Could Apple be merging iOS and OS X in 2012?

Analysts have suggested for some time that the future of Mac OS X could be merging with iOS. With Lion released in July and the new features added, such as Launchpad and Mission Control, comparisons have quickly been drawn between iPad features and newly-introduced desktop features. These comparisons were made even with developer builds of the operating system, before it became publicly available. According to Techradar, a note sent by Peter Misek to Apple investors suggests that the two operating systems could be merged together in the near future. Misek's note reads:   

"We believe Apple is ready to start sampling the A6 quad-core app processor and will be the first to such multi-device platform capable of PC-like strength."

The A6 is Apple's next-generation processor, boasting four cores. It is possible that this processor could eventually form the backbone of Apple computers; though it could also form the core of future devices running iOS or a unified operating system. According to Misek's note, the merging of the two operating systems may occur during 2012. Other significant quotes from the note are as follows:

"Users want to be able to pick up any iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or turn on their iTV) and have content move seamlessly between them and be optimized for the user and the device currently being used. Apple can use a 32-bit ARM architecture to address the vast majority of the OS X ecosystem's needs in 2012-13 except for high-end professional devices. When 64-bit ARM is available in 2016, we believe Apple will have a single OS and hardware architecture."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Misek's claims have been refuted by other Mac experts and analysts. Other analysts have used statements and comments made by Steve Jobs himself during different Apple keynote presentations. With Apple's current CEO situation, the weight of Jobs' comments may no longer be what it once was. The 'iTV' is interesting to consider, for discussions of Apple moving into the television market have been rather common as well. The term 'iTV' likely refers to the Apple TV digital media receiver, though it may also mean a future television produced by Apple. The idea of an Apple-marketed TV has been shared before, but whether or not the concept will bear fruit or not is still to be confirmed.

Graham Barlow, the editor-in-chief of MacFormat magazine as well as Tap! The iPhone and iPad magazine has contested the view, with the following statement:

"After a lot of ergonomic testing Apple decide that a vertical touch screen was a bit of a disaster, which is why we haven't seen a touchscreen Mac. And all the new gestures in Lion are done on a trackpad. For this reason I can't ever see the same OS being run on a desktop computer with a vertical screen and a keyboard and on a tablet device like an iPad - you use the two devices in fundamentally different ways."

The first line, about a 'touchscreen Mac' references a comment made by Steve Jobs at the 'Back to the Mac' expo of October 2010. During the expo, Jobs was quoted as saying the following:

"Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical"

This could be taken as a dig at some Windows PCs that boasted touch-screen monitors in the past, though it could also be used as a counter to the idea of a touch-screen Macintosh machine. Of course, a touch-screen Macintosh could still be very much on the cards in the future, should its appeal be sufficiently high. Not only this, but if the claims of Apple's two operating systems merging are accurate, it could be the future.

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My dreams of the perfect MacBook are becoming reality with the way Apple are moving forwards. Imagine the same shape MacBook pretty much but when you open it out there is another screen in place of the keyboard.

You can use the bottom screen for keyboard, app switching, and pretty much everything you would use the mouse for. Would certainly invoke extra creativity from myself.

Quapps said,
My dreams of the perfect MacBook are becoming reality with the way Apple are moving forwards. Imagine the same shape MacBook pretty much but when you open it out there is another screen in place of the keyboard.

You can use the bottom screen for keyboard, app switching, and pretty much everything you would use the mouse for. Would certainly invoke extra creativity from myself.

I don't remember who, but an OEM already did that with Windows 7.

Assuming Apple is getting CPU from Intel for $100+and Chipset for $30+. Using a Apple made SoC could potentially save $100 off the current baseline Macbook Air. On a 30% margin based profit, a $1000 Mac would have an BOM + Extra Cost of less then $700. $100 saving would be ~15%.

While the maths looks attractive enough. There are more problems that needs to be solved
There are no High End Model ARM. A Quad Core A15 ARM SoC is for BASELINE Macbook only. Remember The Dual Core Intel CPU can already do 4 threads, not to mention the Dual Core Intel CPU will still be a lot faster then Quad Core A15.

