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OS X Operating Systems

Mac OS X May Go Embedded? 129

Posted by Zonk
from the stranger-things-have-happened dept.
VE3OGG writes "Apple Insider is reporting that Apple may very well be developing an embedded version of OSX. The report details what they believe will be the next step in Apple's future, which is extending its consumer electronics division. The first child of such a marriage between OSX and consumer electronic may be the oft-rumoured, not-yet-materialized iPhone — which it also asserts may well be released next fiscal quarter. It seems to be their opinion that with both the desktop and the phone running operating systems with similar underpinnings, 'expansive opportunities' would emerge."
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Mac OS X May Go Embedded?

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  • iPhone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by catbutt (469582) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:41AM (#17346266)
    Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daviddennis (10926)
      Why not?

      Apple hasn't announced it yet, so we can still call it anything we want.

      Certainly it's an unambiguous term. Everyone knows what it means when on an Apple enthusiast site. (Are there any Linksys-enthusiast sites?)

      D
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by sethstorm (512897) *
        Yes, there is such a group [linksysinfo.org].
        • by adzoox (615327)
          But why does it matter when that is the "accepted rumor mill term"? Also Apple owns the trademark for the name iPhone in several dozen foreign countries, the domain iPhone.org, and realistically, a cellphone with an MP3 player is very different from a VOIP 802.11 phone - I think Apple could get away with calling it an iPhone. They also have a public project called the "iTV" but Steve Jobs has said it won't be called that, that's just the codename for now. This is like Apple saying, without saying that the "
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by daviddennis (10926)
            I wouldn't consider that ad credible, because I don't think they'd give up the clickwheel + button interface that has been their trademark since the beginning of iPod time.

            I think that if Apple really wanted the iPhone trademark, they would have negotiated with Cisco to buy it, starting many moons ago when they first got serious about the product. I don't think it would have been terribly expensive since Cisco didn't even use it until their new line of VOIP phones came out, and I don't think iPhone has the
            • by Redlazer (786403) *
              I dont recall the article, but it was on Slashdot not too long ago.


              In the article, it explaineed the possibility that Apple would be moving away from their famed clickwheel to a... well... different approach.

              -Red

              • by adzoox (615327)
                Exactly, and any negotiations over the iPhone name with such a large company that Apple couldn't control all the loose lips woul;d have certainly given away that Apple is indeed producing a cellphone ... therefore ... no negotiations. Has anyone ever considered A) It's only called the iPhone as a codename, or B) Cisco/Linksys released an "iPhone" to make the name a lot more valuable. That's what I would've done! Then sell the name for twice as much and divide the extra cash amongst my immediate staff.
        • It's a very different type of enthusiasm, though. Looks like it's mainly about how to get linksys routers to do cool things. That is a very nice thing but it's totally different from the almost religious fervor with which Apple rumor sites work.

          I wonder if this is because a religion needs its Devil, and of course Apple has a ready-made one in Microsoft :-). Insofar as I know, Linksys competes on a pretty level playing field with other routers.

          D
    • not any more (Score:5, Informative)

      by artifex2004 (766107) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:26AM (#17346450) Journal
      Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?


      The term I have seen lately is "iChat Mobile."
      • by billsoxs (637329)
        This would fit with the software - not unlike iTunes with the iPod. BTW - I was in a far away land for a while recently and found the VoIP part of iChat to be reasonably good. I had not used it before. It allowed me talk to my wife and kids which was really nice with a 5 year old.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Duncan3 (10537)
      We're still calling it an iPhone. Cisco is trying to trick Apple lovers into buying their crap, and any judge with a brain would rule that way.

      When they launch it, we'll just have to tell people to go get a "real iPhone" a [what-they-call-it].

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rix (54095)

        We're still calling it an iPhone. Cisco is trying to trick Apple lovers into buying their crap, and any judge with a brain would rule that way.
        No, no judge will ever let Apple lay claim to the lower case "i", any more than they'd let anyone else claim eGarbage. They should have come up with a more unique trademark.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 7Prime (871679)

          Which is too bad, because from a creative standpoint, it's one of the more ingenious marketting naming techniques I've seen in some time. "Anyone can put a lower case i in front of a word and make it their own!" is a silly arguement, because noone else did, that is, until Apple started doing it.

