The next ten years of Mac OS X

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple celebrated three ten year anniversaries in 2011, making 2012 its first full year in its second decade of Mac OS X development, iPod devices and iTunes, and its retail operations, even as the company takes on new business categories ranging from iAd to iCloud to Siri. Here, in part one, is a look at where the company is headed for its next decade of Mac OS X.



The next ten years of Mac OS X: core OS and web technologies



Steve Jobs launched the initial 10.0 version of Mac OS X in March 2001, describing it as a platform Apple would use over the next fifteen years, or roughly the same period of time the "classic Mac OS" had been used to power the Macintosh at the time. When he said that, Jobs also likely had in mind that NeXT, which built the operating system that Mac OS X was built on, was itself 15 years old in 2001 (having existed since his departure from Apple in 1986).



Ten years ago, Apple was leveraging the proven technology and enabling potential of NeXTSTEP's Unix core, software largely being pushed forward by Linux and the FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD open source projects, to deliver Mac OS X as an viable operating system that could compete against Microsoft's Windows NT-based offerings. Over the past decade, however, Apple has become the primary vendor of Unix workstations and has arguably taken over in leading mainstream Unix development.







Apple now owns and administrates CUPS, the open Common Unix Printing System used by Linux and Unix distributions, and has taken the lead in replacing the aging GNU C Compiler (originally released by Richard Stallman in 1987 as the core of a free development toolchain for Unix) with its own, next generation LLVM/Clang/LLDB development tools. Because Macs and iOS devices share the same Xcode development tools incorporating these technologies, Apple now has enormous leverage in deploying technologies that can and will gain broad adoption, something it struggled to do just a decade ago.



A parallel example of this is that Apple has taken over the role of leading development of the open source web browser with WebKit, a move that has pushed the commercial web from supporting proprietary plugins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight to backing the open HTML5 specification, with Apple openly (and freely) sharing its own Canvas 2D HTML5 drawing technology and other community co-developments and advancements related to CSS and JavaScript.



While leading and advancing open development of core OS technologies, tools and platforms, Apple has also achieved a driving position behind open standards. In media, this has shifted the world from incompatible competition between QuickTime's Sorenson codecs, Microsoft's Windows Media, Real Networks and Flash/On2 TrueMotion and replaced it (in just the last few years) with open competition based on MPEG AAC/H.264.







Apple has also bridged incompatible efforts by ATI and NVidia to drive open standards for graphics development and general purpose computing that can take full advantage of advanced graphics processors from any vendor, backing the existing OpenGL and OpenGL ES and developing OpenCL itself as an open specification for spinning off computationally complex tasks to any and all available processor cores. Apple has also supported the Khronos Group's COLLADA 3D format in its new Scene Kit, which appears to have the potential for meshing with sophisticated new mapping appellations Apple has hinted at for iOS (and which have spurred the company to acquire three maps-related companies over the past few years).



While the user interface of Mac OS X Lion (and its iOS sibling) continues to drift toward simplicity, its underpinnings are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with support for new code parallelism, managed by Grand Central Dispatch, to take advantage of multiple cores and new types of processor cores, as well as newer storage technologies (such as SSD) which require new ways of working with data to fully optimize their advantages. At the same time, Apple has finally gotten to the point where it can put down a series of outdated APIs (notably Carbon, the procedural development tools inherited from the classic Mac OS) and focus exclusively on modern 64-bit Cocoa, just as iOS devices have.



Mac OS X and iOS have shared technologies back and forth in each major release. In the near future, Mac OS X is likely to absorb recent iOS 5 feature including expanded Twitter integration; new support for configurable, app and system originating notifications (including getting iMessage from and sharing proprietary IM iChat features to iOS); iOS-exclusive App Store features including in-app purchases and Game Center support; system wide support for AirPlay video distribution (rather than just from iTunes); assistance features powered by Siri and expanded support for iCloud documents (including support in new iWork apps) and data management (such as the reappearance of Settings and Keychain sync between Macs, lost in the transition from MobileMe to iCloud).



On page 2 of 2: He with the gold makes the rules, Simplicity shift



He with the gold makes the rules



Over the next decade, Apple will continue to lead the development of web standards and incrementally share and incorporate core OS technologies with the greater Unix community, very likely on a faster pace than it has previously, simply because it now has a very different position in the technology world that it had ten or even five years ago. Apple will continue to gain stature in pushing the direction of operating system and software development technology, in large part because it is now building the most hardware and earning the most profits.