We need 64 Bit, more then ever as we move on. Making 32Bit Desktop OS switch in 2 years time doesn't make sense.

Then there is also Intel Haswell, which will be another Pentium 4 to Core 2 Duo Leap in performance, and with much lower TDP as well.

The only time when Apple will / could move to a total ARM powered product line is when ARM deliver 64 Bit CPU, Powerful Enough CPU for Desktop Class Computer. And even with the rumored Nvidia Devour 64 Bit ARM, we are still talking late 2013 before we see something that could be possible for such move.

And then there is Intel trying to move into the Smartphone space, who knows Intel wouldn't make a Atom then is low powered enough for iPhone / iPad. They have already surprised us with TSMC making Atom SoC already.

Why do analysts come up with the most absurd crap that doesn't even make sense or have any basis?

Xilo said,
Why do analysts come up with the most absurd crap that doesn't even make sense or have any basis?

Exactly. Until Apple can figure out how to combine touchscreen and pointer based operating systems in a way that does not suck on both, I don't see this happening. ARM processors however are becoming more and more powerful so I wouldn't be surprised if we see those in Airs etc in the future. But not in 2012.

Honest question... DON"T HIT ME!!!

Is there ANY possibility of Jobs implementing native exe (C: directory install of win programs) on OS X future installments without emulators? Some of my programs break apart and stop working because they don't have support with WINE or Crossover etc.

If not, why?

Answer: No
Why: it's not Windows

If you need to run Windows programs reliably, run Windows (bootcamp or virtualization - VirtualBox is free)

Izlude said,
Honest question... DON"T HIT ME!!!

Is there ANY possibility of Jobs implementing native exe (C: directory install of win programs) on OS X future installments without emulators? Some of my programs break apart and stop working because they don't have support with WINE or Crossover etc.

If not, why?

I highly doubt it to be honest. It's unlikely that Microsoft is interested in licensing its libraries to Apple, and it's unlikely that Apple wants to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft or alienate its OS X developers by enabling Windows applications to run natively. For the two or three apps I sometimes need from Windows, I just run VMWare Fusion.

I'm having flashbacks to Jobs saying they wouldn't be making a phone... I think he'll be reconsidering the screen statements...

So this rumor suggests that what iOS will go to the Mac or something? Because desktop OS X wont look good on an iPhone. Running multiple apps at once won't work on the iPhone screen it's too small. But they can't switch it around and make the desktop OS only run one App at a time because that would be asinine.

This rumor just makes no sense at all. iOS and OS X share the same base but use different user interfaces and that is the way it is going to stay.

Vice said,
So this rumor suggests that what iOS will go to the Mac or something? Because desktop OS X wont look good on an iPhone. Running multiple apps at once won't work on the iPhone screen it's too small. But they can't switch it around and make the desktop OS only run one App at a time because that would be asinine.

This rumor just makes no sense at all. iOS and OS X share the same base but use different user interfaces and that is the way it is going to stay.

No, not OSX on the iPad, but iOS on the desktop with OSX underneath. It's just as asinine.

I swear the people that post hear on Neowin are some of the most anti-apple people I have ever seen. It's just funny to watch. I just took my droid tablet back and got an ipad 2 instead. Much better.

Boyd Petersen said,
I swear the people that post hear on Neowin are some of the most anti-apple people I have ever seen. It's just funny to watch. I just took my droid tablet back and got an ipad 2 instead. Much better.

Apple fanboys are worse than anyone else, you just proved my case too

z0phi3l said,

Apple fanboys are worse than anyone else, you just proved my case too

Actually, fanboys from all sides are the same. Uninformed, ignorant, and they buy strictly because of the label.

And I think you proved his point.

Boyd Petersen said,
I swear the people that post hear on Neowin are some of the most anti-apple people I have ever seen. It's just funny to watch. I just took my droid tablet back and got an ipad 2 instead. Much better.

It makes good conversation, and there's good sides to both pro-Windows and pro-Apple bias.