          Trademarking should be based on creative thought that went into a unique idea... whether it's a single letter used in a unique way, or a new madeup word... both are creative usages of language. Now, you can argue t

          • Don't you remember the late 90's? There was eThis and iThat all over the fucking place.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by shadow349 (1034412)
              Don't you remember the late 90's? There was eThis and iThat all over the fucking place.

              You mean like eWorld [wikipedia.org] (1994) and iMac [wikipedia.org] (1998), for example?
            • by 7Prime (871679)

              Well, Apple's only used eSomething once, and the only iSomething I can remember in the late 90s is the iMac, which is there's, so what's you're point?

              eSomething and iSomething are incredibly different, though. One comes out of the shortening for Electronic Mail to eMail, which is techy and hip sounding. iSomething has no greater meaning, other than the "i" is a personal reference, it's friendly, it's non-threatening, it has a general reference to eSomething naming, yet inspires a bit of fun and innocence.

          • iProcurement and iStore are two of their CRM offerings.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MacDork (560499)

      Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?

      I'm guessing yeah, [iphone.org] still calling it that.

    • Re:iPhone? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 23, 2006 @02:55AM (#17346834)
      They should call it the Personal Information Exchananger.

      Apple PIE
      • by hey! (33014)
        Brilliant. And teh Apple PIE could come with a custom socket, something like an RJ type thingy but not compaible, into which you plug cables from other devices. I can't think of a clever name for that one though. "Apple Socket" doesn't sound right. "Apple Receptical" doesn't do it either.

        Oh, forget it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by macmastery (600662)
        You laugh, but the division of Apple that produced the Newton and Pippin was called "Personal Interactive Electronics" or PIE for short.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lars T. (470328)
      And that isn't even the first iPhone [freenet.de] product shipping (since last year). Freenet already filed to get a trademark in Germany in 2004, but the German Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant it because iPhone "was already in general use for internet phones".
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)
      Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?


      I'm waiting for Apple to unleash its lawyers on Cisco for infringing on the "iName" trademark. Since Apple has well-established the iName (iChat, iLife, iTunes, iPod, etc.) I wonder if this would be a legitimate trademark infringement case. After all, when you say "iPhone", don't you first think Apple?
      • by gordgekko (574109)
        Yeah, those Apple lawyers are very scary...to bloggers who love the company. Has Apple ever won a major lawsuit against a competitor over a real issue?
    • by sokoban (142301)
      I would say that most likely an iPod phone will be released under the iPod brand rather than creating a new iXXX brand for it. Say, maybe an "iPod cell" or "iPod phone"
  • by arb (452787) <amosba@ g m a i l . com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:43AM (#17346276) Homepage
    Would it kill story submitter to actually read the article before creaming his jeans over the rumoured iPhone?

    Wouldn't the first use of an embedded OSX be the already announced iTV [wikipedia.org]? Even TFA only rates the (rumoured) iPhone as one of the first, not the first. And the (rumoured) iPhone isn't mentioned in relation to the "expansive [interactive] opportunities".

    Poor summaries distort a Slashdot story yet again...
    • Wouldn't the first use of an embedded OSX be the already announced iTV?

      Yegods! Insightful?

      Don't you think iTV will use an almost bog standard version of OS X? It's a computer connected to a TV, with a remote control. It's not going to be much different from what loads of people do with their mac mini already.
      • by Brendor (208073)
        I thought iTV would do much less than a computer. It only needs to display menus (simplified front row), cache streamed content, and adjust picure settings. It doesn't need to, say, run iMovie.
      • by kherr (602366) <kevin AT puppethead DOT com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:22AM (#17346438) Homepage
        Based on the meager info, slips from Disney execs and rumors, it seems like the iTV could be a lot less than a Mac mini. Sure, many are using the mini as a home theater server (I'm one of them). But it's a full-blown Mac OS X computing environment with user home directories and the ability to run any app. The idea of the iTV (from my understanding) is that it's a remote TV displayer with some internet capabilities and maybe a HD for storage.

