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Mac OS X Mountain Lion release signals shift in secrecy at Apple

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Apple's upcoming "Mountain Lion" release of Mac OS X 10.8 is borrowing a feature from Microsoft: the prerelease software is being shown to journalists before developers.

For the first time in Mac OS X's history, Apple has presented journalists with a product briefing and prerelease copy of the operating system one week before making it available to developers. The company has historically reserved access to its prerelease software exclusively for developers who have signed a Non Disclosure Agreement.

For years, Apple remained a minority alternative to Windows, forcing the company to operate under shrouds of secrecy in order to pull off dramatic product unveilings that its competitors couldn't immediately copy. However, with the five year head start in mobile devices afforded by iOS, as well as its commanding lead in PC sales growth, Apple is now in a clear leadership position for unveiling product strategies.

Last year's release of Mac OS X Lion was first publicly unveiled in a preview delivered by Steve Jobs in October 2010, but the media wasn't given an advanced look at the new software.

Instead, Apple kept the release under NDA, a strategy that was largely ineffectual as many developers continued to leak builds that were widely disseminated through file sharing networks. As a result, rather than being able to manage the messaging of Lion, Apple found that many of its new features were leaked out to the point where they weren't surprises anymore when Lion was actually released.

Apple's NDA policies for Mac OS X Lion were largely just preventing journalists from commenting on the product while allowing the public (often led by Apple's detractors) to critically examine it, without a full understanding of what the changes meant. Apple's NDA also prevented developers from commenting on the new software until it was released.

For Mountain Lion, Apple has turned down its legendary secrecy a notch and has instead started promoting its software the same way it has promoted hardware since the iPhone, offering journalists an early and curated demonstration of its features.

Seeding anticipation

Apple's first major preview of an unannounced product in recent years was Apple TV, followed by the iPhone a few months later at the beginning of 2007. Both products were detailed by Jobs several months before they were available for sale, an uncommon event for Apple.

Other products, including most new Macs, successive iPhones, the iPad and its iPad 2 successor, have all typically been unveiled to the public just before they were available for purchase.

With the release of recent iOS devices and Macs, Jobs tried something new: he issued prerelease units to a variety of journalists to review in advance. Apple is now trying the same tactic in software with Mountain Lion, hoping to build anticipation for upcoming features through legitimate channels rather than trying to keep everything a secret.

Microsoft has done this throughout its history, although it has typically worked to unveil its plans far further out, often starting to promote its software plans two years in advance, a strategy denigrated with the term "vaporware." In contrast, Mountain Lion is expected to ship less than four months from now.

New annual updates for Macs

Apple's new public relations policy meshes with the company's overall release strategy for Mac OS X, which will now get an annual release as the platform enters its second decade of development.




Mountain Lion will ship this summer, presumably at or around Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, and Apple will continue to deliver incremental annual updates that maintain a parity of sorts with new iOS releases, an expansion of the technology sharing that has already occured between the two products at regular intervals.

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook commented that the two products are "one with incremental functionality"




Apple originally delivered its first three major new reference releases of Mac OS X as quickly as possible, but after years of rapid, major new OS releases, the company announced it would target an 18 month schedule to give developers more time to digest the significant changes being made to its core infrastructure, middleware services, public APIs and user interface elements.

While preparing to release iPhone and its iOS (essentially the mobile-optimized version of OS X), Apple's 18 month schedule for pushing out new Mac OS X releases got delayed, pushing 10.5 Leopard from its planned summer release to October 2007.

After five years of annual iOS releases, Apple is now shifting Mac OS X to the same schedule, as both products have now matured to the point where they share more technologies (including AirPlay, iCloud, FaceTime, Messages, an App Store, Notification Center, Cocoa development tools and APIs) than their obvious differentiations (the Mac's mouse and keyboard focus versus iOS' multitouch).

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post #2 of 52
Shift in secrecy? We didn't know SQUAT about it until this morning. That's better than usual!

