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Mountain Lion out of cage as Apple lifts kimono on possible iPhone 5 launch

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Apple has released Mountain Lion, the next iteration of its desktop OS X operating system. The technology giant also made veiled references to the rumoured launch of the new iPhone 5.

The new Mountain Lion OS goes on sale today in the UK for £13.99 and is for iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. As per the Lion release, it won’t be available on a disc but as a 4GB download.

The new OS takes several leaves out of the success of iOS and has in common several features of the OS that powers the iPhone, iPod and iPad.

When installed, the new OS gets a Notification Centre to keep you up to date on new emails, Facebook updates, tweets and app alerts. It sports Game Center and Messages. iChat will be replaced by Messages on the new operating system but it will still support Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Jabber and AIM.

It also adds integration with iCloud and Facebook as well as 200 other features new to Mac computers.

However, the update won’t be available to all Mac computers. Macbooks dated pre-2007 or a Mac Mini from before 2009 are left out of Mountain Lion update. Customers who a compatible Mac product from Apple or an Apple Authorised Reseller on or after 11 June this year will also be eligible for a free upgrade through the OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program.

Analysts said that the latest update is not as broad as the previous Lion release.

“While there are lots of new features this is not a major upgrade like the last version Lion was,” said Brian Blau, research director at tech research firm Gartner.

In a call with the finance community, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company was “really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline”, in a veiled reference to the rumoured iPhone 5 and the iPad mini.