Apple: OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion hits 3 million downloads

In just four days, Apple claims its latest operating system release -- OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion -- is its most successful OS X release to date.

Apple said today that its latest operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, has reached the 3 million downloads milestone, making it the most successful desktop release in the company's history.

In less than a week, including one weekend, Mountain Lion rocketed to the top of the Mac App Store charts and became the most popular software in its online marketplace. 

Costing only $19.99 in the U.S., with Twitter integration (Facebook integration comes later this year) and iCloud support, the operating system comes with a total of 200 brand new features . The release remains one of the many highly anticipated releases of the year out of the Cupertino-based technology giant. 

However, if you're clocking up 3 million multiplied by $19.99, no need. The Mac App Store allows users to download and install copies onto multiple machines. Many were able to download the software for free as those who bought a Mac in the last month received a free copy of the operating system.

Also see: ZDNet:  Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: What you need to know  |  Apple's Q3 earnings: The numbers to know  | CNET Mountain Lion review |  Apple's enterprise mojo: Education shines  |  Apple's Q3 disappoints; iPhone shipments light  | CNET: A miss: Apple sells 26 million iPhones in third quarter 

The release is resonant of the iPhone 4S launch, pushed out to the world last October, Apple sold more than four million smartphones in the first weekend alone; not limited to U.S. sales. 

While the launch came only a day before Apple's Q3 earnings, the c ompany failed to perform pushed along by a smartphone slowdown in anticipation of the upcoming iPhone 5, thought to be on store shelves by October in time for the holiday season sales rush.

Apple sold 4 million Macs in the third-quarter ending in June, along with 6.8 million iPods. It also sold 26 million iPhones, but fell short on analysts' expectations. Apple also sold 17 million iPads during the quarter, up from 84 percent a year before. 

Updated at 4:50 p.m. BST with correct Macs sold figure for Q4.