I'm getting the presentation from an Apple announcement event without the event. I've already been told that I'll be going home with an early developer preview release of Mountain Lion. I've never been at a meeting like this, and I've never heard of Apple seeding writers with an as-yet-unannounced major update to an operating system. Apple is not exactly known for sharing details of as-yet-unannounced products, even if only just one week in advance. Why not hold an event to announce Mountain Lion - or make the announcement on apple.com before talking to us?
That's when Schiller tells me they're doing some things differently now. I wonder immediately about that "now". I don't press, because I find the question that immediately sprang to mind uncomfortable. And some things remain unchanged: Apple executives explain what they want to explain, and they explain nothing more.
Gruber hypothesizes that Apple held private briefings because they didn't want the announcement of Mountain Lion to go unheralded but they didn't want to hold a 'precious' press event because one just took place for iBooks and another is about to take place for the new iPad.
The release of Mountain Lion needed to happen now so that developers could have time to adopt the new APIs and find bugs.
Another big reveal is that Apple plans to update OS X on a yearly basis. Mountain Lion is scheduled for release this summer, perhaps around WWDC.