OS X and iOS to Begin Merging Next Year, According to Analyst
Yes, Mac OS X Lion is obviously very iOS-like, and now we’re hearing again that Mac OS X and iOS will begin merging late next year into a single unified OS. This is speculation according to Jeffries & Co analyst Peter Misek, who also suggests the parts of the Mac lineup will be moved away from Intel CPU’s after the introduction of a quad-core A6 CPU.
The speculative report suggests the big changes will start at the end of 2012, and the first Mac to move to an ARM A6 CPU would be the MacBook Air, followed several years later by the MacBook Pro and iMac lineup. Here’s the meat of the post on Barrons:
“We believe Apple is looking to merge iOS (iPhones/iPads) with OS X (Macs) into a single platform for apps and cloud services starting in 2012-13.” Specifically, Misek sees the Macbook Air gaining Apple’s next processor, the “A6,” as he calls it, in the second half of 2012, or some time in 2013, following the debut of the chip in the “iPad 3” in the first quarter of 2012, and in the “iPhone 5” next summer.
Misek thinks MacBook “Pro” models and Mac desktops will stick with the current software and Intel processors in order to maximize 64-bit application compatibility, but that they, too, will switch over to an iOS platform by 2016.
Misek suggests the motivation behind the OS X and iOS merger is for better gross margins and licensing deals, where purchased media content will work on any device and be available via iCloud – although apparently nobody told the analyst this ability already exists now with iTunes.
This really isn’t terribly surprising speculation, and we’ve heard talk of Apple ditching Intel CPU’s before. Also, both iOS and Mac OS X are built upon the same underlying architecture anyway, so merging the two in name wouldn’t be a particularly shocking event. Apple does seem to be easing Mac users into an eventual transition with the introduction of things like Launchpad, fullscreen apps, and other iOS-like features embedded into OS X Lion.
But will a big OS unification happen next year, so soon after Lion’s release? I find that unlikely, just consider how vastly different Mac OS X Lion and the upcoming iOS 5 are in raw functionality and you can see such an event is still years away from occurring. Putting on my own speculative cap (I’m an analyst now too, can I get paid for this?), I think we’ll continue to see Mac OS X releases that are pushing towards iOS simplification all the while iOS becomes increasingly full featured, eventually merging into something like “iOS X” that runs on all Apple hardware. That hardware could be something like the touchscreen iMac that was found in an Apple patent last year, that transitions between a desktop Mac OS X and a touch iOS UI based on the hardwares screen orientation.
If you think this is far fetched, even Steve Jobs hinted at the coming change at the 2010 D8 Conference, speaking with the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg he said of the “PC”:
“PC’s are going to be like trucks, they’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value [they will just be used by less people], this transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long ways… “
You can watch that part of the interview below if you haven’t seen it:
And it’s not just Apple, even Microsoft is looking to do the same with Windows 8. So long story short, Peter Misek is loosely right, anyone can read the writing on the wall across the entire industry, but it’s not going to be some huge change next year.