Review roundup: Apple's OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is a bargain at $20

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
With the launch of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on Wednesday, review embargoes were lifted, and tech pundits heaped praise on the value offered by Apple in its $19.99 operating system upgrade.

Mountain Lion is now available on the Mac App Store at that upgrade price for Snow Leopard and Lion users, while customers who have bought a new Mac since June 11 are eligible for a free upgrade. Initial reviews of Mountain Lion issued Wednesday were positive, welcoming new features from iOS at a relatively inexpensive price.

David Pogue of The New York Times

"Mountain Lion is a gentle, thoughtful upgrade," Pogue wrote. Though Apple boasts there are more than 200 features in Mountain Lion, he said not all of them are of value to most users.

However, Pogue assigned a dollar amount to features that he believes users actually will utilize, like AirPlay Mirroring, voice dictation, Power Nap and Notification Center. Assigning a value to those new features, while subtracting for some various issues, Pogue's "highly scientific accounting" found $46.90 worth of enhancements in Mountain Lion.

iCloud tab listings


One of the most valuable features in the eyes of Pogue is the new Share menu. He called it a "clever step-saver" that he believes users will turn to often for posting content to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Vimeo.

For Pogue, the biggest issue with Mountain Lion is a set of options to save documents that are "almost more confusing than before." Apple has returned the "Save As" and "Revert to Save" functions, though only a few programs incorporate this system.

Katherine Boehret of The Wall Street Journal

For Boehret, the most important changes in Mountain Lion are the new Messaging application, Notification Center, Dictation, and Facebook and Twitter integration. However, Facebook won't work this fall until a software update is issued.

Still, Boehret was "completely addicted" to the Share menus in Mountain Lion. Sharing options are available in Safari, the Notes application, or even individual photos that can be shared with friends.



She also had positive experiences with the new Power Nap and AirPlay Mirroring features, which she said work as advertised.

Things didn't go as smoothly with Notification Center, which doesn't allow tagging of friends in Facebook updates and doesn't automatically shorten URLs posted to Twitter. Boehret said the software also failed to alert her of dozens of @replies received from Twitter.

"For people who already use iPhones, iPads or iPod touches, many of the new features in Mountain Lion will feel like second nature," she said. "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."

Ed Baig of USA Today

The new features of Mountain Lion will look "awfully familiar" to iPhone and iPad users, Baig said, though they "should please the Mac faithful just the same." He found that the changes in Mountain Lion are worth the "modest" upgrade price, though one of his favorite features — Facebook integration —?isn't yet publicly available.

Baig was able to upgrade his 2010 MacBook Air to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in just 20 minutes. However, he noted that some older Macs may not be able to take advantage of new features. For example, his second-generation MacBook Air was not able to do AirPlay mirroring or Power Nap.

He found that Reminders, Notes, Messages and iCloud integration all worked as advertised by Apple. Game Center functionality remains limited, and Baig wasn't able to test competing against other players, as only a handful of Game Center-compatible games are currently available on the Mac.



As for dictation, Baig found it convenient to activate the feature by pressing the function key on the keyboard twice. He found that dictation was most reliable in quiet environments, getting it right "more times than not."

"Apple has committed to a roughly once-a-year upgrade path with OS X, so don't be surprised if next year, Mac software resembles iOS software that much more," he concluded. "In the meantime, Mountain Lion is one big cat that you'll want on your computer."

Other reviews

Other, mostly positive takes are available from Brian Heater of Engadget, Daring Fireball's John Gruber, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, John Siracusa of Ars Technica, Jason Snell of Macworld, Om Malik from GigaOm, and Jesus Diaz with Gizmodo.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,989member


    "But they didn't actually make any changes. It's just Lion with the applications and features that should have been in Lion from the start."


     


    "I hate the skeuomorphic designs."


     


    "Typical Apple users, paying for a service pack."


     


    I think that's everything.

  • Reply 2 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,182member
    "But they didn't actually make any changes. It's just Lion with the applications and features that should have been in Lion from the start."

    "I hate the skeuomorphic designs."

