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OS X Mountain Lion release date, price plus new features

OS X Mountain Lion
Mountain Lion provides a more iOS-like experience

Apple demonstrated a bunch of "new" features in OS X Mountain Lion today at WWDC 2012, but many weren't that much of a surprise given what Apple has previously shown of OS X 10.8.

We have learnt the OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion release date is July. It'll be available via the Mac App Store for $20.

The company's head of software engineering Craig Federighi was keen to point out that the new OS would have 200 new features but talked about several key ones we already knew about; this wasn't that big a reveal for the new version of OS X and so, from a Mac perspective, the OS was overshadowed by the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

There will be system-wide sharing to various services including Flickr and Vimeo, Facebook integration and Dictation plus Power Nap and Game Center.

Dictation enables you to dictate text anywhere you can type, while Power Nap, keeps the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air (second and third generation) up-to-date while it sleeps. Power Nap automatically refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud, and when plugged in, downloads software updates and backs up your Mac using Time Machine.

In essence, the new Mac OS focuses more on iOS-style design as we saw back in February. We know there will be the ability to mirror your Mac's screen via an Apple TV device - naturally this leads us to believe the Apple iTV isn't far around the corner.

Many aspects are clearly inspired by Apple's mobile OS and, as we knew before, the Mac now gets iOS-style extras such as Notes and Reminders. iChat will also be replaced - OS X will get the Messages app so you can send text messages to other iDevices. There will also be a Notification Center - you can, however, choose to temporarily suspend all notifications when you want to work or watch a movie. Facebook and Twitter are integrated with Notification Center.

You can include attachments, photos and HD video, and iMessages appear on all devices. iMessage also includes group messaging, delivery and read receipts, typing indicators and secure end-to-end encryption. There's also support for AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and Jabber.

Now that iCloud has reached a certain level of maturity, developers will be able to include iCloud capabilities within their Mac App Store app. We were shown how you'll be able to browse through documents on iCloud and naturally new documents will appear on all your Apple devices. iWork on OS X will also work totally with iCloud.

Safari is also getting an overhaul - tab syncing between your devices via iCloud devices is finally with us, while there are also more multitouch gestures.

OS X Mountain Lion will also include Gatekeeper - this means you can choose to only install apps that have been approved by Apple (via a developer approval programme) or you can only install apps from the App Store. While this will undoubtedly cut down on security threats, it also narrows the availability of software outside the Mac App Store.