Apple unleashes Mountain Lion

The new software includes close integration with Facebook and Twitter and is available to download from the Mac app store from Wednesday.

The OS X Mountain Lion release momentarily crashed Apple's app store, according to reports. 

The operating system introduces Apple's iCloud system, which allows users to wirelessly connect their emails, contacts and calendars across several computers, iPhones and iPads.

It also includes a new notification centre, which aims to gather all of a user's online social activity in one place. A new dictation feature enables users to dictate emails, documents and Facebook updates.

"People are going to love the new features in Mountain Lion and how easy it is to download and install from the Mac App Store," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

"With iCloud integration, Mountain Lion is even easier to set up, and your important information stays up to date across all your devices so you can keep editing documents, taking notes, creating reminders, and continue conversations whether you started on a Mac, iPhone or iPad."

The operating system – costing £13.99 of $19.999 – has so far been met with mainly positive reviews.

New York Times writer David Pogue described OS X Mountain Lion as "a gentle, thoughtful upgrade" and worth the retail price.

However, the technology writer Brian Heater, for Engadget, wrote that the software was "a fairly aggressive bid to fold the best of OSX and iOS into one product" and that "many of the latest new features feel a bit like iOS hand-me-downs". – © Guardian News and Media 2012 

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