Originally Posted by TheToe
I think it's more than an expansion, it is a major shift (in a good way).
Since the original TRS-80 and Apple II and IBM-PC, a computer has been a box that sits on your desk and runs whatever software you can get loaded onto it.
I agree, although I think it then helps to note at least two additional major steps that we (the industry) have already taken: First, we added networking to the initial isolated PC box model ... and could run programs and access data and use peripherals from other "computers" on the network. Second, computers (still recognizable as such) went mobile, in the form of notebook/laptop machines.
With these (and maybe other) key steps also in mind, it gets clearer that this is an ongoing progression. So the iPhone marks another major step in that progression, but is still part of a progression that was already part of the history and nature of "personal" computing.
With the iPod, Apple began the shift away from the PC and toward the appliance.
Yes, but here I think we also need to factor in the separate (and begun earlier) progression of the emergence (and evolution) of the PDA, as well as yet another thread of the mobile-phone-turned-smart-phone.
But the iPod was really just testing the waters, and was a pretty simple appliance. The iPhone is clearly a new paradigm.
So, as I see it, we have three
appliance threads of interest, each of which began separately: mobile phones, PDAs, and iPods (well, personal digital media players (DMP), to name the category rather than its foremost exemplar). About the time that the iPod thread started, the other two were already starting to fuse, creating the category of "smart phones". And now the iPod/DMP thread begins to fuse with the other two. (The lame music-playing abilities of the ROKR, Treo and various other phones notwithstanding ... they were just foreshadowing something that hadn't truly happened yet.
It isn't really a full personal computer (I don't think you'd want to do page layout on it), but it does replace the PC in a number of ways. And more importantly, it transforms the PC into something much more useful (in a limited number of ways). The more Apple produces appliances like iPhone and Apple TV, the less useful the PC-on-your-desk becomes.
Hmm. That PC-on-the-desk hasn't really become less
useful ... I've just become less dependent on it, as it becomes less and less the end-all and be-all of my computing universe. And, somewhat perversely, perhaps, the appearance of these other appliance computers introduces a new
role for that computer-on-the-desk ... it now becomes more and more of a media/household server, hosting backups, media libraries of various sorts, etc. and putting them at the service of the appliance critters. [Ha. Kind of like the evolution of the corporate mainframe vis-á-vis desktop computers.]
P.S. But to be clear, it is OS X, not Mac OS X... see my post above.
Yes, I did see that. Frankly, I'd never considered the trademark to be "Mac OS X", but simply "OS X", but it seems you do have a point about how Apple actually uses the terms. None the less, I'm inclined to agree with Kickaha, as s/he said in #29:
Originally Posted by Kickaha
Hmm, perhaps we'll see MacOS X get rebranded OS X in 10.5. Instead of MacOS X, you'll have a Mac, running OS X. It's how we all tend to talk about it anyway, informally.
That is, we tend to talk about the OS software as simply "OS X", and the traditional computers as "Macs", so the combo can be glossed as having a Mac that runs OS X. For the nineteen of us who care about such esoterica, it wll be interesting to watch how Apple's branding evolves on this point.
Also, back to the issue of the OS software on the iPhone and how it relates to the, ahem, "Mac OS X" that we're familiar with (which I presume was your core point, rather than simply an observation about branding syntax) ... although the iPhone undoubtedly is constrained in its computing capabilites for now (re: battery, memory, processing power), I think we have just crossed over a critical threshold, in which these (converged) appliance doo-dads are now fully recogniziable as *computers*, and it's just a matter of time (and Moore's Law!) that the software (both OS and applications) will be more and more similar to that on our desktop and notebook computers.