The Possible Future of Mac OS
Jean-Louis Gassée wrote
a lengthy article yesterday discussing what he believes to be the future of Apple's Mac OS. With the fairly recent earnings and report (and some previous earnings) as evidence, Gassée notes the incredible amount of revenue that iOS, not Mac OS brings to the company, however he believes Apple has huge plans for Mac OS, and speculates about what might come with the introduction of the newest version of Mac OS X, Lion, which is set for a summer 2011 release.
Gassée mentions the Back to the Mac event held last October, where Apple introduced a completely revamped MacBook Air, featuring, most notably, flash storage, which make for incredible speed increases, and a much lower price point. The message Apple sent was clear, consumers loved having the ease and portability of iOS, but many still needed the power of Mac OS, and Apple was able to deliver.
This is only the beginning, according to Gassée. He believes Lion will further the transition begun with the new MacBook Air. Gassée feels that eventually the iPad and MacBook Air could become one product altogether. How would this possible? Something that has come up before, he believes Apple will be moving Mac OS to ARM architecture. Gassée notes, that something like this is no longer "rocket science" although it could prove difficult for devs to make a transition, unless Apple put a system in place to help devs along (much like they did when Macs shifted from PowerPC to Intel chips.
I wholeheartedly agree with Gassée's hypothesis. I think it is clear at this point that as 'revolutionary' as the iPad is, and as powerful as the MacBook air is, these two products are simply the beginning of a hardware transformation for Apple. It all lines up for me to think that one day these two products could be very successfully meshed, allowing for one piece of hardware to run both iOS or Mac OS, or even combine the two operating systems. I think we're a few years off from finding out for sure, but we could get our first hints if Apple is planning on moving in this direction when Lion comes out later this year.