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Apple Mac OS X Mountain Lion review

Apple has tweaked the interface added core iOS features such as Notifications, revamped Safari and bolstered security features, all for £14.

Notifications

If you use all of Apple's built-in applications, such as Reminders (yes, Mountain Lion has the iOS 5-style Reminders application too). Messages, iCal, Mail and Facetime, it's a fantastic addition to keep you up to date with everything, whether you're working in an app, browsing your desktop or on a Skype call.

Pop ups will appear when you receive new mail or there's a notification for you to take care of. You can also access the notifications bar by clicking on the icon in the top right hand corner toolbar. Click on an individual notification, and that app will open.

Apple Mac OS X Mountain Lion - Notifications

If you don't want to be disturbed, you can turn the notifications off with a toggle switch. They will automatically turn back on 24 hours later just in case you forget to reinstate them.

We've been using Growl for the past year and it doesn't seem to do a whole lot more than that, but having a built-in feature is not something to be growled at.

The notifications bar looks identical to the one in iOS, with the hatched backdrop, so it will feel familiar (if a little 70s) to iPhone and iPad users.

Dictation

The speech is supposed to be translated instantly, but we found this feature to be unimpressive. After hearing the double dings, we spoke, pressed done and nothing happened. After five attempts, we gave up.

We have read you're only limited to a couple of sentences per dictation, which limits the uses of the function severely.

Overall

With the exception of Messages, Gatekeeper and Notifications, none of the updates make the device more suited to businesses. Messages is useful if your business deploys iOS device and Gatekeeper is handy if your company has an open installation policy as it limits the damage that can be done by untrusted applications. Notifications are great if you don't already use Growl.

We were disappointed to see dictation didn't work, as this could prove particularly useful if you use a MacBook and want to take notes. Downloading and installing the software is also a tedious process, but thankfully it is only needed once a year.

IT Pro verdict

Verdict

Mac OS X Mountain Lion brings more than 200 new features to the table. Apple has done a good job of porting over core iOS features such as Notifications.

However, the majority of the changes are hidden, we didn't notice any boost in performance and Dictation was disappointing. We felt Mountain Lion makes things look a more like iOS, but £13.99, it is still worth the upgrade.

OS X v10.6.8 or later

2GB of memory

8GB of available space

Compatible models:

Mac (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)

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