        Seeing how Steve Jobs like single-purpose devices, I could see the iTV being more like the Airport Express or even the WRT54G. An embedded device like that would be more reliable than a general Mac OS X system, since there are fewer breakable (software) parts. An embedded device also has the benefit of instant-on, which is what everyone expects from their consumer appliances.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DECS (891519)
      It is highly unlikely that the iTV will be anything at all Mac-like. Instead, it will almost certainly be an iPod with display outputs rather than a screen, and audio out rather than a headphone jack. All it needs to do is generate animated TV titles, just like those presented in today's iPod games.

      By being a cousin to the iPod, it would share much the same hardware internals and custom designed software. It would really be insane to suggest that Apple would create an entire new distribution of the desktop
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Apple Insider is reporting that Apple may very well be developing an embedded version of OSX"

    1-Faster booting.

    2-More immune from viruses.
  • How novel (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:52AM (#17346314)
    So Apple is looking to extend the reach of its operating system, perhaps scaling it down a little so it can run on smaller consumer electronics like phones? Maybe it could figure out a way to incorporate as many features of the OS in the embedded system as possible, like giving it the power of being able to run various bits of software, making it compatible with various legacy packages in the regular OS. Heck, they could slap a nice color LCD screen on it and give it the ability to do almost everything, from viewing websites to playing MP3s.

    How progressive. It's a good think their competitors over in Redmond haven't thought of that, because if . . . oh wait. Never mind.
    • by f0dder (570496)
      What was WinCE suppose to be about?
      • by rolfwind (528248)
        Having all the bloated cons of a regular computer with none of the pros of any other PDA (once the battery ran dry in a measly 2-3 days even when the thing was off, you could kiss your data goodbye).

        (2-3 years back, I bought a navigation system once which used a Windows PDA as it's hardware/software base. I couldn't quite get why anyone wouldn't buy a Palm over the PITA and POS that was WindowsCE. Still, I suppose it has a few uses.)
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by calciphus (968890)
          Palm is a dying OS. Windows Mobile 5 has a massive library of applications, and doesn't require you to learn another language. Plus, the ability to sync with the ever-more-popular exchange servers wirelessly...even Palm is putting Windows on their devices...

          Sorry, but I can't stand an "os" without a file explorer or remote sync abilities.

          On, and most of them don't lose memory any more readily than palm devices anymore. So boo-hoo, your 2-year-old GPS system wasn't a great PDA. My phone is a better GPS syste
  • Not bloody likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebichete (223210) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @12:54AM (#17346326)
    Operating system that consists of BSD layered on top of a microkernel, whose only compelling feature is its rather excellent UI, wants to compete in embedded space.

    This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no and the aforementioned UI is irrelevant.

    If this is true, colour me stupefied.
    • Re:Not bloody likely (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:00AM (#17346350) Homepage Journal
      This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no and the aforementioned UI is irrelevant.

      Indeed, but reading the article rather than the summary:

      developing an operating system based on the core technologies of Mac OS X for use with embedded devices.


      It could just be a pared down Aqua running on a different kernel (Linux, qnx, symbian, WinCE?).

      Heck, a line that vague, could be describing just about anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ebichete (223210)
        It's not just that sentence that is vague, it's the whole article.

        The article also reads like a press release, instead of the inside scoop AppleInsider would like us to believe it is.

        I mean, who else but marketing would write:

        industry leading integrated model and software advantage

        So much verbiage, such little content.
    • Would the increasing power of small devices possibly render this argument obsolete? I seem to remember reading about 300-odd mhz processors in these devices, and I know a 400mhz G4 can run Tiger pretty well.

      After all, we just need to drive a tiny screen. That's a lot fewer pixels than you see on a MacBook or even the old Titanium PowerBook that ran on a 400mhz processor and 256mb RAM.

      D
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by empaler (130732)

        Would the increasing power of small devices possibly render this argument obsolete? I seem to remember reading about 300-odd mhz processors in these devices, and I know a 400mhz G4 can run Tiger pretty well.

