Apple has officially announced a July release date and a UK price of £13.99 for Mac OS X Mountain Lion, the follow-up to the Lion version of its operating system.
One of the main new features announced is Mountain Lion’s new version of the Safari browser. It will follow the lead of other browsers, such as Chrome, by using an ‘omnibar’ where you can type search terms into the URL space, so it’ll realise that anything that’s not a web address may be a web search instead.
It will also use iCloud to sync open tabs from one device to another, most likely from desktop to laptop/iPad/iPhone or vice versa.
A new file interface will show cloud-based content as well as locally stored documents.
Elsewhere, there’s a new dictation feature. Any text area that can be typed into can alternatively be spoken to. Again, this brings a little of the iOS feel to OS X. More examples of that trend are the inclusion of iMessage and the Notification Center in Mountain Lion.
Recent MacBook Air notebooks that update to Mountain Lion will be able to use a ‘Power Nap’ feature that keeps the Mac up to date while it sleeps. It fetches email, refreshes the photo stream, checks for system and App Store updates while asleep, as well as regular back ups if you have an external hard disk attached.
There is also a deeper integration for Twitter and Facebook, with share buttons for both social networks (plus Flickr and Vimeo) and a universal login support for Twitter.
AirPlay Mirroring is a tool to mirror the Mac’s display in 1080p resolution to any connected TV, projector or the Apple TV box.
Lastly, Game Center is being released for OS X in Mountain Lion, enabling interplay between iOS and Mac devices.
The upgrade will be available from the Mac App Store in July. It’s worth noting the price is £7 cheaper than Lion, and anyone buying a new Mac between now and Mountain Lion’s release will get a free upgrade.
More info: Apple