Yeah, they told the press early. So what? They told people who know how to keep their mouths shut if they know what's good for them. It worked because these people live on the ability to have exclusive information. Once Apple officially told everyone about Mountain Lion, these guys had articles already written up that they posted immediately, granting them the first views. They know how to operate.

Gizmodo, on the other hand, isn't an example of these guys.

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post #3 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Gizmodo, on the other hand, isn't an example of these guys.

ROFLMAO

Wait, no stolen prototype to buy this time?
post #4 of 52
Apple certainly has a select group of Bloggers and Journalists that they can trust to keep quiet. I heard not a peep about ML and I recently did a search on OS X 10.8.

Bupkiss.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #5 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Shift in secrecy? We didn't know SQUAT about it until this morning. That's better than usual!

Yeah, they told the press early. So what? They told people who know how to keep their mouths shut if they know what's good for them. It worked because these people live on the ability to have exclusive information. Once Apple officially told everyone about Mountain Lion, these guys had articles already written up that they posted immediately, granting them the first views. They know how to operate.

Gizmodo, on the other hand, isn't an example of these guys.

The fact is that they told the press early, and there has been an unusual amount of communication from Apple recently. I think the 'shift', if there really is one, could be a good move. Apple is very different now than it was 5 or 10 years ago and the secrecy is almost impossible. Maybe by giving more information more often they will be able to control the rumours better. I am sure they will hold some big news back because the rumour mill is also a huge marketing freebee. But recently, by the time a product is released, everybody is so jaded, and expectations so high, that everyone is disappointed.
post #6 of 52
I'm sure glad to see a more open approach. Perhaps it will give everyone more time to offer more feedback and reporting so as to see more solid initial releases. Presently I'm very disappointed in the predominance of the eye-candy and UX section. I know these make the sales and probably mean the most to the average Joe, however the kernel and core OS have been deeply neglected for the last few releases. Solaris and even Linux are well ahead of darwin/xnu at this point in terms of memory management, process management, multi-thread support, and so forth. It's time that Apple reinvest at the Core OS.

So many things suffer; HFS+ is a joke of a file system. Products like ZEVO (a TensComplement.com made ZFS incredible implementation that would eliminate ALL file system, data integrity, and Time Machine glitches in one fell swoop; adding superior compression that accelerates FS access and offers deduplication of data) could be acquired and brought under the Apple umbrella to build a much stronger foundation. This is what we need more than anything at this point and with Apples deep pockets, there is no reason to neglect is aspect of the OS.

I wish that more of us would push Apple with this kind of feedback: Shore up the Core OS! It goes WAY beyond just protecting us from malware.
post #7 of 52
In order to perform these releases yearly, Apple has either hired additional programming staff or current staff for some of their applications are being pulled off the other products. Which is it?

I surmise there is little work being done on iWork, since the programmers were likely working on the new iBook Author application -- though it seems Scrivener remains are far better application for such purposes. (PS: I detest WYSIWYG -- gets in the way of content development, replacing it with layout issues. I.e, MVC should be as much a part of writing content as it is part of programming design).
post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

But recently, by the time a product is released, everybody is so jaded, and expectations so high, that everyone is disappointed.

I wonder if everyone will be disappointed with the new iPad 2S?

Likely it will have much faster graphics!
post #9 of 52
I'm starting to wonder if Tim Cook realizes that if they give previews to people and give information about their latest and greatest products, the whole industry will shift and try to follow them. That might allow Apple to cement their position as the market leader for years to come. You get everyone afraid of what Apple will do next, and thus try and coppy them. Because Apple is now letting people know what they are doing (somewhat), it could cause companies to have a lot less time to come up with good sulutions!
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

The fact is that they told the press early, and there has been an unusual amount of communication from Apple recently. I think the 'shift', if there really is one, could be a good move. Apple is very different now than it was 5 or 10 years ago and the secrecy is almost impossible. Maybe by giving more information more often they will be able to control the rumours better. I am sure they will hold some big news back because the rumour mill is also a huge marketing freebee. But recently, by the time a product is released, everybody is so jaded, and expectations so high, that everyone is disappointed.

