iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

Summary: Some think that Mac OS X Lion 'tries too hard to be iOS'. But have you seen Windows 8 recently? Apple and Microsoft are bringing mobile to the desktop.


While many have noticed the similarity between iOS and Mac OS X Lion -- one looks at Windows 8 and sees very much the same thing with Windows Phone 7.

Though it shouldn't come as, or be seen as a criticism, it is wise in the rise of the tablet device to have an operating system which is seemingly fitting and consistent across devices -- Apple's Mac OS X to iOS, and that of Windows 8 and its phone operating system, Windows Phone 7.

Gallery: New MacBook Air, Mac mini

The difference is, however, that while Mac OS X Lion will not run on iOS devices, like iPhones or iPads, Windows 8 will be installable on tablet devices, giving an interface designed for tablets, likened to the phone operating system.

It's not copying, nor is it sneaky product placement. It's common sense.

One could argue until the cows come home whether the post-PC era is yet in full swing. Incorporating Mac's into this, often left out of the loop for reasons relating to the Mac vs. PC divide, the tablet market is booming and the iPad is putting down its competitor's day in and day out.

As mobiles have become more powerful over the past three years in particular, some mobile devices are as tough, as powerful and as capable as some laptops are for what they can offer back to the person using it.

But one might say: "the iPhone is not as powerful as the new MacBook Air". In terms of functionality, it really is. Power is relative and is entirely subjective to what one can do with it.

If the Norwegian prime minister can run their country from an iPad in the midst of the Icelandic volcano, that is one massive point scored in the mobile camp.

Though many in the technology media are claiming that "Lion tries too hard to be iOS", I can't agree.

I think it succeeds, rather than tries, and for good reasons.

Just as Microsoft is taking the same approach by throwing in mobile features into the next version of Windows, it makes sense to bring the two polarised -- and vastly competing mobile and desktop arenas -- ultimately it means the experience will run smoothly across from the desktop to the mobile.

In the coming years when Windows 8 is released, the desktop experience should be, and perhaps will, be consistent across mobile devices to desktop machines.

But the key is in the tablet. If Microsoft can pull off the tablet productivity margin, then that in itself could be Google+ to Facebook: a high-end competitor, with yet a lot to learn.

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, Windows

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  • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

    The thing I'd like to see with Metro UI is the glossiness of times but in a changeable wallpaper background--something that <b><i>COULD</i></b> come as close to that of KDE (sort of like a newspaper layout but more detailed -- in Linux, but that is just me.

    Mac OS X with a look of iOS (the icons in the iMac that look like iOS) is as beautiful as I've ever seen, even if it's simplistic.

    For a tablet with KDE, I could have a Search and Launch activity with a big digital clock in the top of the screen and switch to another activity with a newspaper layout in it.
    Grayson Peddie
  • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

    I don't agree... input and use is different on different devices. Devices should be customized to work best for the way they are... not a one-size-fits-all mentality. Making something easy to use doesn't mean making it the same on any device so that when you learn one you are familiar with them all... it means actually making it easy to use so you can figure it out easily and not even need to know it before hand.
    • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

      @doh123 Well this is why iPad can't (and never will) run Mac apps, and Mac can't (and never will) run iPad apps. While many of the ideas from iOS have been "back ported" to Mac OS X Lion, it is still a "pointer based UI".

      There are some areas where things seem to have gone a bit far (iCal and Address Book - I'm looking at you) in generally things are successful. In some places you can see the iPad is bound to get ideas from Mac OS X (because the way Mail now shows related messages is FAR nicer than iOS, and would be a perfect fit).
  • Except Apple gets it right.

    It's not as garish and ugly as Metro and the tiles. The subtle changes are there and you can revert to a normal desktop or a blend.

    Then again Apple didn't get it 100% right - the default scrolling is UNNATURAL but it's a click away to revert it back. There's a few other niggles but all in all Lion rocks.
    • Lion buttons only come up when you hit launchpad

      @itguy10 ... and you could just remove launchpad from your dock and have the old experience again. I don't know what is going on with Windows, but I sure as hell have no interest in 'tiles', and I only use Windows at work. Work is an unpleasant 'experience' no matter how you slice it, and facing tiles to launch apps would make it no better.
      • Who would have thought it?

        Neither HollywoodDog or itguy10 like a Microsoft idea.

