“If Apple is to truly make the Mac the personal computer of the future, we will need to see some bold changes; changes that may eliminate some of the staples of desktop computing that most of us can’t imagine living without,” she writes. “I think that Apple can, and will, successfully transition us to a future where iOS runs across all of its hardware.”
I think Anna is onto something. However, what I foresee is that iOS won’t replace OS X, but that the two operating systems will continue to merge into an operating system probably called Apple OS.
In 2011 Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek predicted that OS X and iOS would begin merging that year. Despite more iOS-ish features in Mountain Lion, iOS and OS X are going to be distinct operating systems for the foreseeable futre. However, an Apple patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office hints that Apple is working on blending the operating systems.
Patent number 20110197153 is for user interactions with items displayed on an user interface instead of a device. Techniques for managing user interactions with items on a user interface are disclosed. In one aspect, a representation of an opening is presented in response to touch input. A display object is moved over the opening, and the display object is processed in response to the moving.
In another aspect, touch input pinching two opposite corners of a display object followed by touch input flicking the display object is received and the display object is deleted in response to the inputs. In another aspect, touch input centered over a display object is received and the display object is deleted in response to the input. In another aspect, touch input corresponding to swiping gestures are received and a display object is securely deleted in response to the gestures. The inventors are Nicholas V. King, Todd Benjamin and Brett Bilbrey.
Reading the patent and looking at some of the graphics (shown) at first sounds like it’s talking about an iOS device. But look closely at the graphic and you’ll see the screen is like a cross between iOS and OS X with a single app running, but with Finder icons across the top and a Dock along the bottom.
Misek says that combining OS X and iOS will lead to “synergies,” including better gross margins and an ease in licensing of content. In particular, Apple customers would be able to then experience TV shows and movies and such, stored in the company’s “iCloud,” across phone, tablet, or, eventually, Apple television, and get the same licensed content.
“Users want to be able to pick up any iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or turn on their iTV) and have content move seamlessly between them and be optimized for the user and the device currently being used,” Pisek told clients. “We believe this will be difficult to implement if iOS and OS X are kept separate … We believe Apple is looking to merge iOS (iPhones/iPads) with OS X (Macs) into a single platform for apps and cloud services starting in 2012-13.”
Technically, it might not be too difficult. iOS is an offspring of OS X. And OS X Lion implements several iOS features, specifically those of the iPad. Merging the two even more is a logical progression.
What would an Apple OS on the Mac be like? No visible file system? No need to manage windows? The end of the menu bar as we know it? All these are possibilities. Of course, the trick for Apple will be to make Apple OS as easy for consumers and newbies as iOS currently is while still offering lots of oomph for power users and creative professionals.
Of course, Apple should proceed with caution. Microsoft tried an “all things to all people” approach with Windows 8 — and that’s not working out too well.
(You can read the entire “AppStorm” article at http://mac.appstorm.net/general/opinion/is-ios-the-future-of-the-mac/ .)
Want a copy of the Apple Monthly Report newsletter? Drop us e a line at email@example.com, and we’ll send you one.