I often ignore all "fanboy" comments since they're usually members who are under 15 and/or still in school. Fanboys are usually the type of persons who believe their choice in browser/OS is the most important decision of them all.

You can see it happening right now. If you are messing around with the developer for ios you can see the integration happening and it seems to be a nice and welcome step.

I think the name "OS X" will simply be replaced when they release Lion's replacement. What a lot of people forget is that, at their core, OS X and iOS are already the same OS. The biggest difference between the two is that on OS X, Cocoa libraries are started with NS (for example, NSTableView), whereas on iOS, they're started with UI (UITableView). From the user perspective, the difference is the same as moving from an iPhone to an iPad: the user interface is much different, but apps can run on both.

My theory is that, for the next OS X, Apple will allow one app to be on all three "versions" of iOS. So you'll download an app on your iPhone, and iCloud will (as it currently does) download that app to your iPad, and also to your Mac.

But I don't see them moving away from Intel next year. The two OS's will be brought closer to being one, but that doesn't mean OS X needs to run on ARM.

Apple definitely has the money to go a couple of years if Lion is a failure but given Apple users will buy anything, they shouldn't have anything to fear.

Why is Lion a failure? It's a great operating system.

norseman said,
Apple definitely has the money to go a couple of years if Lion is a failure but given Apple users will buy anything, they shouldn't have anything to fear.

Never going to happen. The reason in that both platforms need each other. With out Macs, you can not create applications for iPhone & iPad. OSX Lion adapt some of the best features in iOS & that will be it.

Saad_Salman said,
Never going to happen. The reason in that both platforms need each other. With out Macs, you can not create applications for iPhone & iPad. OSX Lion adapt some of the best features in iOS & that will be it.

So? You create OS X apps on OS X... You don't think they can merge the OSes a bit more than they already have and still have development tools? I think this would be among the last of any possible problems...

UI Consistency is all right folks....but what would be more interesting to see how Apple adapts to a completely finger based interface for PC usage.....and ditch the three decade old pointer precision - mouse controls!!!! I would be more interested towards how would they implement that...and I am pretty sure that if at all they are planning to implement what this article says, this should be one of their major headaches!! Thousands of software (particularly graphics) depend upon the precision which mouse provides for their very functionality and all this unification of OSs would be rendered meaningless if Apple doesn't implement a way to provide that!!

So, it would be even more interesting is that will they be willing to succumb to the competition and offer pen support as well (Read Windows 8 tablets) !!

Mohitster said,
UI Consistency is all right folks....but what would be more interesting to see how Apple adapts to a completely finger based interface for PC usage.....and ditch the three decade old pointer precision - mouse controls!!!! I would be more interested towards how would they implement that...and I am pretty sure that if at all they are planning to implement what this article says, this should be one of their major headaches!! Thousands of software (particularly graphics) depend upon the precision which mouse provides for their very functionality and all this unification of OSs would be rendered meaningless if Apple doesn't implement a way to provide that!!

So, it would be even more interesting is that will they be willing to succumb to the competition and offer pen support as well (Read Windows 8 tablets) !!

By ditching the mouse completely and forcing the trackpad upon its users? But the thought of using a smartphone OS on a laptop or desktop disgusts me. I guarantee that if Apple does it, without fail, the other brainless idiots running HP, Dell, ASUS, Acer, etc will all follow suit.

Just think: "New Dell Dimension Desktop with a 1 GHz Snapdragon Processor, 25GB HDD/SSD, running Android 4.5! Only $799! Now with Verizon's blazing fast 4G/LTE network!"

Edited by Kevin Flynn, Aug 7 2011, 8:14pm :

Kevin Flynn said,

By ditching the mouse completely and forcing the trackpad upon its users? But the thought of using a smartphone OS on a laptop or desktop disgusts me. I guarantee that if Apple does it, without fail, the other brainless idiots running HP, Dell, ASUS, Acer, etc will all follow suit.

Just think: "New Dell Dimension Desktop with a 1 GHz Snapdragon Processor, 25GB HDD/SSD, running Android 4.5! Only $799! Now with Verizon's blazing fast 4G/LTE network!"


