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  • Apple Bringing iPhone OS to "New Platforms"

    Early rumors that the Apple tablet would run Mac OS X did not pan out, and by designing the new iPad to run iPhone OS, Apple signaled that it intended to use its mobile OS for all its touchscreen devices. Now, a new Apple job listing looking for an engineering manager in "platform bring-up" indicates that the company has broader plans for the iPhone OS. As a central focus, the new hire will be responsible for heading up "a team focused on bring-up of iPhone OS on new platforms."

    The iPad is the first device to feature Apple's new A4 system-on-a-chip (SoC), combining a 1GHz CPU with an integrated graphics processor, based on the ARM architecture. Not surprisingly, the listing gives extra credit to applicants who have "experience with ARM based SoC's." According to an analysis in the New York Times, the expected cost of devleoping a chip like the A4 is somewhere around $1 billion US, so it's likely that Apple will be putting its homegrown chipset at the forefront of its new mobile offerings. According to the listing, the manager would be responsible for “low-level platform architecture, firmware, core drivers and bring-up of new hardware platforms."

    Observers have begin speculating about potential uses for the powerful, energy efficient A4. Rene Ritchie at TiPb wonders if the first candidate might not be Apple TV, the perennial red-headed stepchild of the company's lineup. Somewhat less than a computer, somewhat more than a set-top box, the device runs a version of standard Mac OS X and uses a simplified interface to serve digital media. Computerworld's Seth Weintraub notes that an A4-enabled Apple TV could be "no bigger than an Apple Airport Express," and manufactured so cheaply that it could be free to users (if, for example, subsidized by cable TV subscription) and "attached to the back of HDTVs like a power supply." Weintraub also wonders if the A4 and iPhone OS might not begin moving up the chain to low-end devices like the mac Mini and MacBook Air.

    The iPhone OS has received kudos for its design, and given the popularity of the iPhone, it's familiarized more users with a touchscreen interface than any other device. A comScore survey back in November showed the iPhone as far and away the most popular touchscreen device in the US, with 32.9% of the market as compared to the LG Dare's 8.7%. Small wonder, then, that Apple has decided to leverage the early adoption of the iPhone OS for the iPad. iPhone users will have a familiar interface when they first interact with it, and Apple already knows that even first-time users have a short learning curve with the iPhone. Apple will doubtless continue to tout the large numbers of apps available on the iPhone OS.

    The continued focus on the closed iPhone OS rather than the open, Unix-based architecture of Mac OS X is problematic. The ingenuity of the world's jailbreakers being what it is, it's unlikely that Apple will be able to keep any of these new devices locked down for long. At the same time, we all know that the majority of users will be too intimidated to try jailbreaking, regardless of how many easy point-and-click tools are available. It's easy to say "too bad for them," but nobody benefits by having a closed operating system that can't be improved by a worldwide community of developers. In addition, Apple's continued tight control over what apps can be installed on their devices stifles competition and limits user choice.

    Hopefully, popular non-App Store titles and interface mods will make jailbreaking increasingly attractive to users, and may encourage Apple to embrace a more open architecture. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now, but change is always possible.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Bringing iPhone OS to "New Platforms" started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      iPhone OS is hardly gonna move up to the Mac Mini or Macbook Air, its not gonna be on anything that has a physical keyboard.
      I think its time they started calling it Mac OS X Touch.
      I'd like an Apple TV that you could plug in a few external HDD's and mkv support (very doubtful )
    1. ltjbigshot's Avatar
      ltjbigshot -
      It seems to me that apple takes from the jailbreak community at times. Any one remember iPhone os 1.0 mods compared to iPhone os 2.0.
    1. kdp8791's Avatar
      kdp8791 -
      I wish I could listen to Steve Jobs thoughts. That man has one hell of a brain.
    1. ty22's Avatar
      ty22 -
    1. reeko's Avatar
      reeko -
      The devs involved with jailbreaking are just road testing ideas for apple to use. At any one point apple can take any 1 idea/jailbreak app and make it their own.

      As tome has gone on, people are finding less and less uses for an iPhone jailbreak. In the future, I see a completely closed system with no need to jailbreak.