        Apples and pears - I have a 196 mhz phone that can barely run Windows Mobile. ("haw haw, I have a 3 ghz desktop that can barely run Windows XP, it's the software makers that are to blame" - not completely).
        Yeah, they have been achieving very high clock speeds in embedded processors, but the processors themselves are nowhere near as complex as a "real" processor.
        Seriously, my phone is slow. I purchased it to do away with multiple units (cell phone+palm pda) but in the end, I've been walking around for 6 mo

        • This could be a problem with Windows Mobile, of course, but it could also be greatly constrained by RAM.

          I have a 2.8ghz PC that can run Windows XP very well, but that's because I don't use it to browse random web sites and so it doesn't have the usual virus and spyware burden most such computers have.

          When I checked out a Windows Mobile phone a while back, the biggest disadvantage was what looked like a user interface designed by Neanderthals. In particular, it seemed incredibly hard to use as a phone. Was
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by empaler (130732)

            When I checked out a Windows Mobile phone a while back, the biggest disadvantage was what looked like a user interface designed by Neanderthals. In particular, it seemed incredibly hard to use as a phone. Was this also part of your problem?

            That was exactly the problem. The entire interface was slow and buggy, especially the phone part of the interface - though that was mostly fixed by firmware upgrade earlier this year (it even upgraded my GPRS to Edge - w00+).
            Until the firmware upgrade, I would experience that I'd miss calls even though I had pushed the 'Receive Call' button because the phone was slow to react. It would randomly put on the WM5 version of the hour glass (looks like a precursor to the Mac OS X wait cursor actually), and the s

            • When I tried the various competing smartphones, I liked the Blackberry the best. If I were buying one today, I think I'd go for the Blackberry Pearl, although I'd have to test its keyboard again to make sure. I thought that phone was just beautifully designed. Pity the ssh implementation is $95. Ouch.

              But as it is, I'm going to wait for the iPhone, assuming it's announced soon, and then compare. I would be pretty surprised if I would wind up with the Pearl after seeing the iPhone, but of course time wil
    • Re:Not bloody likely (Score:5, Informative)

      by mclaincausey (777353) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:35AM (#17346478) Homepage
      *snip* This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no *snip*
      Microkernels are already in use as RTOSes on embedded devices. See QNX (a rather popular example) and Phoenix-RTOS for starters.
      • The difference is that QNX has been polished for a very long time, and is much more efficient than Darwin is. I think they'd probably have a lot of work to do if they wanted to catch up with QNX. Also of importance, is that as you say, there are already popular and compelling examples in the embedded world of micro-kernels. I just can't think of anything that an embedded OS X would offer that doesn't already exist. However, I doubt that if they are trying to go embedded, that they'll attempt to enter th
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ebichete (223210)
        QNX and friends are a very different kettle of fish. They run things like networking, filesystems and display managers as "user processes" and have a tiny microkernel core. Licensees can easily exclude (or not load) whatever modules they don't need and run with the basic minimum.

        As I recall OS X consists of the monolithic BSD atop of a microkernel and the networking, filesystems and display are all in the BSD layer. It's not comparable to QNX and I would not draw any conclusions from the success of some pro
        • I'm not drawing any such conclusions, I'm simply pointing out that the sweeping generalization in the GP was wrong.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jcr (53032)
          Although quite different from QNX, Darwin's kernel is still not all that big:

          8488 -rw-r--r--@ 1 root wheel 4343332 Sep 8 17:19 mach_kernel

          4.3 megabytes, roughly speaking.

          -jcr

    • by Bottlemaster (449635) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:48AM (#17346534)
      Operating system that consists of BSD layered on top of a microkernel, whose only compelling feature is its rather excellent UI, wants to compete in embedded space.

      This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no and the aforementioned UI is irrelevant.

      If this is true, colour me stupefied.
      What makes you think that Unix or microkernels aren't scalable? QNX is pretty much both, and it takes the microkernel design much further than OS X.

