Review Roundup: OS X Mountain Lion

Now that Apple has released OS X Mountain Lion, we’re seeing a flurry of reviews of Apple’s next generation operating system for Mac.

Here’s what some of our favorite bloggers have to say about it:

John Gruber of Daring Fireball:

we’ve got Mountain Lion, and it brings the upgrade cost ever lower to $19.99. That’s great. It encourages users to get on board with the latest and greatest, and I expect the result of this pricing (and the ease of doing so through the App Store) will result in a record-breaking (which is to say, faster than Lion) adoption rate.

But what exactly do users get for their twenty bucks? In short: a nicer, more polished version of Lion. There’s definitely new stuff: iCloud document storage (more on that in a bit), Messages (which is more than just a renamed version of iChat — it supports iMessage), Notification Center (which I really like on the Mac; it’s perhaps the feature I’ve missed the most over the last few months testing the Mountain Lion betas when going back to my main machine running Lion). More back-to-the-Mac stuff from iOS, like standalone apps for Notes and Reminders, and convenient system-wide “share sheets” for sending content via email or messages and to websites like Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo, and soon, Facebook. (Facebook integration is not included in OS X 10.8; Apple says it will come in a software update “this fall”.) AirPlay Mirroring is a gem of a feature — a shining example of Apple’s “all our stuff works together seamlessly” philosophy. The new voice dictation feature is accurate, simple, and convenient — a huge accessibility win for anyone who has trouble typing.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop:

There will be tens of thousands of words published on Wednesday when Mountain Lion hits the Mac App Store, but let’s face it, what you really want to know is whether Mountain Lion is worth the upgrade. Let’s get that out of the way now — yes, it is definitely worth it.

Mountain Lion costs $19.99 and comes with more than 200 new features — that’s a bargain at twice the price.

MG Siegler of TechCrunch:

It must be said that Mountain Lion isn’t really all that different from Lion — hence, the variation of the name (even though mountain lions are technically cougars — insert joke here). But unlike the jump from Leopard to Snow Leopard, which focused on performance and tightening code rather than features, the jump from Lion to Mountain Lion does pack some new goodies. [..]

[..] Overall, Mountain Lion feels like the most natural step yet towards the convergence of iOS and OS X. While Apple says there are now over 66 million OS X users, Apple sold nearly 50 million iOS devices just last quarter. It’s clear that OS X has to continue to creep closer to iOS simply because that’s what far more people know now. [..]

[..] In a time when Microsoft is just about to upend their entire OS with their biggest change (and bet) yet in Windows 8, Apple has taken a much more refined approach. Perhaps they take some criticism for this, or perhaps they’re just being savvy. OS X remains a great OS. And sprinkled with some of the best elements of iOS, it still feels pretty fresh. Not bad for an eleven-year-old big cat.

Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo:

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. It’s just adds some nice stuff—like a convenient Notification Center lifted from iOS or better Cloud integration—while keeping all its many sins.

If Apple doesn’t want Microsoft to steal their innovation crown with Windows 8 Metro, they urgently need a new vision that breaks with this unholy mix of obsolete 1980s user interface heritage and iOS full screen skeumorphism.

It feels like Apple has run out of ideas. Or worse, that Apple is too afraid to implement new concepts, fearing it will kill the company’s golden goose. Too afraid to change the world once again, as Steve Jobs used to say, one desktop at a time.

Jason Snell of Macworld:

All told, I found Mountain Lion to be a stable, solid release. Even prerelease builds were far more stable than I’ve come to expect from OS X betas, leading me to wonder if Apple’s new annual schedule is leading to more careful incremental updates (with fewer bugs) rather than great leaps (with more, nastier bugs).

Traditionally at the end of an operating-system review, you’d expect a discussion of whether the upgrade is really worth the money. But at $20 (and that’s a one-time purchase that can be used on every Mac you own), the money isn’t the issue. Do you have an iPhone or iPad that you’re going to be upgrading to iOS 6 this fall? Or are you going to buy Apple’s next iPhone when it comes out? Do you want to have access to the latest features Apple is rolling out across its entire product line? If so, your answer is a definitive yes.

Mountain Lion is the next step after Lion. It’s Apple’s current state of the art. If you’re running Lion (or even if you’re a holdout running Snow Leopard), I recommend hopping on board.

You can check out Snell’s video review below:

Now that you’ve read the reviews. What do you plan to do? Do you plan to upgrade to Mountain Lion? Let us know in the comments.