It's here – Mac OS X 10.8 has officially launched. Many Mac owners will be able to snap up the Mountain Lion upgrade from the Mac App Store for a cool $19.99 – that's actually $10 less than last year's Lion upgrade offer. The upgrade requires a compatible Mac and an existing, fully updated installation of Snow Leopard (10.6) or Lion (10.7).

As we mentioned yesterday, customers who purchased their shiny new Mac after June 10 are entitled to a free Mountain Lion upgrade. To qualify, your new Mac must have been purchased from an authorized reseller, like Apple, MacMall or Amazon. Users can verify whether or not they can take advantage of the deal at Apple's Up-to-Date page – the same place where they can also redeem the offer. Qualifying Mac owners will only have until August 24 until the freebie expires, so grab it while you can.

According to Cnet though, some users are reporting problems redeeming their free upgrade codes. Apple is said to be issuing new codes to affected customers.

Here is the Mountain Lion compatibility list. If you don't see your Mac here, you may be out of luck. There have been, however, reports of Mountain Lion installing on supposedly incompatible Mac Pros. Your mileage may vary.

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Mac OS X 10.8 adds a bevy of improvements and features. Users will discover the all-new addition of iMessage, Safari 6 with iCloud syncing, Power Nap, OS-wide dictation, automatic security updates and automatic Mac App Store updates. 10.8 also adds Notification and Gaming centers. A more exhaustive (and prettier) list of what's new can be found on Apple's website.