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Apple Working On Special Hardware Specific Features For OS X Mountain Lion?

Apple Working On Special Hardware Specific Features For OS X Mountain Lion?

In a letter to members of their AppleSeed program, which provides select users with exclusive access to pre-release Apple software (even before developers gain access), Apple has requested that users register their Apple hardware with the program in order to receive special seeds of OS X Mountain Lion:

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 easiest and most efficient way to do this is with Feedback Assistant.

What’s most interesting about the note is that it hints that Apple may be preparing special features of OS X Mountain Lion that are specific to the particular Mac it is installed on. It’s unclear what sort of special features Apple may be referring to, but I can think of a couple of possibilities.

9to5Mac writer Mark Gurman, who first reported on the AppleSeed letter, thinks that this may have something to do with the Retina display, which is expected to be coming to Apple’s next generation of Macs. But then why would Apple have users register their hardware, considering that nobody actually has a Retina display Mac yet?

Instead, I think this might have something to do with Bluetooth 4.0.

Bluetooth 4.0 can be used for unique and low-power proximity-based purposes. Now that the iPhone 4S and iPad 3 have Bluetooth 4,0, in addition to the latest MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac mini models, Apple could take advantage of unique proximity-based features, such as:

  • Automatically locking or unlocking your Mac depending on whether your iPhone or iPad is present.
  • Transferring files or other information between your Mac and iOS device by “bumping” or “swiping”.
  • Switching FaceTime calls between your Mac or iOS device.
  • Using your iPhone as a proximity-based “digital wallet” for making online purchases on your Mac.
  • Storing your Mac’s login preferences to be used on other Macs.

Something like Bluetooth 4.0 interaction seems much more likely to me than building in hardware-specific support for hardware that nobody actually has yet. Of course, it could also be something far more unique that Apple is preparing to include in their upcoming Macs…

These are just my thoughts, of course. As always, we’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything new.