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FAQ: Apple reveals more about OS X Mountain Lion

New revelations by Apple leads to more questions, which we try to answer

June 15, 2012 12:37 PM ET

Computerworld - On Monday, Apple unveiled more details about Mountain Lion, the new OS X operating system now slated to ship next month.

OS X Mountain Lion sports new features, like its Lion predecessor many of them borrowed from the iPhone and iPad, new apps -- ditto -- and the lowest-ever price for an Apple upgrade.

It's no Windows 8: Apple's not tried to stuff two operating systems into one package -- not yet, anyway. Mountain Lion is clearly another small step.

But after Apple fleshed out Mountain Lion at WWDC, it was obvious that questions about its enhancements and improvements remained. So we've fleshed out our Q&A, too.

When can I get my hands on Mountain Lion? July, Apple's said. Our bet: July 25, a week later than last year's Lion. Why then? Because Apple announced this new OS X a week later this year than it did Lion in 2011.

And really, what with Apple's double-secret probation strategy, comparing calendars is as good as you can get without a tap on Tim Cook's phone. If Apple follows past protocol, it will reveal the release date a few days before Mountain Lion hits the Mac App Store.

How much? $19.99, or $10 less than last year's Lion. And like before, the price of one copy gives you the right to install it on all the Macs you personally own.

Businesses and schools, however, must fork over a fee for each Mac by purchasing licenses through their usual channels or the online store.

Where do I get it? Just like Lion, you'll get it through the Mac App Store. There's no word whether Apple will again offer the OS X upgrade on a flash drive, as it did for Lion, largely to quell complaints from customers who relied on slow dial-up connections.

We're betting that the sales of the Lion flash drive was too pathetic to bother repeating.

Can I upgrade to Mountain Lion? If your Mac runs Snow Leopard or Lion, you're likely in luck.

We say "likely" because some systems able to run Snow Leopard, or even Lion, won't handle Mountain Lion.

A list of Mountain-Lion supported Macs can be found here. Make sure your machine is among them before paying your $20.

Can I upgrade directly from Snow Leopard? Yes.

You don't need Lion first, but you will need to update Snow Leopard to the latest version, OS X 10.6.8, which Apple shipped about a month before Lion launched.

To see if you have 10.6.8, select "About this Mac" from the Apple menu. If it's an earlier version, launch "Software Update" from the same menu, then download and install 10.6.8.

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