    "Typical Apple users, paying for a service pack."

    I think that's everything.

    Oh come on that's lame there are for more bad things to say than that... ! The new desktop image sucks, for example.
  • Reply 3 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

    Oh come on that's lame there are for more bad things to say than that... ! The new desktop image sucks, for example.


     


    Ah, right. "I hate the new Dock." "Notification Center was just stolen from Google." "10.8 still doesn't have [pointless feature that five people on the entire planet would ever use]; it's worthless."


     


    And how could I forget:


     


    "Apple is doomed.™"

  • Reply 4 of 70
    duoduo Posts: 26member


    Is anyone else that's eligible for the free upgrade having problems registering their machines?


     


    I'm stuck at the upload proof of purchase page. After selecting my file I see a blank thumbnail appear and no progress bar of any kind. Clicking continue does nothing.


     


    Has anyone successfully gotten past this step?


     


    Edit: Must be their site. Finally went through! 

  • Reply 5 of 70
    paulnpauln Posts: 1member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Duo View Post


    Is anyone else that's eligible for the free upgrade having problems registering their machines?


     


    I'm stuck at the upload proof of purchase page. After selecting my file I see a blank thumbnail appear and no progress bar of any kind. Clicking continue does nothing.


     


    Has anyone successfully gotten past this step?





    Just had lots of problems registering two new Macbook Airs (10 days old), first attempt could not get passed stage 2, second try completed and received email with pdf and the second email with unlock code, followed the instructions in the email went to the Mac App store and entered the download code only to get the message code had already been used. I have sent an email to app support about this an am awaiting reply in next 24 hours.


     


    I then set about registering the second Macbook Air, process went smoothly, claim reference appear on screen at the end of the process and then nothing, no email and unlock email, just no response from Apple.


     


    So after 2 hours still nothing, I am starting to feel I should have just paid the money.

  • Reply 6 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,182member
    pauln wrote: »

    Just had lots of problems registering two new Macbook Airs (10 days old), first attempt could not get passed stage 2, second try completed and received email with pdf and the second email with unlock code, followed the instructions in the email went to the Mac App store and entered the download code only to get the message code had already been used. I have sent an email to app support about this an am awaiting reply in next 24 hours.

    I then set about registering the second Macbook Air, process went smoothly, claim reference appear on screen at the end of the process and then nothing, no email and unlock email, just no response from Apple.

    So after 2 hours still nothing, I am starting to feel I should have just paid the money.

    Probably a good idea to wait a day or so, I have a suspicion Apple might be rather heavily trafficked today. / smile
  • Reply 7 of 70
    hubelhubel Posts: 5member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Pauln View Post




    Just had lots of problems registering two new Macbook Airs (10 days old), first attempt could not get passed stage 2, second try completed and received email with pdf and the second email with unlock code, followed the instructions in the email went to the Mac App store and entered the download code only to get the message code had already been used. I have sent an email to app support about this an am awaiting reply in next 24 hours.


     


    I then set about registering the second Macbook Air, process went smoothly, claim reference appear on screen at the end of the process and then nothing, no email and unlock email, just no response from Apple.


     


    So after 2 hours still nothing, I am starting to feel I should have just paid the money.



    I had the same problem with code as well. It said This code has already been used. Each code may only be used once.


     


    Maybe they sent the same code to everyone by mistake.

  • Reply 8 of 70
    applezillaapplezilla Posts: 941member


    Yes, but people will still whine.


     


    Maybe if Apple pays them $19.99 and Tim Cook personally shows up at their home to click the install button?


     


    Nah... They'd still whine.

  • Reply 9 of 70
    neilmneilm Posts: 525member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post


     


    Maybe if Apple pays them $19.99 and Tim Cook personally shows up at their home to click the install button?


     


    Nah... They'd still whine.



     


    Hell, the whiners would still whine if Steve Jobs showed up at their home!

  • Reply 10 of 70


    Anyone else annoyed by all the social media integration? Good thing when Leopard came out it didn't have MySpace integration...