I agree that people's expectations are unreasonably high. I do think that by giving more information earlier, they definately are controling rumors. They also havve the advantage of being able to get feedback as you said. I also think that by doing this, they give developers enough time to work with the new system. I would be willing to bet that Apple is doing this because as I said before, they want the companies to chase them even more. Lastly, for most of the computing population, they end up dangeling a carrot in front of them, so by the time the OS comes out they are psyched beyond beleif!
post #11 of 52
I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't announced in the old way, with a big announcement like in the past. Kind of makes me wonder if it's a sign that they regard the Mac as less important now, and since the Mac is the Apple product I most couldn't live without, that would be a shame.

WIth that said, there's probably no conspiracy theory here!
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't announced in the old way, with a big announcement like in the past. Kind of makes me wonder if it's a sign that they regard the Mac as less important now, and since the Mac is the Apple product I most couldn't live without, that would be a shame.

WIth that said, there's probably no conspiracy theory here!

In the past they had two event for demoing Mac OS X. They had the Preview event that covered the top 10 or 12 features... and then several seasons later they had another demo right before launch that covered the exact same stuff. I'm quite happy that they did it this way so we're not rehashing the same coverage twice.

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post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't announced in the old way, with a big announcement like in the past. Kind of makes me wonder if it's a sign that they regard the Mac as less important now, and since the Mac is the Apple product I most couldn't live without, that would be a shame.

WIth that said, there's probably no conspiracy theory here!

When was the last time Apple had a major keynote SOLELY to announce a new OSX version? They did this exactly the right away. No point in doing a keynote for something many months away. Defeats the purpose, as well as dilutes the impact of these keynotes. ML will be previewed again onstage closer to release, no doubt. And no, to me it's a sign they're continuing to focus on macs and still believe they have high importance. They wouldn't have taken such an effort if they believed otherwise. Read John Gruber's impressions: http://daringfireball.net/
post #14 of 52
I don't think it's a shift in secrecy so much as a realization that members of the press are a lot better at making noise about a new product than developers are. Props on indispensability to developers of course. But developers are busy developing of this next rollout, while the press is busy getting the word out.
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

. . . I am sure they will hold some big news back because the rumour mill is also a huge marketing freebee. But recently, by the time a product is released, everybody is so jaded, and expectations so high, that everyone is disappointed.

The whiners with a low boredom threshold, the "meh" and "underwhelmed" crowd, are the ones who are "disappointed." They live on emotions, not reason, and they don't count, except with regard to the noise level.
post #16 of 52
And some Journalists will make out of it some (non)sense and we will end up with bug-features beacuse public will have to be satisfied based on BS interpretation by so called technical journalists.

"Good idea". Congratulations! Now we will get Mac OS X and iOS same "qality" as Windows mess.
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

When was the last time Apple had a major keynote SOLELY to announce a new OSX version? They did this exactly the right away. No point in doing a keynote for something many months away. Defeats the purpose, as well as dilutes the impact of these keynotes. ML will be previewed again onstage closer to release, no doubt. And no, to me it's a sign they're continuing to focus on macs and still believe they have high importance. They wouldn't have taken such an effort if they believed otherwise. Read John Gruber's impressions: http://daringfireball.net/

Good link, thanks.
post #18 of 52
I think John Gruber's explanation makes sense.
If they do too many keynotes they stop being special.

They just did a mini keynote for iBooks Author, a completely new product.
They are about to do one in March for the next iPad, their fastest growing product segment.