The company is on course to pass HP in personal computer shipments next year, but it also now has a smartphone and personal music player business that leads Nokia, Samsung or Sony, forcing market research groups to divide Apple's sales into segments so they can be compared in unflattering ways against dissimilar sales of products (the entire mobile market), groups of manufacturers sharing a common element (such as the Android "platform") or mass shipments of products that are not profitable nor sustainable (HP's abandoned TouchPad or Amazon's loss leader Kindle Fire).



Beyond unit sales, Apple also earns far more in revenues and profits than any of the various hardware makers it competes with in device sales. Additionally, Apple is one of the few companies that develops its own software platforms, giving it a unique ability to chart its own future and differentiate its products. The failure of HP's Palm webOS, Nokia's Symbian and RIM's Blackberry are only making Apple more unique in that regard. Conversely, the overall failure of Windows Phone 7 and the fractionalization issues (and pure lack of profit) affecting Android licensees are highlighting the advantages of owning one's own platform (the very reason Nokia, HP and RIM distanced themselves from adopting Android last year).







The future of Mac OS X and its mobile iOS sibling will harness new directions in technology: principally, computers that no longer rely on just faster GHz clocks but can take full advantage of multiple cores and multiple types of cores. Apple's advantage in mobile devices is already evident in the fact that, for example, Android devices like the latest Galaxy Nexus require 1.2 GHz, dual core processors with multiple CPU cores and twice the RAM to match the smooth graphics interface performance of the nearly three year old iPhone 3GS. Windows devices similarly require hotter chips and more RAM just to approximate the functionality of the far less expensive hardware of the iPad, a reality that has forced Microsoft to begin porting portions of its platform to run on more efficient ARM chips.



Simplicity shift



Apple will also continue its efforts to simplify away complexities in the computing world such as the conventional file system, replacing it with cloud-coordinated, secured documents that update intelligently across devices without requiring manual intervention by users. The App Store, iCloud, Internet Recovery, and iTunes Match have already revolutionized how software and content is distributed and stored, increasing erasing the necessity of physical media, which will in turn allow computing devices to become increasingly mobile.







And while Apple revolutionized the computing user interface over the last decade with multitouch gestures, winning an ideological battle against devices driven by primarily by physical keyboards and buttons, Apple's Siri promises to lead a new charge in pushing voice as a natural user interface, something that's even more intuitive than mousing or tapping, and for many people, more accessible.



Although Apple began the last decade by branching out into general purpose devices with the then new iPod (something that subsequently quickly overtook the Mac in sales volumes), it closed the decade with the vast majority of its unit sales (including half of its iPods) being driven by iOS, the mobile edition of Mac OS X.



Going forward, Apple is expected to venture into new markets with its operating system and development tools, increasing its presence in the living room on HTDVs and likely pushing further into the casual gaming market the iPod touch reinvented.



This year also marks the first year of the second decade of iTunes and the iPod, the future of which will be outlined in part two.



The next ten years of Mac OS X

The next ten years of iPod and iTunes

The next ten years of Apple Retail
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    <Steve Jobs launched the initial 10.0 version of Mac OS X in March 2010>



    I think you mean "March 2001".
  • Reply 2 of 67
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,987member
    "Steve Jobs launched the initial 10.0 version of Mac OS X in March 2010." Maybe 2001?
  • Reply 3 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...being driven by iOS, the mobile edition of Mac OS X.



    Pardon?
  • Reply 4 of 67
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    We have five years of OS X left at best.
  • Reply 5 of 67
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    We have five years of OS X left at best.



    This is rather exciting. I think Mac OS 10.7 is a very polished and defined operating system. Every year it seems like the OS gets even sleeker than the prior year. I wonder if Apple will redefine the OS with Mac OS 11 or continue on with the Mac OS 10 numbering system.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feynman View Post


    This is rather exciting. I think Mac OS 10.7 is a very polished and defined operating system. Every year it seems like the OS gets even sleeker than the prior year. I wonder if Apple will redefine the OS with Mac OS 11 or continue on with the Mac OS 10 numbering system.