      Even if the UI was OS X's only strength, that's the most important feature they can bring to the embedded market. With today's fast, low-power embedded processors, anybody can write software that is functional and reasonably responsive. The UI for anything with a full-size keyboard was mastered 50 years ago, but UI is where embedded devices often fail. Apple apparently has some skill at it, because from what I've heard, the iPod's UI is what sets it apart from similar devices (that and being white and shiny I guess).
      • by ebichete (223210) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @02:35AM (#17346738)
        First a few generalizations. QNX scales well, especially from desktop class machines downwards. The monolithic Unixes scale well, especially from from 386 class machines upwards. Linux uses some rather interesting techniques to scale better than conventional Unix does in the downward direction.

        Now, OS X has both a microkernel and a monolithic kernel. It implements most operating system services in the monolithic layer. This means it loses the primary benefits posited by a microkernel design while possibly incurring the "defects" of both approaches. It is not a microkernel design, it is an operating system that has a microkernel. The guys at NeXT were not interested in the lower layers of their operating system, they were focused almost entirely on the user space (and especially GUI) experience, and they nailed a good part of what they set out to do.

        The GUI of OS X is very well done for a desktop GUI but it is not directly transferable to the embedded market. What is transferable, however, is the UI design skills that Apple has. That is why the iPod is such a great device, not because of OS X.
        • by Bottlemaster (449635) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @02:52AM (#17346810)
          What I meant to say, but better said.

          Microsoft didn't just port 95/XP to ARM and call it Windows CE/Mobile; nor will Apple do this with OS X. If they do enter the embedded arena, they'll (hopefully, for them) create an OS that not only satisfies the additional efficiency requirements of the embedded world but also follows the same user-oriented design principles as OS X.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by 7Prime (871679)
            Bingo... the underlying layers are really not important in this. As long as Apple can create a small, Quartz or Quartz-like graphics engine, they'll be able utilize their existing skills to come up with an "OS X-esque" but mobile-oriented user interface. It's Quartz that sells OS X, not Darwin.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      QNX's Neutrino [qnx.com] is basically BSD layered on a microkernel and from what I've heard is the most highly regarded embedded OS out there. I don't know where you the got the idea you couldn't or shouldn't use a microkernel in an embedded system.
    • whose only compelling feature is its rather excellent UI

      And I think that's it. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, or been available for some time. Sure, you're going to see some Apple branded features like iTV, but I've yet to see how that's really that much better then similier things under a different format.

      The only things that can elevate Apple above the competition are the same things they've been doing for some time: An easy and intuitive user interface and product design. Both of
      • by 7Prime (871679)

        But it always revolutionizes the industry and the way people think of their gadgets. MP3 players would have stayed exactly that, fancy gadgets that everyone loves to show off, but still keep a DiscMan in their back pocket. Now, not only do people "enjoy" using their portable music players, they don't even really give it a second thought.

        Blackberries and cellphones have become used out of neccessity and habit, but they're still aggrivating as all getup, and don't really much inspire people to pick up and u

    • I/O Kit (Score:3, Informative)

      by maggard (5579)

      Well, and an entirely different driver model, known as I/O Kit [apple.com].

      That & the XNU kernel design might be attractive to some developers over the Linux models. Maybe. Possibly. Inside Apple.

    • by hattig (47930)
      It depends on your definition of 'embedded'. Quite often embedded means both integrated, low-power and rather weak actually.

      However take the iTV device. Most likely this runs on cheaper hardware than x86. It could very well be an iPod on steroids. It could be a >500MHz ARM based device with dedicated video hardware. Now 500MHz isn't a lot by today's standards, but Mac OS X will run on ~300MHz Macs. Yes, ARM isn't PowerPC either, but I guess that a high-end mobile graphics core these days beats an 8MB Rag
  • Didn't RTFA but Macosrumors.com reports the embedded version of Mac OS on the iPod phone/iChat Mobile/Apple Phone to be a significantly expanded version of the iPod firmware.
  • by astrashe (7452) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @01:03AM (#17346362) Journal
    (This is pure hot air, and not informed by much actual knowledge. Hah! I beat you to saying it!)

    For a long time before they switched, we kept hearing about x86 versions of OS X.

    The impression I have is that they developed that version of the OS so that they'd always have the option to switch if they had to, not because they knew they were definitely going to switch when they started work on the x86 version.

    It makes sense for them to to an embedded version, just in case. If they ever decide they want to jump, they'll be in the position of polishing something they already have, rather than starting from scratch.

