You may not like felines, but if you use a Mac, you’d be very familiar with a number of big cats that have shared their names with Mac OS releases over the years. After Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion in the past few years, I got my paws on the brand new cat in town — Mountain Lion. Is this worth the very reasonable upgrade price, or does it still need work before you make the move? Here’s my take.
The Good… Initially, if you’re upgrading from Lion, there’s a good chance you’ll be initially underwhelmed by Mountain Lion, since there is very little difference to visually tell them apart—but remember that also means an almost flat learning curve for upgraders. But it’s fast — faster to boot and faster to load apps than the previous version (Lion). And with the Gatekeeper feature, Apple’s showing that it’s taking security more seriously by not allowing the installation of apps outside the Mac App Store (by default).
…the better… For a company that’s leading the charge with its mobile devices, the iOS-ificiation of the Mac was a long time coming, and with Mountain Lion, the two hitherto disparate platforms are now literally joined at the hip. Like the Reminders to-do app on the iPhone? Sync it with your iCloud account and with the new Reminders app on the Mac, you could dictate a whole to-do list while driving and have it ready on your Mac when you arrive. The Notes app is similar, letting you sync your notes on your iOS device and vice-versa. Plus you get the new Notifications functionality that, much like the phone notifications, provides instant updates on Calendar events, FaceTime, Mail, Messages, Safari, among others.
…and the could-do- better!... While iCloud is a great idea in theory, and it enables a lot of the behind the scenes syncing between your iOS devices and the Mac, it’s a little too behind-the-scenes for me, with no way to see all my cloud-based documents all at once. And while Twitter functionality is baked into the new OS, the Notification Center doesn’t alert you if someone replies to you on Twitter — a little inconsistent. The Messages app needs work as well. That said, Mountain Lion is a very competent consumer OS, and I can’t wait for upcoming updates that will add Facebook integration and further refine the few rough edges.
The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?) will polarise opinions like few others. It’s the homecoming party of a number of key industry trends, from unibody aluminium construction to solid-state storage to the much-vaunted Retina Display. Yes, the crowning feature of this laptop — its 2880x1800 pixel display — is as good as the hype machinery claims, and is better than any notebook display that has existed, bar none. It’s incredibly thin, and performance is blazing fast, though you pay a handsome price for this performance level. Bear in mind as well that few apps are ready for the Retina display, so once you’re done gaping at the display, every day apps won’t look that much better. No optical drive either. Do I recommend it? Only for few who have a LOT of cash lying around. Retina displays should go mainstream in the next 12 months — I’d recommend waiting.
Price: starting from Rs 1.52 lakh
If you’ve been on the Internet a while, there’s a good chance you have at least one Hotmail address. Well, say goodbye to the Hotmail brand and say hello to the Outlook.com experience. It’s fresh looking, borrowing visual cues from the Windows 8 look-and-feel. It bakes in social network integration, giving you access to your contacts from Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube and the like and getting updates from each network right within your Outlook.com account. You can now open, edit and share MS Office files right from within your browser itself. And it’s free! So what exactly are you waiting for? Go claim your name, now!