Apple released the most recent version of it’s Mac operating software today, OSX 10.8, aka Mountain Lion. Most will ask the question - should I upgrade? And in short, the answer is a resounding YES. For just $19.99, Mountain Lion brings upgraded iCloud integration, built-in social media sharing functionality, and Airplay Mirroring (wireless screen sharing to Airplay devices), amongst other updates.
The large number of Mac users who also sport iPhones and iPads will love the update, as OSX now receives Messages, Notes, Reminders, and the Notification Center just as their iOS devices do. I have to admit, scribbling notes on your iPhone and having them instantly available on your Mac is a welcomed update that seems long overdue. The rest of the iCloud integration is improved as well, providing users the more integrated experience Apple has been angling for since OSX 10.7 Lion was released.
Mountain Lion also features integrated social media sharing - the ability to share to multiple networks directly from most integrated apps. The one flub here by Apple is that Facebook integration (the world’s largest and most-used social network) is not available in the launch version, and will be added as an update in the fall. That’s a pretty massive omission, and one that will dull the experience and slow adoption of use.
For me, the best new feature of OSX 10.8 is Airplay Mirroring - the ability to wirelessly share your Mac screen with any external Airplay Device. Most notably, if you have a 2nd generation AppleTV connected to your TV, you can instantaneously push your screen to your TV, all without wires and HDMI adaptors that were previously required to achieve the same effect. There is a very small bit of lag, but I found it more than adequate for most functions, including watching 1080p HD movies. Just grab a move online, and instantly watch it in full HD and surround sound through your home theater system - awesome.
Some initial reviews around the web of Mountain Lion refer to it as a non-decisive middle ground between a desktop and mobile OS, and others question whether where it will stand with the upcoming fully-redesigned Windows 8 on the horizon. To me - if you’ve been using Leopard, Snow Leopard, or Lion - you’re comfortable in the OSX atmosphere, and Mountain Lion is a worthy upgrade that adds speed and integration, and for just $19.99. While the upcoming Windows 8 may be completely rebuilt for touch-screen devices and pretty slick, remember that even the most basic version of Windows 7 cost $119, and Windows 8 is likely to carry similar pricing. So in terms of value, Mountain Lion is definitely a solid OS upgrade.