Apple released its OS Mountain Lion four days ago, and downloads from the App Store have already exceeded 3 million, making it Apples most successful release ever, the company announced July 30.
Available as a $20 upgrade for machines currently running OS Lion or Snow Leopard, Apple calls Mountain Lion the worlds most advanced desktop operating system. With more than 200 new features, its also said to make Macs, iPads and iPhones work together more seamlessly.
Mountain Lion simplifies the setup of iCloud; includes Facebook integration, AirPlay Mirroring, new Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes apps; is more customizable; and has more sharing services, as well as Dictation features that work with every app, right out of the box. Many of its new features also make it more amenable for office use by small businesses.
In addition to new Braille options, there are also more features for users in Chinanow the worlds largest market for PCs and smartphones, and Apples second-largest market after the United States. Mountain Lion makes it easier to type Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters, features a Chinese dictionary, and makes it easier to type, and catch typos in, Pinyin, the way of writing Chinese using the Roman alphabet. (When a user inputs new Pinyin words into the user dictionary, iCloud updates the dictionary across all of a users devices.)
Analytics and advertising firm Chitika noted the fast user adoption right away, blogging on July 27 that the percentage of Macs running Mountain Lion was at 3.2 percent after just two days.
It is rather impressive for an operating system to capture 3.2 percent of market Web usage after just 48 hours on the market, the firm blogged. Such figures are likely supported by a relatively low price point for the operating system, as well as an expansive list of desired feature improvements.
With Mountain Lion, Apple has also moved the desktops aesthetic and user experience closer to that of the mobile experience on the iPad and iPhonejust as Microsoft has done with Windows 8. Microsofts new desktop OS, which will also be run by laptops and tablets, features the tiled, touch-optimized start screen of its Windows Phone 8 mobile OS. It represents a major refresh for Microsoftand is arguably a refreshing modernizationso much so that users will also have the option of switching to a more classic (i.e., old-fashioned) version.
While sales of OS-running devices are on the rise, even as the overall PC market flattens, Microsofts core software makes it onto a considerable number of Apple devices; its the rare MacBook user who can do without Word or Excel.
A recent ad placed by Microsoft suggests the company is looking to extend its footprint to Apples iPad. While readying its own Surface tablet (and accessories), Microsoft has placed an ad looking for someone to join its software development team and work on the design, implementation and testing of new feature work to be part of Microsofts next move on the Mac and on iOS.