updated 11:00 pm EDT, Fri September 14, 2012
May also fix 10.8 battery life issues in MacBooks
Despite having issued a near-final build of 10.8.2 to developers on Tuesday, Apple has pushed out another build, 12C53, as an update -- suggesting that release of the patch will come soon. The previous build, 12C50, including release notes (usually done just before release), making this updated build unusual but perhaps fixing an overlooked or newly-discovered bug. Mostly the build seems to offer further integration with iOS 6, which will be released on September 19, again indicating an imminent release.
The accompanying Read Me file asks developers to focus on the same areas as the previous build, primarily graphics performance and quality as well as Image and Media importing, editing and viewing. The update is expected to be a rare "point" release that adds features in addition to fixing issues. The final 10.8.2 is expected to add phone number and Apple ID syncing to iMessage and FaceTime, as well as implement system-wide Facebook integration for users of the social service.
The update will also update iPhoto to add an additional feature to Photo Stream, allowing users to select friends and family to share their Photo Stream and add comments which the user will be able to see. Game Center, another new feature of Mountain Lion, will be augmented with optional Facebook integration as well.
The new beta is the fifth in what has become a rapid-development cycle for the company, with updates generally happening at least once a week. The update is listed as being the same size as the previous build. The file weighs in at 682MB for both the Delta and Combo update. Testers are reminded that with both releases, machines on which they are installed cannot be downgraded to previous versions, and should not be tested on production machines.
MacNN Labs has been testing various builds of 10.8.2 for battery life improvement and reports that, while results vary between builds, battery life has been extended back to near-optimum levels seen in OS X 10.7.4, though oddly enough the previous build backtracked slightly from the one before it in this regard. Owners of recent MacBook models have complained -- and independent tests by different Mac news sites have confirmed -- that 10.8.0 caused a severe drop in battery life, shortening run times by up to 38 percent. The subsequent release of 10.8.1 mitigated the problem somewhat but has thus far not returned the OS to the battery life levels seen in the most recent releases of Lion and Snow Leopard.