Yuck, scary thought... We've already seen a few android based laptops, not a very pretty sight...
True, honeycomb work a bit better (as shown by the transformer), but still... NO, just NO!

bjoswald said,
I think it's a good idea. I'm a big fan of UI consistency.

So am I.

But iOS and OS X are different operating systems and built for different purposes. There should not be consistency between the two.

We're starting to see merged features (consistency) between iOS and OS X and, as it stands, it does not work.

bjoswald said,
I think it's a good idea. I'm a big fan of UI consistency.

You won't see a consistent UI between Macs and iOS devices. It'd be usability suicide if we had iOS style homescreens on a full blown PC. If anything, they'll do similar to what Microsoft are doing with Win8, and have a common code base, but different UI based on the form factor.

Majesticmerc said,
If anything, they'll do similar to what Microsoft are doing with Win8, and have a common code base, but different UI based on the form factor.

Yes, and then Apple will come first with that "idea" and will be called innovative. I can already see it happen. It's pathetic.

Shadrack said,
Next year? Yeah right... Maybe in 4 or 5 years.

Look at what they've done with Lion, they already started the merge

z0phi3l said,

Look at what they've done with Lion, they already started the merge

Yeah. Lion JUST came out. I give Apple at least 2 years until their next desktop OS.

Shadrack said,
Next year? Yeah right... Maybe in 4 or 5 years.

Next year is unlikely however 4-5 years seems to far ahead. There have been rumours circulating in the past year suggesting Apple will switch their MacBook line to ARM-based procesors in 2013.

Doubtful. They just did a massive shift from PPC chips to X86 chips. I don't think they can jump again and switch from X86 to ARM.

What will more than likely happen is they will merge the OSes to a large degree and their tablets will be ARM based, but retain a lot of the full OS X functionality. Similar to what Microsoft is planning with Winodws 8. ARM based tablets that have a lot of the Windows experience (but lacking full ecosystem app compatibility) while allowing the X86 world to still exist and flourish.

Frazell Thomas said,
Doubtful. They just did a massive shift from PPC chips to X86 chips. I don't think they can jump again and switch from X86 to ARM.

What will more than likely happen is they will merge the OSes to a large degree and their tablets will be ARM based, but retain a lot of the full OS X functionality. Similar to what Microsoft is planning with Winodws 8. ARM based tablets that have a lot of the Windows experience (but lacking full ecosystem app compatibility) while allowing the X86 world to still exist and flourish.

I agree, though they could do something like rosetta, or do a hardware solution which would allows both x86 and ARM code to seamlessly run on both machines and run it natively.

Frazell Thomas said,
Doubtful. They just did a massive shift from PPC chips to X86 chips. I don't think they can jump again and switch from X86 to ARM.

What will more than likely happen is they will merge the OSes to a large degree and their tablets will be ARM based, but retain a lot of the full OS X functionality. Similar to what Microsoft is planning with Winodws 8. ARM based tablets that have a lot of the Windows experience (but lacking full ecosystem app compatibility) while allowing the X86 world to still exist and flourish.

Microsoft seems to be doing a better job with Windows 8. Although it offers a fully coverged tablet and desktop experience, there is a strong degree of separacy between the two. That, and the addition of legacy compatible are big strengths.

Apple's merge of iOS features in Lion seems rushed and unpolished.

spudtrooper said,
If they want to compete against windows 8 which will do that, then they will have to. Having 2 os's to maintain gets costly

Lion just came out and from my experience its a big of a mess, its like someone just threw a bunch of stuff in a bucket and called it OS X lion. Windows 7 feels just clean and tidy by comparison.

Actually I feel the reverse is true. Lion is very clean just as snow leopad ws. Windows 7 is messy, hard to get around and makes me less productive. Lion is much more fluid and integrated. I personally think you got it flipped around.

