Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

Summary: With OSX beginning to feel more and more like iOS, how long will it be until Apple merges the two platforms? According to one analyst, the move could happen as soon as 2012.


If you have spent any time at all with Lion, the latest upgrade to OSX, you may have noticed how much like iOS the whole deal feel as times. It's not bad, exactly - just strange. It's also evidence that Apple could one day merge to two platforms.

But would Apple really go that far? That's the theory supported by Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek, who says that the move, which could happen as soon as next year, would both improve Apple's margins and make it easier to share content across devices.

Only problem with that theory, of course, is that Apple already has a way to make it easy to share content across devices: It's called iCloud. Apple wouldn't need to merge two distinct operating systems solely for that reason.

More likely is that the move would make it as easy to use as Mac as it is to use an iPad - a major boon for the less tech-savvy consumers out there. Merging iOS and OSX would make the process of moving from and iPad to a Mac seamless. And that's the very sort of thing customers have come to expect from Apple.

So Misek is both right and wrong. Apple very well could merge iOS and OSX, though the move wouldn't have anything to do with iCloud. Nor is it likely to happen as soon as 2012.

[TechTraderDaily, Forbes]

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Operating Systems, Software

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  • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

    It is possible, having said that I don't trust the so called Financial Analysts at Wall Street.
    Ram U
    • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst


      I didn't know Jason Perlow was a Wall Street Financial Analyst?
      • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

        I am not talking about Jason Perlow, I am talking about Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek.
        Ram U
      • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

        Where was Jason Perlow involved in this? Is he working for a Wall St firm now?
    • Possible, but not very probablÑ?; and yes, analysts are ignorant and stupid

      @Rama.NET: (most of them)
    • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst


      Agreed ! "Financial Analysts at Wall Street" is an oxymoron. Or maybe just moron.
  • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

    So you wouldn't be able to run Flash on a desktop Mac? And all software would have to come through iTunes? Um... no thanks.
    • Like Flash would be relevant


      Adobe have already got out an HTML5 development package out now. And you can install stuff other than the App Store. Methinks you are trying too hard.
      • HTML5 isn't final...


        As for installing without the App Store? Not on iOS (at least not without Jailbreaking).
      • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

        @ shryko<br>Not really.<br>1) HTML5 apps can be installed with not problem on iOS devices. It makes no difference if the final HTML5 spec has been released or not. That is totally irrelevant.<br>2) More to the point, side-loading of apps outside of the App store has been supported for a while now. Where have you been?
  • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

    So Apple is going for the opposite of Microsoft's approach so far with Windows.
  • A little Far Fetched...

    I think that the look and feel may get closer, but iOS is a touch centered OS, and OSX is geared for the Desktop, which to me is the right approach. The latest with Air Drop and iCloud, along with Air Play, makes it really easy to share and stream Content around the home.

    A complete merge of the software could result in the orphaning of thousands of OSX apps, not a good business plan if you ask me.

    The unified feel of it though makes sense.
    • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

      +1. Yes there would be a disaster and OSX will become another Windows ME if the apps suddenly stop working after upgrade.
      Ram U
    • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

      As a developer, I'm not sure how I could use iOS to develop applications :-). Also, merging the two systems would mean that iOS would have a "visible" file system structure, Xcode, etc. (developing apps on a touch device is not something I'm looking forward to). An alternative would be to have the dev tools and infrastructure remote, but you'd still have to use some touch approach to development. Really?
  • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

    If you read what the analyst guy actually wrote, he claims that MacBook Air will switch from MacOS on Intel to iOS-like system on ARM while MacBook Pro will remain on Intel as it is.
    This supposedly allow to share applications and will lead to some "synergies". Sounds more like forking MacOS than merging.
    • OSX/iOS hybrid?


      Your post reminded me of several related things from which I was able to jump to a conclusion ... of sorts.

      First, people inherently interact differently with desktop & laptop computers vs tablets and smartphones. The form factor of the latter makes them more suitable for a touch-centric interface because you're physically holding them. With desktops and laptops, however, it's somewhat awkward to be touching and pushing on the screen all the time. (Though you'd never think that, judging by all the fingerprint smudges people get on their screens in our office.)

      And since direct (touch) and indirect (via input devices) interaction are not entirely similar, forcing either onto a device designed for the other would seem less than optimal. Not very Apple-like.

      But ... then I remember that Apple was granted a patent for a device that operates one way (say, like OSX) when the display is vertical and another (say, like iOS) when the display is horizontal. The same could be triggered when the device (an iPad) was nestled into a keyboard/trackpad dock, thus essentially converting it to a laptop. (It could be a desktop ... but the screen isn't that big, which to me is the most notable difference -- aside from portability -- of a laptop vs desktop.)

      Now, when you think about it, the big difference between a tablet and a laptop is basically the touch screen ... and that keyboard thing (forgetting issues like Flash ... which is less and less of an issue each day). If Apple were to equip MacBooks with touchscreens, they'd essentially be like a big iPad that was permanently mounted to a foldable keyboard dock.

      So, how tough would this be to do? Well, when Apple intro'd the iPhone several years ago, they explained that iOS is essentially OSX Lite with a different UI. I don't know how accurate that it is, but it seems logical. Assuming it's true, then it should be fairly trivial to have one OS (iOSX?) with two UIs that it switches in and out of as appropriate. Of course, it would be best if they functioned similarly enough all the time that the only things that change are natural changes that don't confuse a user. For example, the touchscreen might still function perfectly well in vertical orientation ... even though people might do most of their work with a keyboard and mouse/trackpad then ... because you don't want it being non-responsive if someone does reach out and touch the screen.

      As someone else pointed out, iOS might need to be opened up a bit to allow installation of programs from USB drives or other sources. But supposedly Apple is working on better sandboxing technology that might make that possible without raising security issues.

      It seems not only plausible to me that Apple might eventually merge the two platforms, it seems likely. I wouldn't be surprised at all if, in a year or two, MacBooks are much more like iPads running a hybrid OS. That would allow Apple to actually eliminate the MacBook product line, leaving the ultra-portable iPhone/iPod Touch; the tablet iPad with optional keyboard/trackpad dock; and the Mac desktops, all running a shared OS.
  • Main impediment is very different security models, backward compatibility

    The OSX and iOS environments have very different takes on security. OSX is what I call a traditional, "open barndoor" model which has few impediments to the user adding a new application, even one that compromises security.

    Apple is expected to come up with a security fix, closing the barndoor after the horses are long gone.

    iOS takes a less programmer friendly, closed approach more like manufactures take to refrigerators.

    To merge the two operating systems would seem to require the inclusion of backward compatible OSX features into iOS. Which would mean that Apple forfeits the low maintenance aspect of iOS.

    What I am saying here is that there is more to merging the two operating systems than simply achieving superficial similarity.
    • &quot;classic mode&quot;

      like they did with Mac Classic (OS 9), they added a VM to support the backwards compatibility stuff.

      Yes, it'd be more than just the superficial change, but for Apple, it may be their path of choice for the non-pro lines.
  • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

    Good lord. The only thing about Lion that feels like iOS is Launchpad and Mission control! The rest of it still operates just like OS X! If anything, the full screen apps feel like Windows.
    • RE: Apple could merge iOS and OSX next year, says analyst

      Agreed! I would add the Mail app in Lion, which very much behaves like Mail in iOS. Other than that, Lion is very similar to Snow Leopard.