Apple’s OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion heralds annual Mac operating system updates

“Apple’s iPhones and iPads get most of the attention, but Apple is now directing the spotlight on the Mac,” David Pogue reports for The New York Times.

“There had been rumors swirling that Apple was back-burnering the Mac, but that’s hard to believe after Thursday’s announcement: from now on, Apple will update Mac OS X once a year,” Pogue reports. “It will start this summer with Mac OS X 10.8, code-named Mountain Lion, only a year after the Lion version was released.”

Pogue reports, “The real shocker, though, is that for the first time, Apple decided to give tech reviewers an early, early version of Mountain Lion — not just months before its release to the public, but even before its release to its developer (programmer) community.”

Pogue reports, “You also have to wonder how Apple will keep numbering Mac OS X, since it’s already at version 10.8. (Actually, Apple’s people told me: They have no problem with double-digit decimal points, like Mac OS X 10.10, Mac OS X 10.11, and Mac OS X 10.12.) The bigger question is how long it can keep coming up with big cat names. Mac OS X Bobcat? Mac OS X Cougar? Mac OS X Really Fat Tabby?”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Tim Cook: Apple may further meld iOS and OS X; says Macs could run on ARM chips – February 16, 2012
OS X Mountain Lion’s Gatekeeper slams the door on Mac trojans – February 16, 2012
My experience with Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview – February 16, 2012
Apple’s Phil Schiller talks rapid speed of OS X Mountain Lion release; mere 7 months after Lion – February 16, 2012
Hands on with Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lion – February 16, 2012
Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview; public release coming in late summer 2012 – February 16, 2012

37 Comments

  1. Simple. Jaguar II. Panther II, Tiger II, Leopard II, Snow Lion II, Lion II, Jaguar 3, Panther 3, etc. or some such. Roman or standard numerical it’ll take a while to exhaust that.

  2. So Apple is just going to update once a year?? So we won’t be seeing 10.8.1, 10.8.2, 10.8.3, etc.?? Or does that mean every year there will be a major update with minor ones still in between like we have now? Maybe it’s a stupid question but I want to understand this right.

  3. I think he’s wrong about annual Mac OS upgrades. This particular upgrade is timed to coincide with the Windows 8 release. Apple wanted to add some more significant features after it’s too late for Microsoft to copy them, and negate any marketing momentum Microsoft might gain from Windows 8.

    It’s called Mountain Lion, because it’s an enhancement of Lion, just as Snow Leopard was an enhancement of Leopard. The NEXT major release, when it is no longer named after big cats or be X (ten), is probably going to be a much more significant overhaul. Maybe that will be “iOS for Mac,” and just use version numbers (like for iPhone and iPad). Apple will work on that release for at least two years, while the (Mountain) Lion rules.

    1. Daring Fireball’s Gruber wrote that Phil Schiller told him directly that the OS will be updated annually from now on. How extensive those updates will be remains to be seen. I agree about the timing, wanting to take the spotlight away from Windows 8, which by all accounts is shaping up to be a train wreck, but Apple is committing to updating OS X every year for some time. My question is about cost. If iOS updates are free, why shouldn’t OS X updates be?

      1. Really? Annual ongoing major updates for the Mac’s OS seems reckless. The Mac needs a measure of stability, compared to the consumer-focused iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

        However, I suppose Apple could release new bundled apps that add new consumer-oriented user functionality once a year (with much fanfare), without any major changes to the underlying OS. So, people who use Macs professionally, and don’t want constant change, can treat the annual update in the same way they treat the minor bug fix “dot dot” updates. And once every three years or so, Apple can release an “upgrade” that is a more significant overhaul of the underlying OS.

            1. Like it or not, the mobile and desktop worlds are coming together. There’s no reason to think the business models won’t converge as well. If you’re buying a mobile device, it’s more likely you’ll have some kind of service plan. That’s a pretty good justification for timely, free software updates. Conversely, giant boxes of software costing hundred of dollars are looking more and more ridiculous. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Each major update should be a solid building block of a larger plan, and that’s pretty much how OSX has grown.

  4. As the code base between iOS and OS X gets more and more intertwined it must have become a practical necessity to update them together. So, since iOS gets annual updates, then OS X does too.

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