What comes after OS X?

“With OS X nearing the end of its life cycle, it’s perfect timing to start thinking about merging OS X and iOS,” Brian Meyer writes for OS X. ” With a completely new major version of Mac OS coming up, and fairly constant major versions of iOS happening all the time, it’s easy to see that a merge could be hiding down he road.”

“The iPhone 5S has a new, extremely powerful 64-bit processor in it, which shows that iOS is ready to run on desktop machines and handle apps with a 64-bit architecture,” Meyer writes. “Right now it’s amazing when a desktop and iOS app work seamlessly with one another, but with a merger of operating systems, this would be the norm.”

Meyer writes, “With Apple having so much success with both their operating systems, it makes sense that OS 11 (or Xi, maybe?) could at least use iOS as it’s backbone, similar to how the Apple TV uses iOS but does not look similar to the iPhone OS in the least.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.


  1. Hopefully Apple will not change OSX too much. I want to stick to Indesign CS6 for a very long time and do not want to pay CC subscription or go back to stupid XPress. To me my Mac is to make my living and to feed my family. That’s why iOS and OSX can stay separate.

  2. Although the evolution of the Apple OS’s is happening, I would suggest that Brian Meyer is speculating, what he would do if he ran Apple. So who cares?

    Let’s just wait and see what comes forth. I’m pretty sure Mr Meyer’s opinion is not taken into account by the Apple executive team.

  3. More dumbing down of a real operating system so real computers will be more like mobile gadgets?

    I’m willing to wait until it happens but my fear is – Stupid is as stupid does.

    1. It’s not the dumbing down of a real operating system; it’s the “smarting up” of a once-mobile-only operating system. Making all apps much more accessible, and in a way that doesn’t resemble on-screen repulsion like Windows 8.

      1. Giving granny access to the UNIX CLI on her iPad? I don’t think so. Apple won’t even want to deluge iOS with all that UNIX baggage. Handhelds and tablets are task oriented devices with minimal overheads and maximum efficiency. Turning then into full blown UNIX devices is NOT going to happen.

        Now, if you-the-geek want to crack your iPad and go all UNIX on it, that’s fine by me! But don’t ask Apple to do it.

  4. Although, OS X did follow OS 9, the X is more an acknowledgement that the OS is built on Unix than as the number to follow 9. This is exactly why Apple has insisted on calling it OS ‘eks’ than OS ‘ten’.
    I see no reason why OS X can’t go on to OS X 10, OS X 10.1 or OS X 15, or OS X 30 for that matter.It’s the name, not the number.

  5. Since iOS is already built on MacOS X’s core, I’m not sure what the author’s talking about.

    iOS is meant to be a lean, fast subset of OS X featuring a touch customized interface that runs efficiently on limited hardware with a low energy consumption requirement. OS X has no such constraint, and quite the opposite frequently needs to ramp up to high power levels for various productivity needs. While merging them together into a common code base seems appealing on the surface, that would simply add GB’s of useless code to a mobile device.

    Microsoft thought this was a good idea because they don’t really believe in the whole concept of a mobile device. They believe in Windows everywhere as their mantra because it helps to preserve their monopoly, and adding some mobility features simply gives them a way to grab some portability $ without having to do the hard work of customizing for the mobile space. Put Windows with some touch interface features as a software layer on top, install it on a touch screen keyboardless “laptop”, but with an extra cost attachable keyboard, and call it a day. I’m waiting for them to install it on a phone, which will come with 32GB of storage, but only 10GB free after all the bloated unnecessary code is left in. That makes it easy for the coders, but passes the cost off on the hardware, which the customers will have to bear.

    I don’t see Apple ever taking this approach. I do believe iOS and OS X core code will move closer together, but it will be modular, with each platform getting the minimal it needs to create a simple, efficient device tailored to its function.

    As to changes in future builds of OS X, there’s still lots to do, from the underlying file system, to a more robust Finder, not to mention the Apple applications which would probably benefit from OS hooks to improve their functionality.

    I don’t think the OS X code base is going anywhere for a long time. It’s robust and reliable. We’ll see interface changes as styles change, improved functionality for power users (perhaps with Settings/System Preferences switches to turn on/off now that Jobs is gone and can’t overrule it), and new unexpected features as technology advances. Incremental evolution, not a wholesale rewrite just to be different.

    Remember, Apple really believes in the customer experience, and won’t do anything to jeopardize that.

    1. The most intelligent reply I’ve seen. OS X and iOS are different subsets of the same code. They’re already “merged”. Unix has always been customizable by selecting various kernel components upon compilation. iOS is just a different list of kernel components. OS X is here to stay. It’s foundation is Unix and it’s fast, versatile, and bullet proof. There won’t be any real competition for OS X until somebody like Microsoft designs another GUI to lay on top of a Unix/Linux engine. Android is Java, not Unix/Linux. Everyone who hopes to compete with Apple should have started working on their own Unix/Linux based OS 10 years ago, but nobody believed Windows could be defeated, and Microsoft will NEVER ditch Windows and start over as long as Gates (and Ballmer) is on the BOD. It takes guts and an innovative spirit to ditch what’s working for something new. Gates and Ballmer got lucky once and don’t know how to do it again. So Apple has the OS field to themselves at this point. Windows will never compete, and Android is a disaster that will self-destruct due to fragmentation and lack of any single entity that is responsible for making it compatible with new technology (like 64 computing). Apple has at least another 5 years with no real competition.

  6. Be careful what you wish for:

    OS Xi + iOS 8 could end up being the equivalent of Windows Mobile + Windows 8 = a big mess of an attempt to be all things to all people with a single solution.

    To use SJ’s analogy of Trucks and Cars – A Desktop/laptop OS should be for the engine for “trucks” (PCs). A Mobile OS should be the engine for cars (mobile devices).

    Maybe they should not converge. Maybe they should diverge instead.

    I could see an Apple future where a home user would still have mobile devices and a home “unit” that was more of a server than a PC with keyboard and screen. They would work together, but each would have an OS optimized to their own purpose.

    Where I used to work, when I was selling Macs, UNIX workstations and PCs plus peripheral equipment and software, we used to have a rule of thumb that said, “There are different tools for different purposes. Always use the right tool for the job.”

    1. right on. no maybe about it, OS X should diverge. There’s no point in making iOS more capable, but there’s a lot of improvements that are long overdue for OS X. ZFS for example.

  7. Convergence of desktop UI with a touchscreen UI = Windows 8-like experience.

    Merging OS X and iOS would stop me from updating ever again. iOSification of the much more powerful OS X is the absolute wrong direction.

    There are numerous forums and columns from experienced Mac users identifying necessary improvements & wish lists for OS X, and practically none of them want more iOS-like appearance or touch/gesture crap added, and ALL of them want more user control over interface colors, fonts, etc.

  8. Well, we already know how not to do an OS. All one has to do is take one look at the clusterfusk known as Windows 8. Amazing how Microsoft was able to totally screw up their OS to the point of making it near unusable. Not that the previous versions were much better.

    Personally, I think OS X in its present form is just fine. As they say, if it ain’t broke…

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