    And if they want to play with prototypes of things like iPhones, they'll have a really clear understanding of what it is they'd be bringing to market. They can build them, and play with them, and figure out if they'll suck or not, look at them realistically in comparison to what other people are selling, etc. Then if all of the planets are lined up, they can ramp up for a real product.

    Imagine that MS had kept a few guys building audio players for all the years the iPod has been out, and that they had built a few generations of prototypes in the lab, and leaned on them for a few years. When people at the top of the company decided it was strategically important for them to be in that space, they'd have been able to jump in in a different way than they did.

    MS decides that they have to be in music players, then they star a massive effort to get there. The decision is made before anyone really knows how what they'll ultimately produce will stack up against the iPod. If they had a few guys making music players for years, they'd have a much better idea of how their product would stack up before the decided to jump in.

    So I'd be inclined to interpret this as a sign that Apple wants to stay within striking distance of the embedded market, not that they're definitely going in. Apple's not going to make a crummy iPhone. If they do it, they'll want it to be the best phone ever. They're not going to trash their brand just because people keep telling them that they have to be in phones.

    • The impression I have is that they developed that version of the OS so that they'd always have the option to switch if they had to, not because they knew they were definitely going to switch when they started work on the x86 version.

      It makes sense for them to to an embedded version, just in case. If they ever decide they want to jump, they'll be in the position of polishing something they already have, rather than starting from scratch.

      You might be right on the first part, but I question your logic on the s

      • RHapsody, the pre OSX, nextos beta in 1998/9 ran on intel x86, sure it wasnt OSX, but it did run.

        They just had to keep coding with in those guidelines, and make sure it ran, and it was no effort really. ie have no hard dependancies on
        PPC/altivec stuff, make it all modular.
    • The last first:

      So I'd be inclined to interpret this as a sign that Apple wants to stay within striking distance of the embedded market, not that they're definitely going in. Apple's not going to make a crummy iPhone. If they do it, they'll want it to be the best phone ever. They're not going to trash their brand just because people keep telling them that they have to be in phones.

      I don't necessarily agree with that. Apple is seeing the mp3 capabilities of regular cellphones improve and mature, and the

      • by cheekyboy (598084)
        I disagree, having two people that are very capable and occasionally using help from core designers isnt costly. $90k * two , and use a graphics artists or other person for a few days out of 12 months.
        Mobile phone circuit boards are very small these days and can be purchased from the emebedded market. They could easily add mic to the ipod at the bottom, and use those
        3rd party GSM boards to make a prototype 'fat' ipod. From there on, its 90% making the software cool and capable. All control of a mobile board
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Hmm, "I think Apple has been developing a(n) X version of OS X just in case for years" sounds a bit like "X will be the year of desktop Linux", just with a bit more facts behind it. It could also be just as fun to use with varying values of X...
      • by @madeus (24818)
        It was on x86 first though (NeXT Step / Open Step / Rhapsody - which could be described just Open Step with some new window decoration, but largely the same widget set). It seems almost certain development was largely concurrent and that they didn't really drop support for x86 (even if they did focus testing and optimisation on the 'live' target platform, PPC).
        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          That's what I meant with "a bit more facts". For X = x86 the statement is true, but I've also seen it for other values of X> where it's less probable.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just want a portable music player that is simple and easy to use. No one wants all the bells and whistles that the "others" have.

    I just want a simple and easy to use cell phone, an all in one techno gadget is not desired and a dumb idea.

    Oh damn.. I was away for a while. The collective opinion has changed, now I should want all of these features and functionality again.

    What scenario reflects reality?
    1) Apple releases a new feature that no one claimed to have wanted before and suddenly, everyone wants it
  • It would be great if OS(x) allowed running any dashboard applet and if Dashcode was a nice easy dev kit for this new series of devices.
  • Well, first, the "iPhone" name belongs to Linksys, and they already have one out.

    The second problem is that the handset industry is a slave to the carriers, at least in the US. Apple would have to do some major sucking up to Sprint, Verizon, etc. Worse, from Apple's perspective, is that handset margins are lousy. The carriers make all the money.

