the Standard Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese in Dictionary app. 8 new Chinese fonts. Mail support for QQ, 163, 126. Safari includes Baidu search. Post videos to Youku, Tudou. Post to Sina Weibo microblogging service.
I don’t use those services at all. Instead, I wish Apple release a better Chinese PinYin Input Method for OS X.
Cool features not for all Macs…
1. Power Nap — For Mac notebook with build-in flash storage only.
Allows your Mac computer to auto updates Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac, and Documents in the Cloud while sleeping. Auto download software updates and make Time Machine backup if connected to power source.
2. AirPlay — This is a cool feature that allows you to mirror your Mac screen to HDTV via Apple TV. But, it only supports by Mac computer 2011 or newer. Bad news for old Macs.
Mountain Lion does not have many features that make us “WOW”. You are not missing many features for not upgrade to Mountain Lion. Most improvements are in the backend, which users do not notice.
If you have better use for USD$20 then hold your Mountain Lion upgrade. Else, goto Apple store now and buy the new cat!