The release of OS X Mountain Lion may be sooner than initially expected, according to recent reports concerning Apple's latest hiring push. Until recently the only clue anyone had to the release date was Apple's statement that it would be out in "late summer." Now, though, it looks like mid-summer may be closer to the mark, possibly WWDC 2012.
According to a recent report by AppleInsider, Apple appears to be hiring new AppleCare support personnel in its Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) division. These new workers, along with existing support personnel, have already begun to be trained on of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Given Apple's tendency toward secrecy, they usually only begin training personnel on new products shortly before the products launch. That strongly suggests that the release of Mountain Lion could be just a few weeks away.
Of course, WWDC 2012 is also only a few weeks away. Apart from what the training implies, WWDC is an excellent candidate for Mountain Lion's launch. First and foremost, the conference is all about Apple's software - namely iOS and OS X. That alone makes the conference an excellent time to launch Mountain Lion. For another thing, Apple almost certainly doesn't have any new products to announce this year (i.e., no new iPhone yet). While a sneak peek at iOS 6 is a strong possibility, a full-on launch of Mountain Lion would spice up a conference otherwise devoid of major announcements.