Apple is preparing Mountain Lion to support super-fast 802.11ac WiFi. Code in the second beta of OS X 10.8.4 (build 12E30) includes a reference to the new, as yet unratified, standard.
The latest beta of OS X 10.8 was seeded to developers this week. Apple has asked developers to focus on WiFi, Safari, and graphics drivers.
This is the first time that a reference to the 802.11ac WiFi standard has appeared in the OS X WiFi frameworks folder, notes 9to5Mac.
The new standard, sometimes referred to as 'Gig Wifi' or 5G WiFi, is the successor to 802.11n. 802.11ac promises bandwidth of up to 1.3Gbps. In comparison, 802.11n products provide connections of up to 450Mbps.
However, the standard is still in Draft, not having received final approval by the IEEE, yet. This approval isn’t likely to come until later in 2013. This doesn't mean that Apple will wait until the standard is approved – Apple has shipped products using draft versions of wireless standards in the past (see 802.11n).
Industry sources claim that Apple is working with Broadcom to incorporate that company's 802.11ac chips in its next generation of Macs. The new technology will bring superfast WiFi connectivity to Macs, speeding up throughput as well as improving coverage (it can increase the distance from which you can connect to an access point), and also supercharging Apple's AirDrop features and WiFi syncing.
Another indicator that Apple would be incorporating 802.11ac came in January when Apple started seeking a Gigabit Wi-Fi engineer.
This update came just one week after the first OS X 10.8.4 beta.