    Unless there is a major reworking of the underlying architecture of the OS, I don't see a true Mac OS 11 in the near future. The idea of Mac OS X, much like its little brother iOS, is that it is basically the same platform from one version to the next, with added features and refinement as time moves on. Mac OS 11, IMO, would be a complete rethinking of how computer operating systems actually operate, and thus would validate Apple's decision to name it as such.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    As a current user of Windows, and in the spirit of being objective, I believe both Apple platforms and Microsoft platforms both deserve success.



    Currently Mac OSX has tiny market share for PC's, where Microsoft have most of the market share. Whereas with mobile Apple have a high market share, and Microsoft have a tiny market share with Windows Phone 7.5. In both cases just because a company has tiny market share doesn't make the product bad, in fact the competing product is often as good.



    I believe Microsoft deserve more success with Windows Phone 7.5, because it really is a great product. On the other hand Apple also deserve more market share with Mac OSX, again because it?s a great product. I'd love to see a little more balance between the user's of the companies platforms, but that's for marketing, the press, and consumers to decide...
  • Reply 8 of 67
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    What a feat. 1500 words about nothing!
  • Reply 9 of 67
    I don't see any reason why a Mac OS 11 will come about - other than a marketing term. Apple can incrementally improve OSX with any features, including fusing in iOS type features, adding additional chip support, while striving to improve the core. To rebuild a full operating system from scratch seems insane these days, it would just take too long, cost too much, and create compatibility issues. Microsoft for example seem to be sticking to Windows NT, with no other alternative I can see (3.1 to 4.0, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8)



    The version numbers of Apple's operating systems is a little confusing, because Mac OS 1 to 9, where not individual platforms, they were mostly incremental updates (Classic Mac OSX). So because consumers have stuck with OSX for so long, they have to assume there is a Mac OS11 right?



    I think there will be, but it will be a marketing term for this is a big release of Mac OSX. Not a complete rebuild or significant change to underlying systems, like OSX was.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    We have five years of OS X left at best.



    I think that statement is as well supported as the article's conclusion that OS-X is headed towards ever increasing "simplicity."



    Which is to say, I don't think you have any real support or evidence for that at all.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Braden99 View Post


    ... Currently Mac OSX has tiny market share for PC's ...



    You're living in the past.



    For the last three years at least, one out of every four consumer computer purchases has been a Mac. The market share figures don't show this as they are skewed by large corporate purchases, but even if you ignore the sales and focus on overall market share alone it's not "tiny" and hasn't been for a while now.
  • Reply 12 of 67
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post


    Pardon?



    iOS is OS X lite. a lot of the security appliances will detect it as such. it's not some magical written from scratch OS
  • Reply 13 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shogun View Post


    What a feat. 1500 words about nothing!



    "Sour Grapes!" says the Fox.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    You're living in the past.



    For the last three years at least, one out of every four consumer computer purchases has been a Mac. The market share figures don't show this as they are skewed by large corporate purchases, but even if you ignore the sales and focus on overall market share alone it's not "tiny" and hasn't been for a while now.



    Well I’m not sure what word to use instead of tiny, the statistics aren't there to give me a clear picture, but I know for a fact that Microsoft have sold over 500 million copies of Windows 7 since release. 400 million Windows based PC's are predicted to ship this year. Why is large corporate purchases a bad thing, obviosuly these companies trust in Microsoft's quality products. Many of these so called corporate purchases, could be for small to meduim size business', which isn't a bad area to have a foothold in.



    I could also argue their isn't solid evidence of Windows Phone 7.5 sales, but I won’t, because I was making an overall statement, which is more or less true - you can pick at the specifics if you must.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    I'm really surprised to not see more articles/discussions like this after the launch of 10.7.



    To put it in the most simplified terms, if you're naming your OS releases after big cats, shouldn't Lion logically be the "last" release of it's kind, as the "King of the beasts?".



    This is an enormously simple observation to put forward as evidence; but really... what do you call the next release after Lion? Do you switch animals? Or is this the end of the line for OSX as we get ready for OS11.



    I'd say that if we don't get some kind of tease of 10.8 at either WWDC or a special event by the end of the year, that to me would be a sign that something more significant is in the works.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feynman View Post


    This is rather exciting. I think Mac OS 10.7 is a very polished and defined operating system. Every year it seems like the OS gets even sleeker than the prior year. I wonder if Apple will redefine the OS with Mac OS 11 or continue on with the Mac OS 10 numbering system.



