Apple's OS X Mountain Lion launches, should you upgrade?

People walk by a poster for the new OSX Mountain Lion operating system at the Apple's World Wide Developers Conference on June 11, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
(CBS News) Apple officially launched its newest Macintosh operating system Mountain Lion, OS X 10.8, on Wednesday.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion retails for $19.99 at the App Store. And while the price is right, it may not be the best choice for everyone.

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First, you should check to see if your computer is compatible with Mountain Lion. Several MacBook models dated before 2008 are not supported devices. There is also the possibility that your computer is still running Leopard. The upgrade is available for computers running Snow Leopard - OS X 10.6.8 - or later. This may be obvious, but if your computer is not supported, it's best not to upgrade.

Some may hold out because they don't need the deep integration with the mobile operating system iOS or are not using the cloud storage service iCloud. Mountain Lion's addition of iOS apps like Game Center, iMessage and Reminders makes experiencing the Apple ecosystem seamless. But if you don't own an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, those features may not be "must-haves."

Most people who are active Mac users will probably want to upgrade, however. Aside from over 200 new features, keeping your operating system updated will ensure that future software you install will be compatible. Apple added some buzz-worthy features like Facebook integration, AirPlay mirroring and iOS apps.

With Facebook integration, Mac users will be able to share anything they want to several services, including Facebook, using a feature called Share Sheet. Apple's Share Sheet is a pop-up menu that lets users share photos, files or text to services, like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. This feature will not be available until the fall, suggesting that Facebook will launch simultaneously with Apple's mobile operating system iOS 6.

AirPlay mirroring is another feature that has gotten a lot of attention. Now Mac users can watch videos in 1080p on their high-definition televisions over Wi-Fi, using Apple TV or iTunes.

The addition of iOS apps to the Mac OS is a huge vote of confidence in the future of mobile computing. Features like iMessage, Reminders and Game Center will sync nicely through all devices. And with iCloud enabled, photos and videos will also sync across Macs, iPhones and iPads.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion is available now at the Apple App Store.

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