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OS X 10.9 seen in Webkit bug reports, suggest advanced testing

updated 06:45 pm EDT, Thu June 6, 2013

Build number leads to speculation of July release for next OS version

A Webkit bug report filed in Apple's own Radar system on May 8 has revealed an internal build number for the OS X 10.9 upgrade, also informing developers and others that Apple appears to be quite far along on testing the forthcoming major release. The filing, reported by AppleInsider, posts a presumed OS X 10.9 build numbered 13A451 -- the "13" referring to 10.9 (Mountain Lion's current build is 12E55), the "A" meaning a ".0" release, and the last digits indicating a build number. In this case, it suggests that Apple is very thoroughly testing the forthcoming release.

The build number on 10.9 may not have any direct correlation to previous OS release build numbers, but it is worth noting that OS X 10.5 (Leopard) reached build 581 before it achieved "Golden Master" status. Snow Leopard took until build 432, Lion (10.7) reached 511 builds, and Mountain Lion -- which was largely a refinement of Lion as opposed to a major change in the underpinnings of the OS -- reached GM status at only build 269. Apple has managed to release the last two paid system updates in late July of each of the last two years, and may be trying to achieve a hat trick by getting a final 10.9 out around that same time frame.

OS X 10.9 -- which does not yet have a codename or commercial "cat" name attached to it as of yet -- reached build 491 nearly a month ago, and is likely at a much higher build number by now (presuming at least one new build every weekday). What is unusual in this case is that Apple has reached a high build number before widely distributing a pre-release build to developers.

Normally, a pre-released build is made available to testers about three to six months ahead of a final release -- however 10.9 may not make any huge changes to the inner workings, APIs or other key components of Mountain Lion, and thus could conceivably require far less developer testing than previous versions. Recent builds of 10.8 have been more thoroughly tested that has been previously seen, which could be indicative of a stronger emphasis on in-house testing than was formerly the case at Apple.

No major new features have yet been announced for 10.9, leading most observers to speculate that it will be another "polishing" release, fixing bugs in 10.8 and adding further refinements, borrowing concepts and synchronicity from iOS, implementing some new features but mostly building on and expanding what has already been accomplished and found popular by users, such as the iCloud syncing features of Notes, Reminders, and a user's calendar and contacts. Most expect significant improvements to Siri, Maps and other features of Apple's own programs -- while many are hoping for simultaneous significant updates to the iWork and iLife programs, along with expansions and improvements to iCloud and its implementation.

Already revealed in the release of 10.8.4 has been improvements in Nvidia graphics drivers, better wake-from-sleep wireless connectivity, and support for the forthcoming 802.11ac wireless networking protocol, which heralds the release of forthcoming Mac products that support it. In addition, many are hoping that next week's WWDC conference will see the release of updated MacBook models, a revamp of the long-overdue Mac Pro, and potentially news of the next iOS system update and new hardware to accompany it.




by MacNN Staff

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