Lion Developer Preview Shows “Upgrade from MobileMe to Castle”

Apple released a new developer preview of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” that includes references to two new unannounced features. The first is an icon for “Find My Mac,” a service that is likely to be similar to “Find My iPhone,” while the second adds further to the rumors that Apple is working on a major cloud initiative, one that could replace the company’s existing MobileMe service with a service called Castle.

According to French website Consomac (Google translation), Find My Mac is a buried icon in Lion. As you can see in the images below, the current iteration of the Find My Mac icon is exactly like the Find My iPhone icon used by Apple on its MobileMe site, leading to easy speculation that it would allow MobileMe (or Castle) users to find their Mac using the same location data Apple uses for Find My iPhone.

Find My Mac & Find My iPhone

On the left is an icon for something called “Find My Mac” in the most recent developer preview of Lion. On the right is Apple’s Find My iPhone icon, as used on
Find My Mac icon courtesy of Consomac.

Indeed, this would likely be the very same WiFi network location data that both Google and Apple have earned recent headlines for concerning their collection methods.

The other discovery Consomac made, however could be the bigger of the two. Buried in the source code for Find My Mac are references to upgrading one’s MobileMe account to a heretofore unknown service called “Castle,” or at least codenamed “Castle,” in order to take advantage of Find My Mac.


References to Castle in the source code for Find My Mac. Note that though the code says to check System Preferences for Castle, Consomac found no mention of it there.
Screenshot courtesy of Consomac.

The screenshot suggests very clearly that “Castle” is both tied to, yet separate from, MobileMe, which then strongly suggests that it is some sort of cloud service. What is not suggested by the screenshot (but is still an easy leap) is that Castle is therefore the name (or codename) for the long-rumored cloud rampup that Apple has been developing for years, and for which the company has built a massive data center in North Carolina.

Of course, the hottest Apple cloud rumor is that the company bought, and since we’ve headed so far down Obvious Trail, we can only conclude by rhetorically asking: Are Castle and iCloud the same thing?

Our post-conclusion observation is to note that these features are hidden and buried in a developer preview of Lion. They haven’t been announced by Apple, and they may not make it into the final release of the operating system, which will be highlighted at this summer’s World Wide Developer Conference.