Deviate_X said,

Lion just came out and from my experience its a big of a mess, its like someone just threw a bunch of stuff in a bucket and called it OS X lion. Windows 7 feels just clean and tidy by comparison.

spudtrooper said,
If they want to compete against windows 8 which will do that, then they will have to. Having 2 os's to maintain gets costly

Well they already are one OS though, the core is mostly the same, just different shells so to speak. Besides, MS will be maintaining two OSes, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Boyd Petersen said,
Actually I feel the reverse is true. Lion is very clean just as snow leopad ws. Windows 7 is messy, hard to get around and makes me less productive. Lion is much more fluid and integrated. I personally think you got it flipped around.

Hmm, personally I think it's a matter of opinion
I sure wouldn't call Windows 7 mess or hard to get around, I suspect you are to used to a different OS.
I wouldn't call Lion messy either though, seems like they made many improvements, the codes of launchpad seem to have been a bit lazy though, from what I hear it's rather buggy and you have no easy way to remove apps from it the fact that some apps stay after being uninstalled only makes it worse.

spudtrooper said,
If they want to compete against windows 8 which will do that, then they will have to. Having 2 os's to maintain gets costly

OS X Lion is brilliant. I got a MacBook Air with it installed, and every moment with the OS has been like heaven. Windows 7 is simple, but OS X gives you power, while remaining simple from the surface. I believe OS X is a true developer OS.

Dessimat0r said,

I believe OS X is a true developer OS.

You're kidding me right? Even though I don't use/like Linux, I'm gonna say that Linux is THE true developer OS, not OSX.

Dessimat0r said,

I believe OS X is a true developer OS.

OS X is not an adequate developer OS.

OS X provides a easy and intuitive UI for its end-users; however that should not be mistaken as power for developers. I would never develop on OS X unless I was creating iOS apps.

In the past, Windows was not any better -- with its various DLLs and system configs. However it is certainly getting better (e.g. Direct X, common file repository). Windows 8 will only simplify the development experience even more with HTML5, low system requirements and legacy compatibility (ahem *Rosetta*).

Boyd Petersen said,
Actually I feel the reverse is true. Lion is very clean just as snow leopad ws. Windows 7 is messy, hard to get around and makes me less productive. Lion is much more fluid and integrated. I personally think you got it flipped around.

LaunchPAd and Mission control are a messy way to integrat iOS.

Dessimat0r said,

OS X Lion is brilliant. I got a MacBook Air with it installed, and every moment with the OS has been like heaven. Windows 7 is simple, but OS X gives you power, while remaining simple from the surface. I believe OS X is a true developer OS.


That's because you are using an SSD. Get an SSD for windows 7 then proceed..Apple fanboys don't think.

FarCry3r said,

You're kidding me right? Even though I don't use/like Linux, I'm gonna say that Linux is THE true developer OS, not OSX.

Well if you still like ANSI-C, then yes it's a developer OS…

Ricardo Dawkins said,

LaunchPAd and Mission control are a messy way to integrat iOS.

The constant screen switching from one random set of icons to another random set icons is utterly pointless.

Dessimat0r said,

OS X Lion is brilliant. I got a MacBook Air with it installed, and every moment with the OS has been like heaven. Windows 7 is simple, but OS X gives you power, while remaining simple from the surface. I believe OS X is a true developer OS.

Try and Install the 'developer' XCode from the app store how silly your comment is.

Boyd Petersen said,
Actually I feel the reverse is true. Lion is very clean just as snow leopad ws. Windows 7 is messy, hard to get around and makes me less productive. Lion is much more fluid and integrated. I personally think you got it flipped around.

I would say both are true to an extent. One factor is that anybody intimately familiar with one of the two platforms is going to tend to feel that it's the more natural to work with. For example I use Windows 7 and on the very rare occasion I use OS X I find that it's at least comparable as a user experience, but it still feels like driving on the opposite side of the road. The same is probably going to be true in reverse with experienced Mac users who don't use Windows much trying Windows 7.

I couldn't speak from personal experience as to which is better for inexperienced users, as when I encountered both Windows 7 and OS X for the first time I already had a substantial experience base that would invalidate my judgement. I would need to have a lot more experience of OS X to compare the two in general. I might get a MacBook Air at some point, depending on how that compares at the time with Windows 8 devices . . .