OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion came out this week. Here’s what the top reviewers are saying.
John Siracusa at Ars Technica does a thorough review of every new operating system, and this Mountain Lion review is no exception. Yes it is a 24-page review. Highlights:
Technology must now work for everyone, not just “computing enthusiasts. But let’s not forget that this is actually a victory condition: the computer for the rest of us, now realized on a much larger scale. This new thing that the Mac is becoming, its outlines slowly coming into focus in Mountain Lion, is meant to allow people who were previously intimidated by the Mac to use it to accomplish more than they could with a touch-based platform like iOS, but with similar ease.
…The biggest threat to Apple’s success is not the company with the most innovative devices and OS (arguably, still Microsoft); it’s the one with the most powerful, successful suite of online services—Google.
In this context, the Mac’s continued independence of character seems even more assured. Apple’s online platform is the unifying force in its product line, not any one OS. Think of Mountain Lion as the best desktop iCloud client Apple knows how to make.
David Pogue, at the New York Times writes the following:
[Macs, iPhones, and iPads] sync with other Apple machines wirelessly, courtesy of Apple’s free, increasingly sophisticated iCloud service. The new apps join Mail, Calendar (formerly called iCal) and Contacts (formerly Address Book), which already sync with your iGadgets….It’s all useful and a bit magical — if you own more than one Apple device. Clearly, the company wants to keep you a happy prisoner inside its beautiful walled garden.
Not everything is a step forward, however. Apple has tried to refine last-year’s baffling AutoSave feature. It has restored the “Save As” and “Revert to Save” functions; alas, the result is almost more confusing than before. Worse, only a few programs incorporate this system — so you’re stuck with having to learn two ways to save files.
Mountain Lion is a gentle, thoughtful upgrade. All 200 new features? No, not really. But 10 that you’ll use every day? For $20? Yes.
Katherine Boehret of the Wall Street Journal and All Things D:
It introduces new functions and it mirrors several helpful features first found in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, such as seamless sharing with third-party networks, iCloud integration and dictation. But I ran into some trouble with Twitter notifications and Calendar.
If you don’t own other Apple devices or don’t use iCloud, Mountain Lion won’t make quite as much of an impact on you.
For people who already use iPhones, iPads or iPod touches, many of the new features in Mountain Lion will feel like second nature. I can’t completely rely on Notification Center just yet, but this operating system’s focus on smart sharing and overall integration with social networks makes it a pleasure to use.
Chris Taylor at Mashable:
Mountain Lion is a more mature kind of cat, one that delivers on nearly all of its predecessor’s promise. If you own an iPhone, an iPad or both, you’re going to love how much more connected all your devices are. If you’re a frequent tweeter, this is pretty much Twitter OS.
It doesn’t quite live up to all of Apple’s pre-launch hype, however. The integration of iCloud isn’t as intuitive as we would like. Using Messages, which is iChat combined with iMessages on the iPhone, can be an exercise in frustration; that should be smoothed out once Apple launches iOS 6 in the fall.
Even though Facebook integration won’t be ready until the fall, and Messages won’t truly be ready for prime time until then, we see no reason why Mac owners should delay. It’s well worth the price of a few lattes. There’s a whole bunch of stuff it’s downloading for you even when your machine is asleep (a feature Apple calls Power Nap.)
Mac OS and the iOS are now joined at the hip in a dozen meaningful ways (such as Games Center, which will now lets a Mac owner play an opponent on the iPad, for example.) We can’t wait to see what their marriage produces next.