Apple’s latest and greatest cat-inspired OS comes with a lower price, and an easier installation process than any predecessor. Apple claims Mountain Lion has over 200 new features. I haven’t run a check list but there are a few very attractive features that top my drool list. Unfortunately, one of the best new features could cost most Mac users up to a few thousand dollars.
AirPlay It Again, Sam
Sure, Mountain Lion has plenty of useful new goodies. There’s Notes and Reminders that sync with iCloud. There’s Notification Center and Messages. There’s built-in Dictation and Sharing (just like iPhone and iPad).
And speaking of iPhone and iPad and iOS parts that Apple migrated to the Mac, there’s AirPlay Mirroring.
iPhone 4S and iPad 2 owners who have an Apple TV know about AirPlay Mirroring, and AirPlay is kinda sorta available for Mountain Lion users, whereby AirPlay streams whatever is on your Mac’s screen to your TV.
How cool is that? Streaming movies to your Mac can now play on your TV. But there’s just one problem. Head over to the Mac App Store and check out the reviews of Mountain Lion. Out of over 7,000 ratings, it has over 5,000 five star ratings.
And almost 700 one star ratings. What? One star ratings? Why the broad range? In a word, AirPlay. My unscientific check of the hundreds of one and two star ratings indicate that most Mountain Lion users are complaining about AirPlay.
It’s not that AirPlay doesn’t work. It does work. It streams your Mac’s screen to Apple TV, which connects to your TV via HDMI. It’s what it costs you to make AirPlay Mirroring work on a Mac that’s the issue. First, you need a $99 Apple TV. Second, you need a very new Mac that has the capability of streaming the Mac’s screen to Apple TV which then connects to your TV.
At the low end, a new Mac mini will cost you in excess of $600. Add the $100 for the Apple TV, and you’re sitting at $700 simply to watch on TV what’s on your Mac.
AirPlay only works on the very newest Mac models. Even Macs that are two years old are not on the list. A new MacBook Air that’s fully AirPlay capable will set you back over $1,000. Even more for the MacBook Pro models.
According to Apple, AirPlay mirroring Mac to Apple TV requires an iMac (mid 2011 or newer), a Mac mini (mid 2011 or newer), and either MacBook Air or MacBook Pro (mid 2011 or newer for the former, and early 2011 for the latter).
In other words, if your Mac is much older than one year, but is still less than two years old, you’re out of luck. No AirPlay Mirroring for you.