OS X Mountain Lion for Providers
OS X Mountain Lion [10.8], formally announced on February 16, 2012, is the eighth significant update to OS X, Apple's UNIX-based desktop operating system. It became available exclusively from the Mac App Store on July 25, 2012, continuing Apple's recent strategy of bypassing traditional distribution channels for operating systems.
Initially, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) will support OS X Mountain Lion for its clients, including off-campus students, only on new Macs that ship with Mountain Lion pre-installed. ISC strongly recommends that all other University users adopt a "wait and see" approach, continuing to use earlier supported versions of OS X (OS X Lion [10.7] and OS X Snow Leopard [10.6]) until the initial bugs in OS X Mountain Lion are identified and fixed.
Provider note: ISC will revisit this status in approximately one month.
Distribution & Purchasing
OS X Mountain Lion is available as an upgrade from OS X Snow Leopard and OS X Lion for approximately $20 from the Mac App Store. Apple's continued use of the Mac App Store as the primary distribution channel for OS X complicates how providers upgrade OS X computers at the University. The Mac App Store was released with the OS X 10.6.6 update and is only available on Macs with at least that version of Snow Leopard or Lion. Alternative purchasing paths exist for education and business customers, but these are applicable only to Apple Education Licensing Program (AELP) customers, which the University currently is not. Additionally, the scarcity of physical media complicates the OS re-installation process, requiring manual creation of operating system installation media from the Mountain Lion download.
Provider note: It is currently unclear how long Lion will be available for systems that cannot or will not be upgraded to Mountain Lion. ISC advises users with systems in this category to upgrade to Lion as soon as possible.
There are a number of known issues with OS X Mountain Lion, several of which are especially relevant to Penn's Mac users.
New Features in OS X Mountain Lion
OS X Mountain Lion is a moderate release with over 200 new features. Many of these features are based on similar or equivalent features from iOS. Below are some changes that may be of interest to the Penn community.
1) Notification Center
A significant feature which made its debut in iOS 5.0, Notification Center informs the user about new events: a new email, software update, calendar item, app message, etc. Notifications consistently appear in the same location and disappear to free desktop space. A drawer of all current notifications can be brought back at any time with a gesture.
2) Full iCloud Integration
OS X Mountain Lion is heavily integrated with iCloud, so mail, calendar items, reminders, photos, music and other data can be kept up to date. When a change is made on the Mac, that change can be sent to iOS devices such as an iPad or iPhone. An Apple ID is required to use iCloud.
The Dictation feature that made its debut with the third generation iPad is now available in OS X Mountain Lion. The built-in microphone on a Mac can convert speech to text. Dictation gets "smarter" the more it is used, learning voice characteristics and also recognizing names from contact lists.
Messages, which replaces iChat, can now send messages to anyone on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5 or above. Messages appear on the Mac and any compatible Apple device. Messages for OS X Mountain Lion shares most of the features of the iOS 5 Messages app, but retains the ability to connect to the University's Jabber service.
Reminders allows the user to create lists of events with due dates, and receive alerts near the event times. Since Reminders is integrated with iCloud, a location-based reminder can be set on a Mac, and received as a reminder later from a mobile iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad, when arriving at the destination.
Sharing of photos, videos, and other data with services such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo is simplified in Mail, Messages, AirDrop, and Safari.
Other features of note to LSPs:
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