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Apple shifts schedules for OS X updates, press events

updated 11:25 am EST, Thu February 16, 2012

OS X updates to become annual releases

Apple is changing the way it rolls out OS X and even press events, a Daring Fireball report reveals. Beginning with the newly-announced Mountain Lion, OS X is moving to an annual update schedule. Apple has traditionally waited at least two years between major updates, but may want to keep pace with Windows, as well as iOS, the latter of which has always been updated once a year.

The company is also changing the way it handles press events, according to worldwide marketing VP Phil Schiller. While Schiller has refused to go into any more detail, Daring Fireball's John Gruber notes that last week, he and others in the media were given separate, solo product briefings on Mountain Lion. In Gruber's case at least these were hosted by Schiller, PR person Bill Evans, and another product marketer, Brian Croll. People invited to the briefings were given developer previews of Mountain Lion, something only today available to the developer community as a whole. Apple has previously used larger-scale events like WWDC to unveil new versions of OS X.

Gruber has also exposed some more minor details of the new OS. Mac App Store apps, for instance, are now said to have two different ways of opening and saving documents, those being the traditional OS X file system or the new iCloud option. The iCloud interface is said to resemble the iPad springboard, with a mock linen background and an iOS-style folder system. Multiple apps have been renamed beyond iChat (now Messages), including iCal (renamed Calendar), and Address Book (retitled Contacts).

A change that may have industry-wide ramifications is Gatekeeper. Though the feature is designed to counter malware, Mountain Lion's default settings allow only apps from the Mac App Store, or those signed through a free developer ID. Users must choose to allow unsigned apps, which may potentially discourage some experimentation on the platform. Alternately, people will be able to exclude everything but Mac App Store titles.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jemster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Keep pace with Windows??

    Since when has Windows been updated yearly?
    Windows Service Packs are not equivalent to major versions of OS X

  1. rexray

    Joined: Dec 1969


    upgrades / experimentation

    @bobolicious: There's no requirement to upgrade to the newer OS or apps structure.

    @staffwriter: If an Apple Developer ID is free, how will Mountain Lion "potentially discourage some experimentation on the platform"?

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bobolicious is not wrong!

    I was just getting ready to upgrade/replace my MacBook Pro, which won't really run Lion well with the amount of RAM I can put in it. And now this! I have to wait until Summertime. Oh, well, since Intel perhaps is having problems with Ivy Bridge chipset yields, now *that* is going to be put off too, so ... another half year gone.

  1. sribe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    summary is wrong about updates

    Apple has NOT traditionally waited at least 2 years between major updates. You need to review an OS X timeline!

  1. efithian

    Joined: Dec 1969


    New OSX Versions

    If we have new version of OSX every year, we are going to run out of names and numbers. What comes after 10.9? Might be time to go to OSXI, and eventually OSLIV. I guess Lynx sounds too much like Linux. Ocelot? Margay? Clouded Leopard (works with ICloud)? and Sandcat (sort of cute).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Money grab

    That's all this is. Just Apple trying to monetize OS X more and more before the EOL it.

    This is the Microsoft complaint. Set up a schedule, start working the software, then sell what you've got when the schedule says you must release. Don't wait until it's done, or tested, or QA'd or anything else.

    Worse, though, is you can be sure that Apple will start dropping tech more and more, let alone dropping support for older hardware. It's all about 'now', not "um, I have a $2000 quality printer, and you're telling me I can no longer use it because you decided USB is not useful anymore?"

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    less likely about Windows

    and more about easing people into change. New users, particularly switches from Windows, are likely overwhelmed by having to deal with dozens, even a couple hundred new features. Heck even Mac users upgrading can be overwhelmed. And so many changes can be a mess for developers to deal with all at once.

    Moving a system of a fewer changes at a time once a year (with an appropriately lower cost) makes more sense all around

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