Mountain Lion, while a nice upgrade, did not merit an entire event.
post #19 of 52
I liked this part:

Quote:
There many new features, I’m told, but today they’re going to focus on telling me about ten of them. This is just like an Apple event, I keep thinking. Just like with Lion, Mountain Lion is evolving in the direction of the iPad. But, just as with Lion last year, it’s about sharing ideas and concepts with iOS, not sharing the exact same interaction design or code. The words “Windows” and “Microsoft” are never mentioned, but the insinuation is clear: Apple sees a fundamental difference between software for the keyboard-and-mouse-pointer Mac and that for the touchscreen iPad. Mountain Lion is not a step towards a single OS that powers both the Mac and iPad, but rather another in a series of steps toward defining a set of shared concepts, styles, and principles between two fundamentally distinct OSes.

I think this nails it. Microsoft took the approach of using the exact same interaction paradigm of a phone to a desktop. Apple obviously still sees the need for 2 very separate OS lines, but with shared features and tight integration. They're focusing on and updating the entire OS, instead of slapping a touchlayer on it and leaving the legacy stuff unchanged, as in Win8.
post #20 of 52
Shift in Secrecy?...

I don't see them blabbing about Apple TV and Tim Cook had plenty of chances!

This just seems the case of what Steve Jobs said...

Don't ask yourself, "What would Steve Jobs do?" Just do what is right. I guess this is right.
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post #21 of 52
I also suspect that just before it is released, Apple will do a full event where they will go over the major new features and announce 2 or 3 surprise features.
My money would be on.
1) iBooks for Mac
2) Siri
3) Maps (new crazy Apple 3D maps technology)

Ok the 3rd one is a stretch.
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I also suspect that just before it is released, Apple will do a full event where they will go over the major new features and announce 2 or 3 surprise features.

Well, yeah. Now we know what WWDC will be about this year.

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post #23 of 52
Apple does what makes sense and is cost efficient. The announcement has to match the product.

For an OS X upgrade - one-on-one with a few bloggers/journalists.

For a minor MacBook Pro/Air or iMac refresh - just a press release.

For a major new product (iPhone/iPad/MacBook) release - a big presentation at Moscone. Or WWDC.

If they can combine some announcements, even better.
post #24 of 52
10.8 is basically how 10.6 was for 10.5...a small maintenance update with some new features. Or at least that's how view it.
"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
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"Those who would give up essential liberties to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither." -Ben Franklin
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post #25 of 52
The next BIG Mac OS event will be the unveiling of MAC OS 11. Codenamed "steve"

post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosox View Post

The next BIG Mac OS event will be the unveiling of MAC OS 11. Codenamed "steve"


Eleven looks like two pillars so perhaps they'll use old buildings as code names. e.g.: OS 11 "Parthenon"

(I'm really reaching with that one. )

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post #27 of 52
Anyone consider that this is the perfect misdirection for the iPad 3 next month? Apple distracts us from the rumor mill for just enough time to relax hype over the next iPad and then....


BOOM...


iPad 3!
post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In the past they had two event for demoing Mac OS X. They had the Preview event that covered the top 10 or 12 features... and then several seasons later they had another demo right before launch that covered the exact same stuff. I'm quite happy that they did it this way so we're not rehashing the same coverage twice.

They've done something similar with iOS the past few years and each time I see it I'm left wondering WHY? This was especially true when the iPhone was on a summer refresh schedule. A spring "preview" event and beta release followed by the GM at WWDC. When 2.0 came out in 2008 it was this way and they wasted half the keynote talking about software features that had already been known for months. WWDC 2010 was a slap in the face to Mac developers with no specific info on what was happening with the desktop. It's as if Apple said "Go away. We don't care about you now, come back next year."

At this point, iOS is just as much a mature product as Mac OS X, why not give each one equal weight when it comes to keynotes or public demos? They somehow feel the need to continually show off when it comes to mobile and hope people don't notice the desktop, even as progress is being made.

If it sounds like I'm laying into Apple a bit, let me be clear: I love my iPhone 4S and iPad 2, but as a Mac user for the better part of 12 years (Switched completely in 2007), it's depressing to see that Apple isn't all that excited (publicly) about it anymore. You would think that they'd be interested in turning some more of the 100+ million iPhone users into Mac users \
post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, yeah. Now we know what WWDC will be about this year.

