In the latest sign of OS X Mountain Lion’s imminent release to the public, Apple has seeded the next-generation Mac operating system to its AppleCare representatives. AppleCare representatives have been testing OS X Mountain Lion on special Macs and via remote computing for the past few weeks, but today’s news marks that the OS X Mountain Lion Golden Master seed has been supplied to representatives to be installed on their main work Macs. More details after the break:

The OS was supplied today to all AppleCare employees via a Mac App Store redeem code. Employees who have installed the build have confirmed that their seed is build 12A269, the same build provided to developers on July 9th.

Last week, we reported that we had heard from retail sources that Apple is planning overnights on July 24th, and we speculated that this points to an OS X 10.8 release on July 25th. Apple followed a similar pattern with OS X Lion in 2011.

We’ve since heard several more reports of a planned July 24th overnight. Apple initially told members of retail store visuals teams that the overnight would span 2-4 hours, a measly amount of time for a supposed overnight that covers installing OS X Mountain Lion on several store display Macs. However, we’ve since heard Apple corporate come back to retail stores, instructing them that the overnights will take until 4 AM in some locations. Of course, with a digital-only release, Apple could make the release date to any date.

We can’t make it clear enough that we’re putting two-and-two here with the apparently major Apple retail store overnights and the already announced late July launch of OS X Mountain Lion.

We previously reported that Apple had expanded its internal Mountain Lion testing to select retail staff. This was meant to aggressively extend Mac OS 10.8 testing internally, and the move was also meant to familiarize retail employees with the new software.

Earlier this month, Apple seeded a Golden Master version of OS X Mountain Lion to developers. On the same day, the company asked its slew of third-party Mac software developers to begin submitting their Mountain Lion-compatible Mac App Store applications.

OS X Mountain Lion continues Apple’s move to take iOS elements and apply them to notebook and desktop Macs. The new Mac operating system includes over 200 new features including Notification Center, AirPlay Mirroring, iCloud-enabled Notes and Reminders applications, Game Center, Messages with iMessage, improved iCloud integration, enhanced Safari, Mail VIPs, and the Gatekeeper system security feature.

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