One OS to Rule Them All

Most people think that Apple has two operating systems — iOS and OS X — but the reality is that Apple is creating one OS right before our eyes, piece by piece. Apple unveiled OS X Mountain Lion on Thursday, dropping the “Mac” label from the name in the process. It’s not a rebirth of Apple’s flagship computer OS, but instead transforms some of OS X’s most important apps into perfect counterparts to Apple’s most popular iOS apps. iChat is no more. Instead, it is being replaced by Messages, which is interoperable with the Messages app on iPad and iOS. Reminders is being divorced from iCal, and iCal is becoming Calendar. Notes is become a standalone app from Mail. Game Center, Notification Center and iCloud are making their OS X debuts. If that weren’t enough, OS X Mountain Lion is introducing Gatekeeper, which will, by default, limit the apps you can install to apps from the OS X store or verified Apple developers. Oh, and one more thing: OS X Mountain Lion boasts complete integration with Twitter, just like iOS. Microsoft will need Facebook integration in Windows 8 more than ever if it’s going to catch up to Apple (remember, Microsoft is a Facebook investor). These changes come on top of the additions Apple introduced with OS X Lion, which introduced Launchpad and the Mac App Store. Apple is pushing iOS and OS X closer and closer together. In three years, you’re going to barely be able to tell the difference between the two, especially with OS X now employing a yearly development release cycle. Apple wants you to have one seamless experience across all of its devices, whether it’s the iPad, iPhone, Macbook or the highly anticipated Apple television set. Everything you do on one device should simply “be there” on the other ones. That’s where iCloud comes into play. It is quickly becoming the cornerstone of Apple’s products, and its influence will only grow. Here’s my prediction: in four years or less, Apple will not have two operating systems. It will have one unified OS with one brand and one development cycle. You may think the two operating systems are too different to merge, but remember that iOS was derived from OS X. “The iPhone runs OS X” was even Apple’s official stance when the device was first unveiled. Apple’s clearly merging iOS and OS X. The only question is how long it will take Apple to make it happen.
  • Joshua BJorge

    I couldn’t agree more. This is just the way of the future. 

    • Anonymous

      Ah, the future …”If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever. We control life … at all its levels.”

      Orwell was right :-(

  • Nitin Bansal

    this is one insanely great approach to fasten the development of your products at even less costs, thus to counter the competition coming from microsoft and google by undercutting them in price and technology…

    • Adam Ruffin

      its too easy i mean i can throw something like together in ten mins it took me 7 hours to build the ice cream sandwitch lol i mean people didnt want to sponsor me on it so i turned it off sorry android who ever answers the phones at apple and samsung didnt pass the message to the high i guess they were thinking they could build it on there own i see its still not working sorry google voice

      • Seriously Epic

        Your punctuation keys aren’t working,

        • Nitin Bansal

          hahaha…true…@Adam: seriously, ur punctuation keys aren’t working…no hate, just a plain laugh… :-)

  • Anonymous

    “Microsoft will need Facebook integration in Windows 8 more than ever if it’s going to catch up to Apple”

    Microsoft has something better called “Contracts” in Windows 8, similar to Android “Intents”, through which apps can share data between them, no need for specific one-by-one Twitter integration like OS X or iOS 5.

    • Nobody

      This. I am horrified by the idea of our freaking operating system taking sides in social media. Android has Intents, Microsoft pretty decently cloned them for Contracts. Web Intents are really the answer going forward  because desktop applications can use them and they can be used to build intricate interapp data sharing for web applications as well.

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  • Porter Haney

    I believe that it will be one OS with two UIs. For instance, you’ll have a device that will look like an iPhone or iPad when you use it like an iPhone or Ipad, touch screen, big icon dashboards. When you plug that device into a docking station and monitor, it spits our a more OS X like OS. Though it’s still the same OS, just a different view of it, now that you’ve got more real-estate. I like to think of it as a responsive OS.

  • Andy Fleming

    People don’t realize that this is more about making Apple’s desktop OS “touchable”. The have been slowly progressing the interface to be more touch-friendly, rather than just “like iOS”.

    However, the fluidity between the devices, iPhone, iPad and Mac will be very beneficial in the future.

  • Woody

    Well put, looking forward to the day :)

    Very interested to see how this influences Facebook’s holdings, especially with their difficulties in mobile. Would love to see FB release apps in iOS for each of their core products. FB is a platform afterall, and their current mobile solution is treating their flagship apps (Wall, Photos, Events, etc) as features in one kludge of an underperforming app. 

  • Ben Greenwood

    You know, should this prove to be the case I will simply HAVE to invest in a MacBook…but then what do I do with my iPad? :)

  • Joer

    “should we talk about cheese?” xD

  • Anonymous

    The feature to keep an eye on is Gatekeeper. I said a few years ago that the day was coming when you couldn’t install software on the Mac without Apple’s approval, just like on iOS. People called me crazy, but it’s clear that’s the direction they’re heading. The next version will probably remove the option to install from anywhere. When that day comes the Mac will no longer appeal to me at all.

  • JaviPas

    That was clear from the moment Lion was launched. And even more clear when we knew that Bertrand Serlet abandoned Apple after that release. The path Mac OS X (Ups, wrong, “OS X”) has taken is a dangerous one, but one that clearly puts mobile devices ahead of the traditional desktop or laptop. 

    Microsoft was late, but it has taken a good path imho: Windows 8 will be THE OS to rule them all, but with a critical difference. 

    Apple wants us to have an iPad on the desktop.
    Microsoft wants us to have a Windows PC on a tablet. 

    The latter makes sense to me.

  • Flabio Doci

    wow apple just wow….