The problem with that is the iOS release cycle, which has unfortunately come to dominate WWDC in recent years. If we're lucky Mac OS X will get half the keynote, probably less. Consider that Lion, although a feature focused release (as opposed to Snow Leopard) was given very little public presence (outside of developers) leading up to its release. I'm encouraged by the stability that the Mountain Lion name would seem to imply, but I don't imagine them making a big deal about it. There will be sessions of course, but I don't expect to see the return of specific Mac events, especially given the sharing between the two platforms.
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMF View Post

They've done something similar with iOS the past few years and each time I see it I'm left wondering WHY? This was especially true when the iPhone was on a summer refresh schedule. A spring "preview" event and beta release followed by the GM at WWDC. When 2.0 came out in 2008 it was this way and they wasted half the keynote talking about software features that had already been known for months. WWDC 2010 was a slap in the face to Mac developers with no specific info on what was happening with the desktop. It's as if Apple said "Go away. We don't care about you now, come back next year."

At this point, iOS is just as much a mature product as Mac OS X, why not give each one equal weight when it comes to keynotes or public demos? They somehow feel the need to continually show off when it comes to mobile and hope people don't notice the desktop, even as progress is being made.

If it sounds like I'm laying into Apple a bit, let me be clear: I love my iPhone 4S and iPad 2, but as a Mac user for the better part of 12 years (Switched completely in 2007), it's depressing to see that Apple isn't all that excited (publicly) about it anymore. You would think that they'd be interested in turning some more of the 100+ million iPhone users into Mac users \

You have the wrong idea about what Apple is doing. This beta release of 10.8 when 10.7 came out just 6 months is more like early Mac OS X release schedule than the later ones (even predating the iPhone). Expect to get a full public demo of ML either at the next Mac special event or at WWDC. My point is you only need the one, not two.

They are clearly focusing more on the Mac. They are clearly making their huge number of iOS using customers see that Mac OS is an easy hop for their PC needs. They have also switched to a yearly update cycle that matches iOS's yearly update cycle. They are no longer focusing on one or th other, but both. No more Mac OS X delays because then iPhone OS needed engineers pulled from the Mac teams.

This is a good thing for all. Expect the Mac to grow even faster than before.

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post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I think John Gruber's explanation makes sense.
If they do too many keynotes they stop being special.

They just did a mini keynote for iBooks Author, a completely new product.
They are about to do one in March for the next iPad, their fastest growing product segment.

Mountain Lion, while a nice upgrade, did not merit an entire event.

The education announcements were highlighted because it was something that Steve had wanted to address, but unfortunately couldn't finish. iPad is similar (a pet project, if you will), so maybe it merits an event based on that. The desktop is stable enough that they may not have to do big keynotes, but compared to the others' public billing, it feels neglected.
post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMF View Post

The problem with that is the iOS release cycle, which has unfortunately come to dominate WWDC in recent years.

iPhones are in October now, so that's not a concern.

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post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You have the wrong idea about what Apple is doing. This beta release of 10.8 when 10.7 came out just 6 months is more like early Mac OS X release schedule than the later ones (even predating the iPhone). Expect to get a full public demo of ML either at the next Mac special event or at WWDC. My point is you only need the one, not two.

They are clearly focusing more on the Mac. They are clearly making their huge number of iOS using customers see that Mac OS is an easy hop for their PC needs. They have also switched to a yearly update cycle that matches iOS's yearly update cycle. They are no longer focusing on one or th other, but both. No more Mac OS X delays because then iPhone OS needed engineers pulled from the Mac teams.

This is a good thing for all. Expect the Mac to grow even faster than before.

I can see how having a common base makes it easier, but they seem to be pushing harder on iOS releases than the desktop. As to timing of all this, didn't 10.1 come out only months after Mac OS X's debut? Performance was a problem on 10.0 if I recall, and it took more time to get things sorted out. Still, It's the first time in a while I can remember them doing something like this so soon.

