What happens if I want to run bitcoin in a UI-less context? E.g. as a daemon during system startup or through SSH to the box? Essentially I need to run bitcoind in a Mac server box (as opposed to say a Linux server box).
There's only one bitcoin app, it takes a -server argument to accept the RPC calls from another client. There is no separate daemon.
Is there actually a distinct bitcoind and what's the difference between that and Bitcoin.app?
There is not. ".app" is just a folder container for applications on the Macintosh, it's not actually an app. You can see this by right-clicking on any Macintosh ".app" and select "Show Package Contents".
Mac OS X daemons are generally run through launchd scripts and do not fork on their own. If you can point me to some source code and a
There isn't a separate daemon. The source is all public domain, and is included in your download in the "src" folder. Including an OSX make file. If you want an IDE, check out XCode available on the App Store.