By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
February 17, 2012

How the news of the Mac’s next operating system — Mountain Lion — got disseminated

The top tech news story Thursday, apparently, has nothing to do with working conditions in China, or who owns the iPad brand, or even the fact that Motorola (MMI) may have to remove “slide to unlock” from its smartphones.

No, the top 135 stories on Techmeme this afternoon are all about the next version of Apple’s (AAPL) desktop operating system — dubbed Mountain Lion — due out next summer.

And even that doesn’t quite capture what has so fascinated the tech press.

“The real shocker,” writes the
New York Times
‘ David Pogue, “is that for the first time, Apple decided to give tech reviewers an early, early version of Mountain Lion — not just months before its release to the public, but even before its release to its developer (programmer) community.”

So who, exactly, got to see it first?

That’s a question likely to be worried over within gossipy new media circles for weeks to come. Here, as near as I can tell from an admittedly small sample, is the current pecking order as Apple PR sees it:

  • The Wall Street Journal‘s Jessica Vascellaro got meetings with CEO Tim Cook and marketing chief Phil Schiller
  • Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber got a sit-down with Schiller (and a loaner MacBook Air) which he described in detail, as did USA Today‘s Ed Baig
  • The Times‘ Pogue also got a Schiller preview, despite speculation by the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple that the Times may be getting the cold shoulder because of its Foxconn stories
  • TechCrunch‘s MG Siegler and The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple got a developer’s version a week early
  • Macworld‘s Jason Snell got a developer’s version a few days early
  • A few thousand registered developers downloaded it on Thursday
  • The Verge‘s Nilay Patel got Apple PR to return his call
  • The rest of us — including the Chicago Times‘ Andy Ihnatko — got a press release

I may have missed it, but nowhere in the reports I read was there any hint that the previous incarnation of OS X was greeted with anything less than open arms. In my house, for what it’s worth, my wife still hasn’t forgiven me for saddling her with Lion’s version of the Apple Mail app.

UPDATE: A far more complete list of the previewers, via Quora.

You May Like