I just don't feel like they need to push iOS as much as they do.
post #34 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

iPhones are in October now, so that's not a concern.

Betas are shown at WWDC, which seems to take up quite a bit of time in the Keynote. Even if the ML name conveys some sense of stability, it still adds new features, most of which we probably don't know about yet. I would expect them to demo those, but I'm worried that Mac OS X gets overshadowed by iOS simply because it has been given so much press in recent Apple events.
post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMF View Post

I can see how having a common base makes it easier, but they seem to be pushing harder on iOS releases than the desktop. As to timing of all this, didn't 10.1 come out only months after Mac OS X's debut? Performance was a problem on 10.0 if I recall, and it took more time to get things sorted out. Still, It's the first time in a while I can remember them doing something like this so soon.

I just don't feel like they need to push iOS as much as they do.

1) They aren't pushing iOS, they are pushing the Mac, hence the long needed continuity update. There is no loss of Mac functionality here, just a way to make the Mac more attractive to their iOS base that have never used a Mac. This is great for us Mac users!

2) Very early on there was one faster release from retail to retail and possibly a couple that will barely edge out the Lion to ML release depending on when in the Summer it hits but you need to consider this is the 9th major "cat" version of Mac OS X. It's not new! It's not a fledging! There is a reason the release cycles slowed as it aged. Even Jobs said (before the iPhone) that Mac OS X released would slow down. Leopard and SL gave us a glimpse of what a tik-tok method might do for Mac OS but even that was about 2 years between releases. There is nothing to fear by Apple focusing on yearly Mac OS updates and getting more people to buy Macs thus outpacing the PC market even faster than it already is.

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post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMF View Post

Betas are shown at WWDC, which seems to take up quite a bit of time in the Keynote. Even if the ML name conveys some sense of stability, it still adds new features, most of which we probably don't know about yet. I would expect them to demo those, but I'm worried that Mac OS X gets overshadowed by iOS simply because it has been given so much press in recent Apple events.

Either ML will get demoed at the Mac event I suspect will come before WWDC or it will get demoed at WWDC. If the latter happens I would then expect iOS 6 to get demoed outside of WWDC as I don't expect Apple to demo both OSes at the same time.

The iPhone won't get updated until the Fall so there is time though there needs to be at least 2 months for developers to work on apps. For that reason I am leaning toward:
  • March — iPod/iPad/AppleTV/iTS updates
  • April/May — ML demo with new Macs
  • June — iOS 6 demo at WWDC
  • Summer's end — ML release
  • Sept/Oct — iPhone demo and release

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post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's upcoming "Mountain Lion" release of Mac OS X 10.8 is borrowing a feature from Microsoft: the prerelease software is being shown to journalists before developers.



Apple has been in pretty deep with the media lately. They have a symbiotic relationship, but the media has been going for blood lately.

This may be an olive branch by Apple, who may be trying to foster a more productive relationship. It could be the start of a trend, but until we get more data points, it's akin to throwing a dog a bone.
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMF View Post


I just don't feel like they need to push iOS as much as they do.

Then you'd be wrong. The battle is being waged in the mobile space. That's where the marketshare potential, innovation, new demographics, new technology, excitement, and profits are coming from. It's the future, and Apple would be idiotic to not continue to push their platform as hard as they can.
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypoluxa View Post

10.8 is basically how 10.6 was for 10.5...a small maintenance update with some new features. Or at least that's how view it.

No, not really. How many new apps did 10.6 apps? Zero, if I'm not mistaken. How many new and significantly updated apps does ML have? This release has a ton of user facing changes.
post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

No, not really. How many new apps did 10.6 apps? Zero, if I'm not mistaken. How many new and significantly updated apps does ML have? This release has a ton of user facing changes.

Yeah you're right, I just double checked on Wiki...My bad. Based on what saw with the video preview, it just felt like a SL update...nothing really mind blowing, but who knows what else they have in store.
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"Those who would give up essential liberties to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither." -Ben Franklin
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