    • handset industry is a slave to the carriers, at least in the US

      Why? In most places you build a phone using a standard GSM module, get it approved by the FCC equivalent and market it to the public.

      I know the US doesn't use GSM, but why does that make it different?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by flooey (695860)
        Why? In most places you build a phone using a standard GSM module, get it approved by the FCC equivalent and market it to the public.

        I know the US doesn't use GSM, but why does that make it different?


        Actually, some networks in the US do use GSM (Cingular and T-Mobile are the two big ones). However, historically in the US, you couldn't just take any phone and have it work on a service's network, you had to get a SIM card that was provided by the network, and they would only provide that if your phone w
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by puto (533470) *
        about 80 million people in the US use GSM. It is the predominant service here.

        Cingular, T-Mobile, AllTell, and a umpteen little prepaid companies. Most using Cingulars network.

        Get your facts straight. www.gsmworld.com

        Puto
  • by Brat Food (9397) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @02:22AM (#17346688) Homepage
    Just a little history on osx:

    OSX started out long ago as open step (as far as being for intel). Open step became rhapsody beta, which ran on intel (i have some cds around somewhere still =). I could go on, but the point is that I'd bet, and it's been said, that osx was kept at mostly build parity with the commercially released PPC versions. I think the main thing holding back the intel version was an enabling technology like rosetta. Of course, it had been rumored for years that OSX was/is also compiled for Sparc and some other targets.

    Now, this is important because an os kept this relativly flexible would seem to have a monumentally esier time being targeted at different architectures (linux has this benefit as well). And leveraging APIs and frameworks for things like phones, video players, palmtop devices, media centers, could produce the most user friendly and functionaly devices seen yet.

    This brings me to why the apple phone will clean up, if even done remotely right. Cell phones suck. The UI's get worse and worse. Cell companies charge in retarded fashions for stuff in the US (ring tones? backgrounds?). Cell phone layouts keep getting worse (am I the only one who thinks the keypad on the new slim line of moto phones is atrocious?). Cell phone companies dont compete in the US (at least on price... has your cell phone bill ever really gone down, even with the current ubiquity?). Oh yeah, #1 thing - a competant music player/photo/video viewer without all the restrictions a verizon would place on it.

    And if apple is able to go te way of european phones, sellong unlocked phones useable worldwide with sim chips (and even possibly paid for with the latter in the US), all in all, apple should clean up and maybe, just maybe, force cell companies to make somereally good products. Kinda sucks that apple would be at least somewhat tied to current infrastructure, as it is said to be buying network usage from cingular.

    Oh well, I'll been holding off my cell upgrade till macworld.
    • am I the only one who thinks the keypad on the new slim line of moto phones is atrocious?

      No, we hates it. We wants to squeeze it's tiny little niblet keys until it's guts pops out. Then we wants to takes it's bitty little lithium ion battery and shorts it out. And then throw the whole thing in the microwave. Twice.

      If (and always the big if) Apple makes a cell phone and does it right AND doesn't dumb it down so it's functional only to 16 year olds (read allow it to do something besides play songs), the

  • by Thunderbear (4257) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @02:57AM (#17346842) Homepage
    A while back I ran nmap against my Airport Express and it reported it to run OS X. It is most likely the embedded version of Darwin which they talk about here, then.

  • MacOS X embedded? WTF? I mean, I'm sure it's a wet dream to imagine that you could run the same thing across a bunch of platforms, but ... no, it's not going to be the same thing, or even a very similar thing. In fact, there's a word for it: it will be a different thing.

    I mean, look at Windows CE. The main similarity it has to Windows XP is that they both have Windows in their names. Sure, there are APIs which are similar between them - that's because if you have an existing API to do a particular job
  • NIH (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oohshiny (998054)
    Apple has an excellent kernel available to them that already runs on numerous embedded systems, has lots of drivers, and is compatible with their userland: Linux. Instead, they pour lots of resources into doing their own port of OS X. What are they hoping to accomplish? The whole thing looks like a serious case of "NIH".
  • Wasn't the AMIGA's os Embedded on a ROM chip? I remember it booted quickly and ran well! .. Ahh...The days when things just ran...
    • by Ash-Fox (726320)
      Wasn't the AMIGA's os Embedded on a ROM chip? I remember it booted quickly and ran well! .. Ahh...The days when things just ran...
      Yep and the OS still is embedded [hyperion-e...inment.biz], despite the fact they're running it on really beefy hardware.
  • That's really cool. Now what we need is a ruggedized MacBook a la ToughBook. Something that can get tossed around, dusty, and wet.
    • by mtec (572168)
      Something that can get tossed around, dusty, and wet.

