updated 08:10 pm EST, Sat January 23, 2010
Pre-release OS X 10.7 circulating widely
Apple's as yet unreleased Mac OS X 10.7 has suddenly been picking up in web traffic in recent days and suggests rapidly advancing testing. After only a relatively small level of traffic late in 2009, numerous web logs in recent days have shown many more systems browsing to sites and identifying themselves as 10.7 in their user agent strings. Most of these continue to come from the 17.x.x.x IP address block associated with Apple's offices, but they are now also coming from outside the company or in other countries.
The burgeoning traffic is likely due to many Apple employees returning from holidays to resume work but, given the surge, also implies that the company reached a significant development milestone that allowed a wider circle of testers to verify the OS. Without even an initial unveiling, 10.7 is far from completion but should be advancing at a quick enough pace to be shown in earnest at WWDC in late June.
Apple has in the past few years made future Mac OS X releases a core component of WWDC and provided advance details for Snow Leopard in both its 2008 and 2009 conferences.