Top tech headlines: OS X Mountain Lion, iPad 3, Android 5.0

Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending February 17 include the surprise announcement of Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion, Apple says iOS apps must ask for permission to access users’ address book, next-gen iPad event penciled in for March 7, Tim Cook’s vision for Apple and Android 5.0 Jelly Bean launch date rumors.

Apple surprises with release of OS X Mountain Lion developer preview
Apple surprised bloggers with the announcement of its next-generation operating system (OS) for Macintosh, OS X Mountain Lion. Mountain Lion brings elements from iOS including Messages, Notes, Reminders, Game Center and Notification Center to the Mac, and adds support for iCloud, AirPlay Mirroring and Twitter integration. Apple also introduced a new security feature called Gatekeeper that helps protect users against malicious software. Apple released the developer preview and said the consumer version would be available in late summer 2012.

Apple says apps require explicit user permission to access address books after privacy debacle
Apple announced that new versions of iOS apps would need to explicitly ask users for access to their address books. The news came after last week’s iOS apps privacy fiasco in which it was discovered that apps including Path, Twitter, Hipster, Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gowalla and Foodspotting were scraping users’ address books and in some cases storing those addresses on their servers. “Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” said Apple, “any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”

Apple next-gen iPad event tipped for March 7

iPad and iPod touch blog iMore predicted that Apple will host a keynote event to unveil the next generation iPad, aka the “iPad 3,” on March 7. The next-generation tablet is rumored to feature a 2048×1536 “Retina” display, a quad-core Apple 6 chip, and may even support faster 4G LTE data speeds. The Wall Street Journal reported that US carriers would sell a 4G version of the next generation iPad and suggested that Apple was testing another iPad with a smaller 8-inch display.

Tim Cook’s keynote at Goldman Sachs’ investor conference

Apple CEO Tim Cook provided a rare insight into his vision for Apple during a keynote at Goldman Sachs’ investor conference. Cook reiterated Steve Jobs’ belief that “the company should revolve around great products and we should stay extremely focused on a few things” but also addressed concerns over workplace conditions at its factories in China.

Rumors of Google Android 5.0 launch in 2Q12 disputed

DigiTimes said that Google may launch the next version of its mobile operating system, Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean), in the second quarter of 2012. The early release would put Android in a better position to compete with Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS, which is due to launch in Q3 2012. “Given that [Android] 4.0 is barely even out, we cannot help but consider this a bunch of ‘lost in translation’ stuff,” said AndroidGuys while ReadWriteWeb said it was possible that Google would announce Android 5.0 during its Google I/O developer conference but it is “unlikely that Google will start shipping Jelly Bean at the same time, more likely waiting until the beginning of Q4 before the first flagship devices are announced.”

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