    I don't see them going to OS 11 until there is some underlying problem with OS 10 that stops them developing it further. Classic Mac OS needed replacing because tacking on what had become expected features as hardware got more powerful (i.e. pre-emptive multi-tasking) was proving next to impossible.



    I don't see any major features that other OS's have that Mac OS X can't do at the moment, so there is not the same need at the moment.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    You're living in the past.



    For the last three years at least, one out of every four consumer computer purchases has been a Mac. The market share figures don't show this as they are skewed by large corporate purchases, but even if you ignore the sales and focus on overall market share alone it's not "tiny" and hasn't been for a while now.



    I think you're possibly mistaking the USA with the World. One of of every four consumer computer purchases in the world is almost certainly not an Apple, plus the Corporate world accounts for huge numbers of PC purchases, which Windows still dominates.



    I'd love it if Apple really were 25% of computer sales, but it's just not the case.
  • Reply 17 of 67
    What about sabretooth? The best logical follow up, and the coolest looking cat of all
  • Reply 18 of 67
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,245member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Braden99 View Post


    Well I?m not sure what word to use instead of tiny, the statistics aren't there to give me a clear picture, but I know for a fact that Microsoft have sold over 500 million copies of Windows 7 since release. 400 million Windows based PC's are predicted to ship this year. Why is large corporate purchases a bad thing, obviosuly these companies trust in Microsoft's quality products. Many of these so called corporate purchases, could be for small to meduim size business', which isn't a bad area to have a foothold in.



    I could also argue their isn't solid evidence of Windows Phone 7.5 sales, but I won?t, because I was making an overall statement, which is more or less true - you can pick at the specifics if you must.



    The difference between Macs and WP7 is that while both have minority market share, the Macintosh platform is big enough and in the right places to support nearly 5 million +$1000, highly profitable computer unit sales per quarter for Apple. The Mac platform is also important enough to have substantial backing from nearly all major desktop OS developers. It also has an installed base of 60 million users.



    That's all very small compared to Windows PC makers in total (+1 billion installed base), but Macs are far more profitable that PC sales, so much so that Apple now makes more money than HP and Dell and Microsoft and is worth more, despite selling a fraction of their partial component units of the PC.



    Now look at WP7. You can say its a nice product, but that doesn't matter if it's not actually selling units. Microsoft's mobile market share was once nearly 15% or so. WM6 is still around 2-5% (and declining rapidly) while WP7 has barely achieved a 1% blip of smartphone sales, not enough to generate substantial profits for MS or its licensees. It's also not progressing as quickly as iOS (or even Android) and lacks the "mind share" of either, making it very unlikely that things are going to flip around and suddenly become a viable platform. It's far more likely to fade away like the Zune.



    Additionally, this is a story about Apple's next decade of Mac/iOS software. You think WP7 will be around in any form in three years? That's debatable. Apple is clearly set to own tablets, ultra books and PCs costing more than $900 for several years.



    So yeah, that's a pretty vast difference in the status quo and future prospects for the Mac OS and WP7. No amount of comparing unrelated percentages refutes that reality.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    mariomario Posts: 345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Braden99 View Post


    What about sabretooth? The best logical follow up, and the coolest looking cat of all



    Sabertooth is also extinct, because it wasn't fit to survive...
  • Reply 20 of 67
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,245member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post


    I'm really surprised to not see more articles/discussions like this after the launch of 10.7.



    To put it in the most simplified terms, if you're naming your OS releases after big cats, shouldn't Lion logically be the "last" release of it's kind, as the "King of the beasts?".



    This is an enormously simple observation to put forward as evidence; but really... what do you call the next release after Lion? Do you switch animals? Or is this the end of the line for OSX as we get ready for OS11.



    I'd say that if we don't get some kind of tease of 10.8 at either WWDC or a special event by the end of the year, that to me would be a sign that something more significant is in the works.



    That's rather silly, You could have said after Cheetah, there was no room for anything faster.



    The "code name" of the OS doesn't matter at all, nor does the version number. They're both arbitrary marketing names. The only thing Apple needs to concern itself with is making sure that its developing a product the mass market will buy.



    There are all sorts of incremental improvements Apple can make to OS X every year or year & a half. It's pretty stupendous for one to suggest that technology has reached a peak just because one is too unfamiliar with what's on the horizon to understand what might be next.
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