OS X Mountain Lion to launch Wednesday, Apple says

Upgrade goes on sale tomorrow for $19.99

Apple will launch its Mountain Lion operating system tomorrow, the company's chief financial officer said Tuesday.

Speculation had centered on July 25 as the likely launch data for OS X 10.8, known as Mountain Lion, based on Apple's actions last year, when it debuted the predecessor, OS X Lion, the day after the company's second-quarter earnings call.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, announced the release date during the early minutes of that earnings call with Wall Street analysts Tuesday. Oppenheimer did not name a time Wednesday for Mountain Lion's release.

Last year, Apple released Lion to its Mac App Store in the early morning of July 20.

Although Apple said that it would ship Mountain Lion in July, it had declined to set a date.

Apple provided a "golden master" of Mountain Lion -- the label some developers use for software that has been completed and is ready to ship -- on July 9, but did not offer a follow-up.

Mountain Lion requires a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor, although some machines so equipped cannot be upgraded; 2GB of memory; 8GB of available storage space; and Lion or Snow Leopard. Users running Snow Leopard must update to OS X 10.6.8, the most-recent version -- released in late June 2011 -- before they can upgrade to Mountain Lion.

Like 2011's Lion, Mountain Lion will be available only via download from the Mac App Store.

Mountain Lion is priced at $19.99, a 33% discount from Lion's price.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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