      That's what your mother said Trebeck!
  • by Zebra_X (13249)
    So apple finally tears a page out of Microsofts book and builds an OS for embedded devices. Lol. And this is news because....
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      So apple finally tears a page out of Microsofts book and builds an OS for embedded devices. Lol. And this is news because....

      ..it's Apple.

  • Sigh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maztuhblastah (745586) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @09:55AM (#17347958) Journal
    This is one of those rumours (especially the OSXon-a-phone part) where I look at the rumour-sayer and repeat: "Are you retarded?"

    Seriously -- there are a variety of technical reasons why Apple will never try and embed OS X in a phone... I would hope that anyone reading this comment can guess why. If you need a hint, think of why the iPod doesn't do OS X (something about overkill, the bad example of Windows XP, etc.)
    • One of the more calculated interpretations of this rumor is that an embedded OS X would not have full functionality ie: overkill but would include software and supporting libraries for such things as iSync, iCal, Mail, iPhoto, iTunes and not much more. This would allow it to have a full PDA capability and sync up with a Mac seamlessly over Bluetooth, USB or via .Mac service over WiFi connections.

      Other optional libraries may include hand-writing recognition for stylus based note taking, voice recognition for
      • No, really, you'd have to strip out everything but the Darwin core and build a less computationally expensive window system (like, say, the one they had in NeXTSTeP and Rhapsody, before they started pumping it full of glistening eye-candy steroids).

        If they did that I'd beg them for a copy to run on my Mac Mini. Even if 99% of the apps that weren't ported from NeXT would refuse to run.
        • by jcr (53032)
          OS X's window system is more computationally expensive, but most of the heavy lifting happens on the GPU. Display Postscript had to run entirely on the CPU. Running DPS on your mini would be a lose.

          -jcr

          • by argent (18001)
            OS X's window system is more computationally expensive, but most of the heavy lifting happens on the GPU.

            Embedded systems don't have much of a GPU. :)

            Besides, that's more of a myth than reality for older Macs. Prior to QE3d the rendering for normal windows was done primarily on the CPU, with compositing being the only part done on the GPU. Before that, applications needed to use OpenGL directly to get rendering performed on the GPU.

            Running DPS on your mini would be a lose.

            I find that hard to believe, since
            • by jcr (53032)
              only one backing store for the screen rather than one for each window or widget

              DPS has three backing-store modes: retained, buffered, and unbuffered. Retained and Buffered both kept a separate backing store for each window, and unbuffered was used very rarely (usually for something like a video playback window).

              -jcr

              • by argent (18001)
                Doh, yes, you're right, if you don't have a backing store for the window you don't have backing store, period. But there's still a huge difference between buffered and retained windows.

                The backing store kept by "retained" windows was no larger than the window itself, and was only used for drawing into obscured portions of the window. It didn't write everything into the backing store then copy it to the display like "buffered" mode, or like all windows on Quartz. Retained is similar to the (optional) backing
    • by Trillan (597339)
      Agreed. Tagged: whenpigsfly.
  • I am waiting for the announcement from Apple that they are switching their kernel to OpenSolaris. DTrace and ZFS ports are just a start.
    • They would need to put in IO Kit, and would need PPC support. Still, a reasonable preposition. Although QNX use would require making a client mode IO Kit and some kind of security manager it would improve Mac OS X performance at latency-critical tasks. If you wrote the manager in Coq, you could have a very secure operating system for little effort. That would be a path I think apple should take. If they don't like QNX licensing terms writing a microkernel like it would not be too much harder. This would be
  • Um, shouldn't that headline have read "Might OS X go embedded?" It may, if Steve grants it permission.

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