The net is abuzz with one analyst's speculation that Apple will commence a merger of its two OS platforms as early as 2012. In the current context, he might just be onto something.
A US analyst has suggested that Apple may merge its computer operating system Mac OS X with its smartphone/tablet operating system iOS in a bid to boost sales and simplify its product and content offerings for users.
Peter Misek, a technology analyst with Jefferies & Co, made the claims
this week, stating that Apple would progressively merge the two platforms over the course of the next five years alongside the implementation of the company's upcoming A6 processor into smartphone, tablet and notebook lines, starting with the iPhone 5, iPad 3 and MacBook Air.
The Mac OS X / iOS merger could already be more than superficially underway.
Interesting (and fanciful!) stuff -- and advisably taken with a shaker-full of salt. But pie-in-the-sky speculation though it might seem, seen in the broader tech context, a move like this by Apple could also make a lot of sense. How come?
A few years back, the term convergence
was inescapable in tech circles. It was everywhere in the media, and it tended to most frequently be bandied about in relation to portable hardware convergence (phones were assuming hub functionality, absorbing previously divergent technologies like music players, cameras and GPS units).
In 2011, convergence isn't the buzzword it used to be, and it almost feels sometimes like we're in a post-convergence world hardware-wise -- perhaps because the whole smartphone revolution has well and truly gotten under way, becoming the digital centrepiece of a whole generation's work and play. The iPhone has eaten the iPod, as it were, and we have almost as many apps these days as we do MP3s.
And now there's tablets. And together, the rampant growth and success of these two mobile technologies has actually created a new form of divergence: in operating systems. So the new hybridisation we're seeing -- the new convergence that's taking place -- is platform convergence.
In Google's near future, Ice Cream Sandwich, poised to hit this year, will unify the now-distinct smartphone and tablet versions of Android. For Microsoft, Windows 8's launch next year looks set to help bridge the gap between desktop and tablet OSs, while RIM is also aligning its smartphone and PlayBook tablet singularly around QNX.
Against this backdrop of convergences that are public fact, Apple merging Mac OS X and iOS might at first seem a bit ludicrous and far-fetched, but it could also be the logical move in a world where all its competitors are seeking to collapse their multi-platforms.
A lot has been made of the cosmetic iOS-like touches put into Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and of the impact of the iPad on the later MacBook Airs' design. Perhaps these synthetic similarities have been more than skin deep?