      I mean, I don't think iPhone os 2.0 would have contained the app store if it wasn't for installer @ 1.0.....
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      The thought of having iPhone OS on other upcoming products is not enticing or encouraging at all. The next device I'm really only looking forward to is the iPhone 4G, whether they make huge changes or not it's still going to be sweet.
    1. Dash-2's Avatar
      Dash-2 -
      It would be cool to see a fast, slim AppleTV. But hopefully this job posting also means Apple is planning on expanding the limited iPhoneOS, to be more like a real computer OS. =D
    1. spazturtle's Avatar
      spazturtle -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      I think its time they started calling it Mac OS X Touch
      Just to let you know the X in OS X stands for 10 it is Roman Numerals, so lets just leave it at what it is called ok? "iPhone OS 3.1.3"
    1. jd1992's Avatar
      jd1992 -
      i cant put up with iphone OS anymore, ipad sure why not i have a laptop ill pass

      other than than the ones made already i am not looking foward to it.. apple is taking away from the jailbreak community , i cant imagine keeping my iphone WITHOUT jailbreak

      4g better have it all, and i mean all im not waiting for updates i mean ALL..or you will see me with a droid
    1. iPhoneMadness's Avatar
      iPhoneMadness -
      So Apple wants iPhone OS to be like Android? Except closed off to everyone but Apple.

    1. RonHC's Avatar
      RonHC -
      wouldn't they have to rename the firmware or else it will cause confusion
      i dont know how to explain it but just make each device have their own specific firmware
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by spazturtle View Post
      Just to let you know the X in OS X stands for 10 it is Roman Numerals, so lets just leave it at what it is called ok? "iPhone OS 3.1.3"
      Really I had no idea X stood for 10
      Just so you know, iPhone OS is derived from Mac OS X. I just think its silly calling it iPhone OS when two out of three of the devices it runs on are not iPhones.
    1. ukoda's Avatar
      ukoda -
      Am I the only one who finds the idea depressing? I got my iPhone 2 years and was excited with the idea of a pocket size device that could run VOIP apps allowing me to integrate my cellphone and cordless phone. The Windows mobile device it replaced didn't have an OS up to the job. At first I looked at the iPhone as OS X in my pocket but that it will never be. It has the media performance to do VOIP but the lack of multitasking means I still carry two phones around the house. Maybe version 4 will fix that but you can bet it will block jail breaking for a while and that's fundamentally what's wrong with using the iPhone OS on the existing hardware and why is will also suck on new hardware. A technically capable OS crippled by Apples greed. Call me crazy but when I pay money for something I own it and want to do what like with it. That's why my next phone will be a rootable Android model. It can match the iPhone on the technical features and the right model will allow me full control.
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      The only issue i have with the iPad is how would I carry it around? I am a man, and I don't carry a man purse or duffel bag. My iphone easily slips in my pocket and if I owned a ipod touch same pocket deal. I don't want to look like an idiot with a giant ipod touch on my ear downtown. Any carrying suggestions?
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      I really like the iPhone OS. But I hope it stays in the mobile (meaning I can stick in my pocket) industry and doesn't go past that. We're all already disappointed enough by the iPad, we don't need another one.
    1. senas8's Avatar
      senas8 -
      A game device with some extra features like maybe some control pad?
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      NO NO NO [slams head on desk] The iPhone OS only works on the IPHONE. It is pointless on any system that's any more capable. This makes me sad. What's so bad about Mac OS??
    1. romeo_herman's Avatar
      romeo_herman -
      When Devteam will jailbreak the iPad???....
    1. aperry's Avatar
      aperry -
      Great! More devices running this closed, handicapped, stale operating system. If it wasn't for jailbreaking I'd be epically bored with my iPhone. It's wasteful and laughable that they chose to run the iPad with this thing.
    1. iPhoneMadness's Avatar
      iPhoneMadness -
      Quote Originally Posted by mikerlx View Post
      The only issue i have with the iPad is how would I carry it around? I am a man, and I don't carry a man purse or duffel bag. My iphone easily slips in my pocket and if I owned a ipod touch same pocket deal. I don't want to look like an idiot with a giant ipod touch on my ear downtown. Any carrying suggestions?
      Um, the same way you would carry any other laptop/mini? In your hand or in a carrying bag?