        I am shocked. :P
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8


        You don't have to use Launchpad. I looked at it once and said "meh" and went right back to my Applications shortcut on the dock.
      • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8


        Grid of icons is a bunch of images that just sit there and look pretty.
        You need live tiles to get real work done.
    • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8


      Garish and ugly they may be to you, but tiny static icons don't do it for me and the Wp7 UI and design make a lot more sense than Apple's crowded desktop approach. The tiles are large and dynamic and therefore have the area for updates and useful info. As well as touch they're also usable by gesture as well as the dependable keyboard and mouse as they're also a lot easier to target.

      and everyone over 40 appreciates a phone or a screen they can read without glasses or surgery ;-)
      • Windows 8 UI much better than OSX

        @tonymcs@... <br><br>Couldn't agree more. MS has done something I never thought they would be able to do, and that is surpass Apple with their UI design. The Metro design is minimal, clean, puts the content as the focus, uses typography and visual hierarchy in a very elegant manner.<br><br>All the fancy chrome effects in an OS crowd the view screen with unnecessary visual elements and distract from what matters most, the content.<br><br>Apples Grid of icons looks outdated instantly when compared to Win8.<br><br>And while yes, each type of device should not have the exact same interface as the requirements for usability change, the language should remain the same. Windows 8 will be one OS that can adapt its UI to the device it is installed on. That is BRILLIANT, and really a common sense solution to the clusterfvck of various versions of OSes out there now.
      • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8


        Well, the majority of people seem to prefer the "other" guys rather than the nastiness that is Windows Phone 7. This is evident by it's abysmal showing in sales.

        That being said, I never understood the huge nasty tiles approach on a small screen. Never made sense and many of those tiles have you scratching your head and saying "what?".

        I'd imagine the mess will be about the same on Windows 8. MS doesn't really know how to make a good UI anymore. Areo is a usability nightmare (even compared to Windows XP) and Metro is just nasty.

        Metro is like the 40 year old that tries to be hip. But everyone is just laughing hat him.
      • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

        @tonymcs@... Hear hear!!! The tiles are a new paradigm across phones, PCs and Xbox!! Woohooo!!!!!!!!!
      • Windows Phone 7 - sending waves of excitement...

        @tonymcs@... all the way to downtown Bellevue!
    • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

      @itguy10 Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I just see the tired and old taskbar and icon metaphor throughout OSX/ipad/iphone!
      Metro is a game changer!! Beautiful tiles which display information and can be accessed via mouse, touch and kinect!!
      • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8


        Exactly! The Tiles not only show information from each app that a user would normally have to open on another OS, but they serve as a great way to create a unified UI across all devices.

        I really think MS has hit it out of the ball park with this new direction and the nay-sayers have their heads buried in the sand. But thats fine by me, because while we are all breathing the fresh air that is the future of MS devices, they'll breathing in sand and living in the past.

        I LOVE the live tiles on my WP7 phone. Some third party apps need to get better at using this functionality, but its off to a great start!!
      • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

        @jatbains, OS X has had "Beautiful tiles which display information and can be accessed via mouse" for several years now: I guess you overlooked them.

        In OS X since Leopard (IIRC) any file in Rich Text Format (RTF), PDF, M4V, or M4A or one of many other formats, you click "Icon view" and use the slider to increase the icon's size - up to 512 bits.

        At that size, you can actually read the text in a PDF document, or play the movie/icon, or read the rtf/icon or listen to the icon. (For the text formats, there are even arrows to allow you to scroll through the document in icon view.) This is because OS X document icons are actually little snapshots of the document contents - not just static pictures. (Well, when the icon represents dynamic content, like film or music, the icon can be dynamic too.)

        I agree that information rich icons - call them "tiles" if you prefer - are helpful, because they help to distinguish files on the basis of the appearance of the file's contents. It's another good argument for OS X.

        Of course, under OS X, most document formats also have a 'Quickview' which means that huge icons (or "tiles") aren't always necessary. If you click on a little icon, but still can't recognise the contents of the file, then pressing the space bar will bring up the full sized first page of the file or film or ...
  • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

    They are all copying the original concept of UBUNTU. Linux for human being..
  • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8

    People overestimate importance of tablets.
    People overestimate importance of "one UX to rule them all".

    It just do not make sens. Tablets are nice, and will have good portion of market, but they will not kill anything. Also Desktop UX is still, and will be different. This "merging" is just bringing new ideas that could evolve in mobile, to other side.

    Certainly, too much fuss.
    • RE: iOS-like Mac OS X Lion, meet WP7-like Windows 8


      tablets are the next generation of laptops. They are merely an evolution of the mobile PC. While yes, they will not replace all desktops, there are a LOT of mild PC users out there that don't need much more functionality than what a Win8 tablet would offer (but more than what iPad offers).

      As a designer, I will always need some sort of solid desktop platform. But my mom who browses the web, checks email, views pictures, and edits Office docs doesn't.
  • You have it backwards in one paragraph:

    "Just as Microsoft is taking the same approach by throwing in mobile features into the next version of Windows, it makes sense to bring the two polarised ..."

    Actually, Apple announced their plans for OS X Lion in autumn of last year, before Microsoft showed what Windows 8 will be like. To it is Microsoft who takes the approach just as Apple did. However, many argue if tile scheme will really do much good on 27-30" screens.