Apple is already testing a new version of its desktop operating system, reports claim.
Citing their respective Web logs, Apple rumor blogs MacRumors and 9to5Mac say that they have seen a steady increase in the number of visits to their site by computers running Mac OS X 10.8. The blogs said that the computers running the operating system started accessing their sites in August. The people using the operating system appear to be Apple employees, since the site requests originate from the company's headquarters and surrounding areas.
Although those findings are by no means a smoking gun that Apple is working on a follow-up to its desktop operating system, the timeline appears to make some sense. As MacRumors points out, Apple typically launches new versions of its operating system every other year, and based on Web logs, visits from computers running Lion first started hitting its site in late 2009, seeming to indicate that testing starts nearly two years before the software's launch.
Assuming Apple keeps the same schedule, the company is testing its operating system now for an eventual 2013 launch.
Until then, Apple might also be working on some improvements for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Citing sources, 9to5Mac says that the company is planning to bring AirPlay Mirroring to its operating system. The source says that the feature would let users wirelessly send their desktop or laptop screen to an Apple TV connected to a television or projector. AirPlay Mirroring is currently available in iOS 5, allowing users to send their iPad screen, for example, to their television through a connection with the Apple TV.
But that's not all Apple reportedly has planned. According to 9to5Mac sources, the company also has plans to bring its iMessage platform, which lets iOS 5 users send instant messages to each other free of charge, to Mac OS X. So far, however, Apple has not determined if it should integrate iMessage into iChat or make it a standalone application, the blog's sources say.
The addition of mobile applications to Mac OS X shouldn't come as a surprise. Earlier this year, Apple added an app store to Mac OS X. The company's desktop operating system also features support for its video-chatting service FaceTime, which first made an appearance last year on the iPhone 4.
Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the rumors surrounding its operating system.