Cue the fanfare. Apple released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion at long last, after more than a year in development. First announced in February, third-party application developers have spent months preparing for the release.
Despite the release dubbed as a minor upgrade to the older 10.7 "Lion," Apple has included a number of new features to revitalize Mac sales ahead of Microsoft's Windows 8 launch later this year.
With greater iCloud integration, Messages, and social sharing, along with a brand new Notification Center, Apple continues the "iOS-ification" of its desktop operating system to bring it closer in line with its mobile cousins.
Mountain Lion is now available in the Mac App Store for $19.99 in the U.S., £13.99 in the U.K., €15.99 in Europe and AU$20.99 in Australia. Most modern Macs, MacBooks, and Mac minis will be able to download the operating system, and those who bought new Apple hardware in the past month will receive a free upgrade.
Here's a roundup of what you need to know, from ZDNet and sister-site CNET:
Larry Dignan: It's not immediately clear what Apple's Mac OS speedy cadence and feature unification with iOS will mean for business users.
Also see: ZDNet: Apple's Q3 disappoints; iPhone shipments light | Apple's Q3 earnings: The numbers to know | Apple's enterprise mojo: Education shines | Apple should worry about Mac sales, not the iPhone or iPad | CNET: A miss: Apple sells 26 million iPhones in third quarter | Apple sells record 17 million iPads in latest quarter
Rachel King: As a MacBook Pro owner who upgraded to "Lion" last July, I'm not interested in Mountain Lion. Here's why.
ZDNet: A look-through at what you can expect to see in Apple's next-generation operating system, featuring 35 slides of screenshots, features, and changes to the Mac-based software.
CNET: Apple has embarked on an ambitious plan to release a major OS X upgrade every year. What's it mean, and why? And what's missing from Mountain Lion, the upcoming update to the Mac OS?
CNET: At WWDC this year, Apple announced updates to its operating systems, iOS6 and Mountain Lion, as well as its new lineup of hardware.
CNET: In addition to bringing many iOS features to the Mac, the latest version of OS X -- Mountain Lion -- further unifies the user experience while adding new security protection.
CBS News: Rejoice Macheads! Apple's new operating system Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is almost here.
CNET: Apple's next OS is due out in July, but when it comes time to upgrade will you be prepared?
Zack Whittaker: Apple has ditched the traditional 'Software Update' utility in favour of bringing fixes, changes, and updates to the Mac App Store instead.
CNET: Apple's enhanced software updating routine has its benefits and drawbacks.
Dancho Danchev: The latest update to the Mountain Lion Developer Preview, includes the OS X Security Update Test 1.0 feature which silently downloads and installs the latest security updates.
Emil Protalinski: Apple is once again choosing to integrate Twitter into one of its operating systems. Facebook does not get a mention in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Does this mean it won't make it into iOS either?
CNET: OS X users of Lion and Snow Leopard can update to Mountain Lion for $19.99 when the new OS ships in July.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Ecosystem is only part of the equation.
Jason D. O'Grady: Mountain Lion (developer preview 1) is actually a pretty compelling release, but it's still a developer preview -- meaning it has some nasty bugs -- as I learned this weekend.
CNET: Apple had a plan for what it wanted to show off in Mountain Lion when it came out last week, but what about smaller changes and tweaks to the operating system?
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Gatekeeper is really little more than a tool that restricts what the user can run, rather than a security tool that sorts the wheat from the toxic chaff.
Jason D. O'Grady: Anything's possible, of course, but there's cause for concern for anyone waiting for a version of iBooks for OS X.
Zack Whittaker: A startling reminder that the world is not on the desk anymore, or on our laps. It's in the palm of our hands, or resting in our pockets ready to be beckoned at our every whim.
CNET: Don't have the patience to watch nearly two hours of Apple's keynote from WWDC 2012? CNET's got you covered with the highlights.