Soft32 covered the recent release of Apple’s Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3 earlier this month (Review). Shortly after the review was completed, Apple released Developer Preview 4. What you’ll see here is the analysis that we’ve been able to do on the changes between the two prerelease states of the latest Mac operating system.
Since the release of Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4, Apple has also released an update to it, via its new update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Here, we’re going to look at the changes between Dev Preview 3 and Dev Preview 4, as well as the changes that Apple released in Dev Preview 4 Update.
Hardware and Software Requirements
Mountain Lion won’t run on every Mac. You’re going to need to have one of the following supported models in order to run Mountain Lion.
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
If you’re upgrading a supported Mac, you’re also going to need to be running a minimum of Snow Leopard 10.6.8. In some cases, you may need to purchase a Snow Leopard upgrade for $29.99, if you don’t already have it, before you upgrade to Mountain Lion at $19.99. Users running Leopard and have a MobileMe account need to upgrade to Snow Leopard in order to move to iCloud. Those users can get a Snow Leopard DVD for free, saving you the original $30 bucks.
Mac App Store
Apple is doing away with Software Update and relying on the Mac App Store to present appropriate OS updates to end users in Mountain Lion. Apple recently tested this new update process by offering a number of Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4 updates through the Mac App Store. Like in Software Update, you can choose which components to install and which ones to ignore. Its not an all or nothing deal. The components also come with release notes that allow you to click on them to display all of the notes for that specific update.
iOS 6 is due to be released in the Fall with iPhone 5, or whatever they end up calling the new Apple smartphone. One of the big updates to Reminders in iOS 6 is Geofencing, or the ability to trigger system events after you cross a geographical location.
In Mountain Lion, Reminders allows you to create a task or to-do list, to set the date and time you want the reminders to go off. You get the the ability to push them to all of your iDevices. Having Reminders on your Mac also means you get the ability to search through and view them on your calendar.
The one feature that Reminders doesn’t do on your Mac is provide full geofencing support. Laptops don’t have built in GPS receivers, so reminders on the desktop aren’t triggered via a geofence line.
Mountain Lion is more complete in Developer Preview 4. The big change comes at the start of the OS, where you’re asked to provide your AppleID and password for the iCloud Preference pane so it can log you in and/or create your iCloud account.
Mountain Lion is not a revolution set of changes for desktop Mac users. Like its iOS mobile operating system, Apple is content to introduce carefully engineered and designed evolutionary change. This is a repeat of the same behavior Apple introduced with its Leopard to Snow Leopard based upgrade path. They didn’t introduce any further radical changes until they changed “cat families” with the introduction of Lion in July of 2011. However, this wasn’t too radical of a change, either.
While this desktop evolution doesn’t provide for huge innovative strides, it does insure that the current user base is smoothly able to nurture and navigate their usage habits through the changes Apple has made. As such, Apple maintains their, “it just works,” user perception. As they are making a push for the enterprise, this is a huge gain.
In contrast, Microsoft’s upgrade to Windows Vista from Windows XP in 2007 created a huge amount of panic in the enterprise, as users couldn’t understand the logic or reasoning behind the UI changes. With Mountain Lion, those users migrating from Lion won’t have too much trouble making the switch.