(CBS) - Mac OS X Lion, Apple's eight major operating system upgrade, is now available for download from the Mac App Store. (And if you have a really slow connection, come August, you can pick up a flash drive from an Apple store for $69.99.)
It's got more than 250 new features, including major changes in its interface that make certain actions easier. Add to the list: FaceTime video chatting, AirDrop wireless transfer, multi-touch gesture and autosave.
It'll set you back $29.99, so before you fork over the money, let's see what tech reviewers have to say about the upgrade.
It is worth the price
"This release of Mac OS X seems to be a reflection of Apple's successes in those categories," says CNET's Jason Parker. "The upgrade adds plenty to make it worthwhile for most Mac users, but those who do not have Snow Leopard will need to pay for that upgrade as well. Lion can only be downloaded via the Mac App Store, which was introduced with Snow Leopard."
It's awesome for those open to change
"The past two major computer operating system releases, Windows 7 and Snow Leopard, were incremental. Lion is very different," says Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg. "It's a big leap, and gives the Mac a much more modern look and feel for a world of tablets and smartphones. If you are willing to adjust, it's the best computer operating system out there."
It's fluid and satisfying
"Swiping sideways with three fingers takes you from one full-screen app to the next, animated as though someone's dealing full-screen cards. Launchpad would be a better fit for technophobes if it were always there waiting, and not a program you have to open manually every time; but otherwise, the Lion makeover is fluid and satisfying," explains David Pogue of New York Times.
"The Lion upgrade, in other words, is classic Apple: innovative to some, gimmicky to others, big leaps forward, a few stumbles back," Pogue adds.
You'll get used to it
"As someone who has fully embraced the concept of scrolling via two fingers on a trackpad, I like this approach. I didn't use that scroll bar space and generally don't need to see it," Techworld's Jason Snell points out. "But as with so many of the changes Apple is making in Lion, the company gives users who like the old way an out. In the General pane of the System Preferences app, there's an option to always show scroll bars."
But Snell warns to proceed with caution. "If you are someone who wants to try out the cool new features of Lion today, by all means take the plunge. But back up your drive first, in case you need to fall back to Snow Leopard," he says. "And on systems where you do critical and time-sensitive work, you might be best advised to wait a little while until the developers of your most vital apps certify that they're good to go with Lion. No new system release is without its quirks."