OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion may be in the hands of developers, but there is another group of people that get software releases often even before those with paid developer accounts.
The project, called AppleSeed, allows select people – and we don’t know how they are chosen – to test out very early and exclusive access to new releases of software for testing. New versions of OS X are ripe for this kind of testing, and that particular group of people may have been given a little clue as to what direct Apple is taking with its next big cat.
In an email to those on the Appleseed program, Apple has requested that users inform the company of their latest hardware configuration to enable "exclusive seeds" of new software, with Mountain Lion being mentioned by name
The email goes on to suggest that hardware specific bug fixes, and indeed exclusive features, could be in Mountain Lion’s future.
We are preparing for possible hardware specific software updates on OS X Mountain Lion. These contain hardware-specific bug fixes or even special features! In order to make sure you can participate in these exclusive seeds, we need your most up-to-date machine configuration information.
The most obvious suggestion for something that could require hardware specific support is the much rumored Retina display that is expected to come to the next line of MacBook Pro notebooks. If Apple is wishing to begin testing of its ability to roll out versions of Mountain Lion that are tailored to the hardware it will run on, then Retina Display devices could be the reason.
Apple’s Mac App Store is the driving force that, without which, this idea of hardware specific software would be impossible to follow through on. Now, Apple will be able to potentially tailor a Mac App Store download to choose the correct installation options and files based on the device that is being used.
We have been testing Mountain Lion since its initial developer release and we have had mixed results. While some have found that the operating system is perfectly stable for the most part, others have had nothing but problems. It is all part of testing an operating system before its official release, of course, but the signs are certainly promising that Mountain Lion will be another step towards making OS X even better.