People queue outside an Apple store

Apple releases Mac OS X Mountain Lion

Apple has released its latest desktop operating system, the Mac OS X Mountain Lion.

The software is available as a download from the Mac App Store as an upgrade from Lion or Snow Leopard for £13.99.

Mountain Lion has 200 new features including iCloud integration, a new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration, Dictation, AirPlay Mirroring and Game Center.

“People are going to love the new features in Mountain Lion and how easy it is to download and install from the Mac App Store,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“With iCloud integration, Mountain Lion is even easier to set up, and your important information stays up to date across all your devices so you can keep editing documents, taking notes, creating reminders, and continue conversations whether you started on a Mac, iPhone or iPad.”

The new Messages app replaces iChat and brings iMessage to the Mac, so the user can send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or another Mac.

The Notification Center streamlines the presentation of notifications and provides easy access to alerts from Mail, Calendar, Messages, Reminders, system updates and third party apps.

System-wide Sharing makes it easy for users to share links, photos, videos and other files quickly without having to switch to another app, with acesss to third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo.

Facebook integration allows the user to post photos, links and comments with locations from their apps, automatically add Facebook friends to their Contacts, as well as update their Facebook status from Notification Center.

Dictation allows the user to dictate text anywhere they can type, whether they are using an app from Apple or a third party developer.

AirPlay Mirroring gives the user the ability to wirelessly send an up-to-1080p secure stream of what is on their Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV, or send audio to a receiver or speakers that use AirPlay.

Game Center brings the social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so the user can play live, multiplayer games with friends on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

iCloud integration allows easy set up of Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes, keeping everything including iWork documents up to date across all devices.

Other new features include Gatekeeper, which makes downloading software from the internet safer; Power Nap, which automatically updates apps and system while the Mac is asleep; and a faster Safari browser.

New features for China include significantly improved text input, a new Chinese Dictionary, easy setup with popular email providers, Baidu search in Safari, and built-in sharing to Sina Weibo and popular video websites Youku and Tudou.

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