     


    Update...just read the Gizmodo review:


     


    "The verdict is still the same: while usable and fast in the newest hardware, this version doesn't solve the clusterf*ck of interface concepts introduced in OS X 10.7 Lion."


     


    Yup. Spot on.

  • Reply 11 of 70
    twoseetwosee Posts: 58member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post


     


    Hell, the whiners would still whine if Steve Jobs showed up at their home!





    Not me! That would totally be cool if Steve Jobs showed up at my place and helped me install it!

  • Reply 12 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by twosee View Post

    That would totally be terrifying if Steve Jobs showed up at my place and helped me install it!


     


    Fixed, I think. 

  • Reply 13 of 70
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,163member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    "But they didn't actually make any changes. It's just Lion with the applications and features that should have been in Lion from the start."


     


    "I hate the skeuomorphic designs."


     


    "Typical Apple users, paying for a service pack."


     


    I think that's everything.



     


    You forgot 


    "Bring Back [fill in the blank with something that is gone]"

  • Reply 14 of 70
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,163member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Probably a good idea to wait a day or so, I have a suspicion Apple might be rather heavily trafficked today. / smile


     


    Yep. This stuff happens on the first day every time. It will happen next year with OS Liger, it will happen this fall with iOS 6. 

  • Reply 15 of 70
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,163member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Fixed, I think. 



     


    No, Steve Jobs showing up would be magical and amazing. Course it would just be the secret and lost prototype of the new iSteve (sell it to Gizmodo but be sure to get more than $5k cause the iSteve is worth it). 


     


    Steve Ballmer showing up now THAT would be terrifying. 

  • Reply 16 of 70
    drfreemandrfreeman Posts: 111member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post


    Anyone else annoyed by all the social media integration? Good thing when Leopard came out it didn't have MySpace integration...


     


    Update...just read the Gizmodo review:


     


    "The verdict is still the same: while usable and fast in the newest hardware, this version doesn't solve the clusterf*ck of interface concepts introduced in OS X 10.7 Lion."


     


    Yup. Spot on.



     


    Well, no one is forcing you to use it! Do not log into the social media part of notification centre and it wont be there! So no one will be upset about it I think!


     


    Second point: You are referring to Gizmodo... that sums it up for me!


     


    The only downside of this update is the Messages! It is currently a mess and will be like this until iOS6 comes out! The current issues with Messages will be addressed then.

  • Reply 17 of 70
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 496member


    ...new dock?

  • Reply 18 of 70
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DrFreeman View Post

    Well, no one is forcing you to use it! Do not log into the social media part of notification centre and it wont be there! So no one will be upset about it I think!


     


    Except it shows up elsewhere in the OS whether you've signed in or not.





    Second point: You are referring to Gizmodo... that sums it up for me!



     


    Couldn't be truer.






    The only downside of this update is the Messages! It is currently a mess and will be like this until iOS6 comes out! The current issues with Messages will be addressed then.



     


    What's wrong with it on your end?






    Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post

    ...new dock?



     


    Yes. The notification light has actually LOST visibility, which was impressive.

  • Reply 19 of 70
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,735member


    No ZFS.


     


    Quicken 4.0 won't install. 


     


    This is worthless.


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


     


    /s

  • Reply 20 of 70
    drfreemandrfreeman Posts: 111member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    "Except it shows up elsewhere in the OS whether you've signed in or not."


     


    "Couldn't be truer."


     


    "What's wrong with it on your end?"


     



     


    - I have not seen it anywhere in the user interface. It shows up in the preferences but it is not intrusive and if it is off, then no issues at all. Also the tab in Safari can be removed so if social media not your cup of tea then it wont cause problem for you, otherwise it is OK I think.


     


    - Could not agree with you even more (if it makes sense!)


     


    - The problem with Messages starts when you start using other services like Google chat with it. It sometimes unifies all chats with contacts but only carries the one from iMessages to iphone/other macs. I think with hindsight I should not have used the word "mess" but I think there is much room for improvement. Also it would be nice to allow us to respond within the notification centre or the balloon. 

Sign In or Register to comment.