Friday, February 17, 2012

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Won't Support Older Macs, Will Be Download Only

Owners of older Macs and Macbooks that are eying the newest version of Mac OS X take notice your system might not have made the cutting block for Apple's new operating system. While the list of supported machines has not been publicly published (yet) by Apple, TUAW is reporting a developer source that has said OS X 10.8 will not run on several of the company's older PCs and laptops.

The anonymous sources tells TUAW Mountain Lion will only run on the following Macs:
  • iMac (mid 2007 or later)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, 2.4/2.2 GHz), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Anything produced earlier than those machines will not be able to install OS X 10.8 from the Mac App Store. The list of those getting the axe include the original MacBook Air and all pre-unibody plastic MacBooks*, iMacs from 2006, pre-June-2007 MacBook Pros, pre-mid-2007 Mac minis, the original and 2007 Mac Pro, and Xserves from 2006 and 2008.

* TUAW says: those MacBooks, which still feature the legacy pre-unibody case design and were manufactured in early- to mid-2009, are supported in Mountain Lion because they feature an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card instead of the integrated Intel GPUs in their predecessors.

Dropping legacy support is nothing new for Apple they seemingly do it at ease and with almost every new release something else gets axed. In 2009, Snow Leopard made the biggest, and what most would call the most controversial, move by dropping support for all PowerPC Macs. In 2011, Lion dropped support for Macs that didn't have 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processors, which included most of the first-generation Intel Macs.

In addition to dropping support for older Macs Apple is said the be dropping support for any and all install media. This includes DVD, USB drives ect. Unlike with Lion which featured both the option to download the installer or buy (a heavily over priced) USB drive Mountain Lion will only be delivered as a downloadable install. According to Pocket-lint Apple says this is because there was so little interest in the USB option anyway: “It was an interesting test, but it turns out that the App Store was just fine for getting the new OS.”

Pocket-lint has also confirmed that Apple plans to realigned its development schedule to now bring OS X updates every year. Meaning users will see faster incremental updates being pushed out to the Mac App Store.

There’s no word yet on what the update will cost (OS X Lion is currently sold for just $29.99 in the US and £20.99 in the UK), but we do know that it will be available exclusively from the Mac App Store and Apple has slated the release for later this summer.

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