John Gruber: ‘Schiller Tells Me They’re Doing Some Things Differently Now’


You won't be able to purchase Mountain Lion if your Mac can't handle it.
Instead of the usual high=profile launch event, Apple treated journalists to their very own personal keynotes

Imagine yourself at an Apple keynote event. A special, one-off launch for the newest version of Mac OS X. You see the familiar format: Phil Schiller and a couple of other Apple execs run through the successful sales numbers. Then they announce the new product, and then they work their way through a deck of pitch-perfect keynote slides.

It seems familiar, right? Only now imagine that you are alone. This presentation is for one person: you. This bizarro scenario is just what happened to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber last week when Apple briefed him on Mountain Lion.

Gruber wasn’t the only one. Schiller and company spent the week speaking to high-profile writers, instead of holding an event. Why? As Gruber writes: “Schiller tells me they’re doing some things differently now.”

It’s not just the lack of a big event that is news, nor even the slew of iOS-like features in Mountain Lion. It’s that OS X is switching to a one-per-year launch cycle, with a major new version annually like iOS. Clearly, despite the successes of the iPad in the last two years, Apple is still dead serious about the Mac.

Why these miniature non-events? Gruber’s take is that Apple doesn’t want to squander its big launch events. Too much of anything can get monotonous, even Apple keynotes. With the expected iPad launch next month, the iBooks event last month, and probably new MacBook Pro and Apple TV hardware coming later this year, Apple wants to stay razor-focused on these products.

On the other hand, once-a-year launches mean that developers need to get beta versions fast and often, and as Gruber also points out, Apple wants people to know it is still serious about the desktop.

But the very weirdest thing is the complete lack of leaks or rumors. Nothing. It’s not just that we didn’t hear about the date, but the name, the features, everything has stayed secret.

Apple might be doing things differently now Steve Jobs has gone, but some things appear to have remained very much the same.

  • VGISoftware

    I like it. There’s no hint of Apple resting on its laurels.

    Mountain Lion looks fantastic–especially when contemplating the daily advantages of being on iCloud and having and using all three Apple devices.

    Life is good!

  • MacHead84

    It also wouldnt have made any sense to hold a major presentation for Mountain Lion when the MAJOR features of it are iOS functions that everyone is already firmiliar with. You cant call Reminders “magic” when we’ve all been using these things for months. It would have been silly to watch an event dedicated to months old functions. Mountain Lion is badass looking but seriously the main selling points are not anything to “unveil”.

  • traviswillhoite

    I want to see iBooks for the Mac!

  • Marty Holthaus

    Fair enough – but I do not think you can discount the value of inspiring a handful of writers who influence people – who then influence other writers who influence people. I say Apple is definitely keeping the “magic” of the Mac alive and is doing so through this “one-on-one” process. And let’s face it… if you read the articles about the “Airplay” feature in Mountain Lion, you can definitely see something magical happening here. Apple is definitely planning to re-shape the way we look at our TVs. Whether they succeed or not, we will see. But I’m betting on Apple.

  • Junaidkureshi

    This was the biggest surprise, had no rumors no clue, now that was tight

  • MacHead84

    Oh I agree this is a great update and cant wait to use these features on my Mac but I just couldnt see how Apple could dedicate a mass media event for the features we all already know and love from out iPhones and iPads.

  • Barton Lynch

    No one had any idea that this was coming today

  • Brandon Dillon

    I’m sure they are working on it, but may not know what to do with it. With all of the extra screen real estate, they will want to bring more function and/or make better use of it. I’ve made a few sketch concepts on UI and listed new features to take advantage of the extra space, but nothing significant comes to mind.

  • Brandon Dillon

    Every since I first heard of this, I’ve been scouring the internet for word of this, and only came across 1 mention, which wasn’t specific on a lot of things, but was spot on. I will say that this was on a .onion warez site.