Was I the only one to be surprised by Apple this week announcing the arrival in the summer of yet another new version of OS X?  It’s my belief OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion doesn’t represent an Apple triumph but is more damage control and preparing us for iTV.

This OS X release was not only unexpected, it’s an aberration in Apple’s relentless process of showing that it isn’t Microsoft with Redmond’s tortured OS releases.  A new OS version from Apple has come every 18-24 months, yet here we are with Mountain Lion — POW! — less than a year after the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion. What gives?

For all the hype, Lion has been less than the success Apple hoped it would be. Support has been a pain in the ass for this release that still feels like beta software.  Maybe Cupertino decided that a whole new release, rather than a service pack, was required.

Further, I’ve heard that customers have complained about iOS features they don’t see in Lion and wish were there.

Certainly Apple will be rolling into Mountain Lion all the cool touchscreen, digital media management, and distribution features along with hardware support for iTV and other new hardware platforms. This virtually guarantees, I guess, that the TV is on its way for Christmas 2012.

If this is the big OS X/iOS merge, what happens to those separate products?  If distribution, backups, and updates are all through iCloud, maybe it doesn’t matter.