Thursday, June 9, 2011

No more Mac?

Since 1984, the operating system for the Mac has always begun with the "Mac" prefix. First it was Mac OS and later, Mac OS X. Apple has been very consistent about that. They never called is "OS 9" or "OS X". Apple always used the "Mac" prefix. But if you look at Apple's page for the next version of the Mac operating system, for the first time, that's no longer the case. Lion is called "OS X Lion" all over their website.

Why? I think Apple is trying to transition to a single brand for their mobile and desktop operating systems. Certainly, many of the features in Lion were inspired by features in iOS. And it would make sense for Apple to want their users have a common user experience between their iPhone, iPad and iMac or MacBook. Steve Jobs said that the Mac and PC have been "demoted" by iCloud to being "just another device." Apple is not content for the desktop to be the digital hub because the desktop digital hub is not always available. The cloud is, so by keeping all of your devices in sync via iCloud, they make it easier for you to own more devices. At least, they make it easier to own more Apple devices. And that only makes sense because Apple is a hardware company.

So the rebranding of Mac OS X to simply OS X is Apple's first step towards a single name for their two operating systems. One day you will see all the devices they sell as being so similar in user experience that there will be few barriers to stop you from buying more of them. And that's the point, removing the barriers that prevent prospects from becoming customers.

What do you think? Why would Apple remove the "Mac" prefix from Mac OS X?

On a related note, in this blog post, Bob Cringely stated that the iCloud's real purpose is to kill Windows. iCloud might indeed be the final missing ingredient that makes the iPad a realistic option for Windows users looking to replace their current PC. After all, when considering a new Windows PC versus an iPad, price is no longer an issue. However, I don't think Apple spends time thinking about killing Windows. I think Apple spends its time thinking about creating great products. Anything else that happens is nothing more than a byproduct of that thinking.

This all may make me sound like an Apple fanboy. I'm certainly a fan of theirs. However, I'm a fan because they have consistently made great products. There are plenty of companies for which I'm a fan for the same reason.


Antonio said...

Steve was very clear about the strategies, remmember when he anounce the cancelation of the xserve?

he said, we are a mobile device company, i think that is wrong, i think in the future, when the processors reduce their size, and the memory storage increase the capacity and low the cost per MB, ios will disappear and Mac os X will be the all apple device OS

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

ios or osx in combination with icloud or not.... who cares... it just works. and this is the strongest value of apple products...

I am asking you geoff, when os x is situated a step back in the same row like all the other iDevices, how will realsoftware deal with this? I mean you put the web to realstudio while cocoa is still somewhere pending... what is your conclusion and long term targets for realstudio? said...

Tomas has a good question. As Apple seeks to unify the form factors (desktop, phone, tablet, web) in the minds of the average user... how is Real Software reacting with its strategy?

Will we see a mobile/tablet version of RealStudio? Will the desktop and server versions advance into multi-core support (aka x10)?

It would seem that a number of companies in the ecosystem need to align their strategies to Apple's new directions. What does the future of RealBasic look like for us?

Bob Boice said...

I think Real Software has a great opportunity to ride along the technology wave with Apple. I recently decided to spend more time learning about and developing for the OS X and iOS platforms - even bought a MacBook Pro. My last 10+ years has been with Visual Studio on Windows. I chose Real Studio because of it's commitment to Apple technologies and its ability to also let me remain in the Windows development world for now.

I'd definitely like to read more about Geoff's vision for Real Studio. I want to feel more secure in my recent decision to upgrade my Pro version to an Enterprise license versus jumping to Xcode or other development tools.

Geoff Perlman said...

Our Cocoa support has improved dramatically in R2 which should ship later this month. Several beta users have said their apps now compile and work with few if any issues using our Cocoa build option. So Cocoa is really coming along and I think we can safely remove the beta label starting with R3 later this year.

We are fully committed to support mobile devices, iOS in particular as that's what we get the most requests for. Remember that it was only last September that Apple changed their license agreement to even allow third party development tools for iOS.

In order to support iOS, we must complete our transition to LLVM. We continue to make progress towards that goal and in fact, have an engineer at WWDC this week specifically to discuss LLVM issues with Apple's LLVM team.

Once the transition to LLVM is completed, we will begin working on our iOS framework.

Regarding the question about multi-core support, you can do this today by creating console apps that act as helper apps to your main application. You then communicate with these helper apps via IPC sockets. The great thing about this solution is that it eliminates all of the hassles normally associated with thread safety in multi-core applications. It's a nice, simple solution. It's not as ideal as having a pthread class in the framework, but even if we had that, it would come with a host of thread safety issues.

Bottom line: We are deeply committed to adding the important platforms that our customers need and are investing in the future with LLVM and 64 bit support.

Jim said...

The dropping of the 'Mac' and creating a singls OS which runs on desktop to tablets for Apple makes sense.
Microsoft Windows 8 (2012?) OS will also be a single OS for desktops and mobile devices. Microsoft's problem is they don't get to control the hardware; but, recently they notified the device manufacturers to pick ONE processor vendor or risk loosing "certain incentives". Another words, if you want to pay 'X' for the OS; Microsoft wants a finite number of hardware combinations they have to code for.

TJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TJ said...

Let's try that again - this time without the oops...

I've been calling Apple the iPod company for over 5 years - the writing was on the wall even back then. Whether this dropping of "Mac" from the OS name was intentional or the Freudian slip of their marketing team, it's really not a surprise to many of us.

It is my hope that the growth strategy in the mobile arena doesn't totally kill off their desktop strategy. However, in the shadow of the "one OS to rule them all" strategy, they were very proud of the Mac system growth over the past quarter, so I suspect there's still a bit of life in the desktop world at Apple.

Regardless of how "complete" they make the mobile/portable experience, there's no way to beat real multi-core power, oceans of RAM, and a pair of 24" monitors for musical score or film editing. It would be a shame to witness a mass exodus of music, film, and TV teams because of the new "Mobile Apple."