Apple’s changing of the Mac OS X guard

“Apple on Wednesday said that Bertrand Serlet, the father of the Mac OS X, will leave the company after 22 years,” Larry Dignan writes for ZDNet.

“The departure is symbolic in many ways as the future of Apple increasingly becomes about the iOS that powers the iPhone and iPad,” Dignan writes. “On the surface, Serlet’s departure looks like a changing of the guard.”

Dignan writes, “Simply put, the Mac OS X will be fine. It’s just that the Mac OS X won’t play the prominent role it once did at Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s iOS is derived from Mac OS X with which it shares the Darwin foundation.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Bertrand Serlet to leave Apple – March 23, 2011


  1. I hope the Mac OS X will be fine – I’m still very much in love with Mac OS X (hence by my next Apple purchase being a MacBook Pro and not an iPad 😉 ) and hope to see it continue for a long time into the future. 🙂

  2. Or he could be retiring after a long and fruitful career with Apple. Or moving on to do something else. There’s a succession here – it’s not like he’s leaving and the division’s being axed. A senior person left and a more junior person is assuming his role. It happens several times a year at every major company.

    Symbolism exists mostly in the minds of pundits looking for an angle to shoot.

  3. Serlet is most certainly NOT the “old guard”, as the article suggests. His contributions to Apple’s CURRENT dominance in the mobile space cannot be overstated. iOS is a stunning demonstration of how scalable that OS X is. When you boil it down, this advantage is the single most important strategic advantage Apple has in the mobile space against Microsoft. Live long and prosper, Bertrand!

  4. Bertrand is a total hero of mine, and I am gutted to hear he is leaving Apple. However, after 22 years I’m sure he has had his legacy plans in place for a few years now.

    Goodbye Bertrand, and best wishes for the future. X

    1. It’s not that I would mind iOS on my desktop, it’s whether or not equivalent pro-level media authoring tools will be available for iOS.
      Things like ProTools, Digital Performer, Sibelius, Finale, Photoshop, Final Cut.

  5. I am absolutely convinced that this is a sign. I believe that his work on Mac OS X is done, and that Lion will be the final cat in the series.

    Apple has developed the most advanced, intuitive, efficient and effective UI for a computing system in iOS. They would be foolish to keep it on their small devices. The underpinnings of the iOS contain all the necessary muscle for a full desktop OS. By the time Lion begins its path to obsolescence, iOS will gain the core functionality necessary for a desktop OS (file system access, multiple application windows, etc). Mouse will soon be relegated to the museum of computing history (and to Windows desktops), and desktop computing will finally become fast, efficient, intuitive and fun.

    I have no doubt that Apple’s primary strategic goal for their line of Macs is to move away from mouse and to multi-touch input. Just as they have successfully migrated from 68k to PPC, from System 9 to OS X, and from PPC to Intel, dragging Adobe, Microsoft, Avid/Digidesign, Quark and others behind them (some of them kicking and screaming), so will they do it this time again, and I’m sure all the big software makers will quickly re-engineer their flagship packages over to iOS as soon as Apple makes the tools available to them. After all, installed base of Macs has never been this high.

  6. It’s probably because, even as Lion is being readied for release, Apple is already working on the NEXT major release (the one that will no longer be “10” or named after a big cat). That release is likely to be as different from the current Mac OS as Mac OS 9 was from Mac OS X.

    22 years is more than twice as long as I’ve done any ONE job. He wants to do something else (or even not do anything at all for a while), and he no doubt has the money now to do almost anything he wants.

    The next OS for Mac may be “iOS.” But Apple calls the OS on Apple TV “iOS” too. So iOS does not mean the “touch the screen” (no cursor) GUI used on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. In the future, iOS will refer to the CORE of the OS, not the outer shell. And that core, after another two to three years of development, could certainly power future Macs and do it more efficiently.

  7. I see nothing wrong with a potential evolution or hybrid version of OSX/iOS. If it works, it works. Why knock it if it doesn’t even exist. I remember the same moaning during the OS9 to OSX transition. Apple knows what’s best.

  8. iOS to me means exclusively objective-C based, appart from web bits and bobs which are java. No more gastly c , pascal, fortran, pearl etc which form so much of the glue holding the pc world together.
    Whenever I’m forced into c I just pull my hair out it’s such agony! Then when I’m back in obj-c the world makes sense again. I’m sooo happy you will never find any c code on an iOS device because it really is torture!

    1. You can use all the cplusplus you want in iOS. It’s native. And now that Apple has loosened up their tone on middleware, MONO has been ported to iOS, so you can use JScript, CSharp, Boo, etc, and it gets compiled into native binaries as well. All acceptable within the App store. It really is a full Mac under the hood.

  9. Guys, guys, guys! Please read pundits with more much more scepticism. TheMacAdvocate is spot on about pundits. They do NOT know it all, just think for a minute and reflect on all the times they have been very wrong. OS X is NOT going anywhere, and it’s NOT taking a backseat to iOS, I’ll bet anyone any amount of money on it.

    As many already know, if you look below the surface of iOS and OS X, you will find that they share more than a few common components. Many of the components of iOS are newer than some things in OS X, but these (like the QuickTime Framework) are making their way into OS X. Components have also gone the other way, from OS X to iOS (like the only just recently migrated Nitro Javascript Engine for Mobile Safari which originated in OS X). There more than likely, even more components (like WebKit2) that are being developed for BOTH iOS and OS X …and, who knows, other things as well). So, please, there is no need to be panicked by “know it all” pundits who write their suppositions as if they were facts.

    iOS and OS X are different facets of the same gem of an OS, different facets with different optimisations just like iPad Apps are optimised differently form iPhone Apps.

    Folks, Bertrand’s been with Apple and before that NeXT for a very long time, and if he wants to go and do something else, it’s no biggie! He’s leaving OS X in very capable hands. There are still some very wonderful people working on OS X. Kudos to you all, you know yourselves.

    Bertrand, Thanks so much from the bottom of my heart for all the good stuff from as far back as Workspace Manager tm. 😉 Tons of good luck in your scientific research Dr. Serlet.

  10. Even if Mac OS X evolves into an iOS based operating system, I’m willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt on what the next incarnation after OS X Lion will be if, indeed it’s iOS based. They haven’t failed me yet in the Mac OS X series of Operating Systems so I’m willing – and excited – to see what the development team at Apple comes up with next before forming an opinion on what may or may not be.

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