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Could Apple Kill Off Mac OS X? 577

Posted by timothy
from the they-certainly-could dept.
Barence writes "When Steve Jobs announced last night that he was 'going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device,' it was the clearest indication yet that Apple is phasing out Mac OS X, argues PC Pro's Barry Collins. 'Over the past couple of months, there have been continual rumours that Apple is testing the iPad's A5 processor in its MacBook range, suggesting Apple believes iOS could stretch further than smartphones and tablets,' Collins argues. Plus, Apple would take a 30% cut on all Mac software if it mandated downloads via the App Store only. 'The only part of Apple's portfolio where iOS doesn't make sense is in the high-end. Yet, Apple's already discontinued its Xserve range of servers and... it's almost exclusively fixated on the consumer market,' he argues."
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Could Apple Kill Off Mac OS X?

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  • Nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:10PM (#36363278)
    Apple is not going to kill of Mac OS X. I have said it before, and I'll say it again: Mac OS X's future is on high end workstations, targeting the professional and power user markets. Apple's consumer strategy will be centered on iOS.
  • Re:Nope. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:18PM (#36363406)
    On the other hand, Apple could only market Mac OS X to professional users, on their high end workstations. Consumers will get iOS everything -- iOS tablets, iOS PDAs, iOS laptops, maybe even some sort of iOS desktop (with a completely different form factor than current desktops?), and they will be cut out of the development process; only professionals with high end workstations will be able to write software for iOS.
  • Re:Stupid! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:19PM (#36363426)

    It's just a dumb click-farming review specifically designed to generate controversy. Clearly if you wanted to phase something out, you would release a new version of it...

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:19PM (#36363432) Homepage

    Then perhaps the only real Mac that remains available will be the one that starts at $2400.

  • Premature paranoia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by curunir (98273) * on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:19PM (#36363448) Homepage Journal

    Of course they're not going to kill it off. The only people suggesting as much are paranoid Apple haters. If nothing else, Apple will need OS X to enable developers to build applications for iOS devices.

    I knew as soon as I heard Steve Jobs say those words about demoting the PC that they would be taken entirely wrongly by some people. But all that he meant is that they're extracting a feature (the storage hub and interconnect of all iDevices) from the PC and moving it to iCloud. He only meant that iCloud sees the PC as "just another device" that isn't given special treatment above and beyond what iOS devices are given. But even then he went on to contradict that statement by revealing the particulars of the implementation. iOS devices will not store all information (songs, photos, etc) that OS X computers will.

    In shortthere's nothing to see herejust a misinterpreted phrase from a 2-hour presentation that mistakenly confirms the paranoid beliefs of people who want to see Apple in a negative light. There's no logical reason to believe what the story claims. Apple knows that it needs OS X to maintain its developer community. They know that without the developer community, people would abandon iOS. So until developers can do everything they need to do to create apps for iOS on iOS itself, OS X isn't going away.

  • Re:Stupid! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:22PM (#36363494)
    What if Apple gave you the following choice:
    • iOS laptop or tablet starting at $600
    • Mac OS X laptop or workstation starting at $3500

    Would you shell out the $3500 to get Mac OS X? The way I see it, that is the choice you will have in the near future: iOS for a "consumer" level computer, and Mac OS X for high end "professional" level computers.

  • Re:Stupid! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cinder6 (894572) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @12:55PM (#36364012)

    That's just the thing. I buy Apple computers because I like the Mac. Drop the Mac, and drop me as a customer.

    I will say, if Apple plans on dropping OS X, then why did they spend so much effort on Lion? IMO, it's a more impressive update than iOS 5, which is basically just a "quick, let's bring this thing up-to-date with Android" release.

  • The actual quote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pavon (30274) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @01:07PM (#36364216)

    "If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth - and get busy on the next big thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
    Steve Jobs, Fortune Magazine, February 19, 1996

    Which is exactly what he did with the iPod, and then the iPhone. But note there is nothing there about killing the Mac; He will continue milking it as long is it keeps giving milk. His comment was about not sitting on the success of the Mac, nor will he sit on the success of the iPhone; he will keep moving to the next big thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @01:38PM (#36364650)

    But Jobs plans EXACTLY what I always said.
    I was always modded down for it, but even an extremist fanboi can't possibly live in that much denial right now:

    Jobs wants to degrade the computer into a mere appliance. (Exactly what he said.)
    The difference? When you use a computer, you automate *your* work away.
    Yes, that means that none of OS X, Windows, KDE, Gnome, XFCE, or whatever, have been computer interfaces. (That's because they have been listening to the loud "idiots".)

    This is the reason, people say that computers don't actually save them time. Because they never wrote a small script or anything that automates their work away. Instead they still do the whole thing manually.

    So what's the point of having a computer, if you can't use it like a computer? It's just making life harder than it should be with such a powerful generic device at hand.
    And simple scripting is *not* hard. EVERYONE on this planet can make a list of things he wants to do. And everyone can add conditions to certain tasks. Also, everyone can refer to another list in his main list. Everyone can say "do this 3 times". And everyone can say "if you see a cat, do X with that cat" (=using of a identifier/variable).
    We all do all that stuff all the time in our heads. People are not too dumb for it, or they would not manage to do any job that lets them survive at all.

    Certainly easier than doing all and everything manually over and over again. And certainly not as much of a waste of life time and loss of comfort.

    Apple fanbois: Donâ(TM)t get me wrong: Yes, Apple devices look good, and their UIs feel shiny and nice. Also Jobs definitely is a leader figure, no doubt about it.
    I just think, even if one would try, one could not possibly go in a more wrong direction. A direction that is making lives harder and worse. Nobody wants that. I love pretty things too, but I'm not willing to throw away that much power for it. I'm not a masochist. And you also aren't. :)

    P.S.: I swear on all the contents of my home directory and my brain, that I will make a shell, that allows *everyone* to automate his work, and it will kick even Apple's ass in sleekness and shininess. No freakin' compromises! I do it for you too! :)

  • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @01:55PM (#36364966)

    How about discontinuing the MacOS X systems and just create a Macbook laptop based on the ARM processor that boots right into Xcode? They could call it the iOS Premier Developer System and sell it at a premium... like $3000.

  • by Radi-0-head (261712) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @01:57PM (#36365002)
    He did not make much mention of the Internet in the first revision of his book, however, in this Time Magazine article from 1995:

    Gates is as fearful as he is feared, and these days he worries most about the Internet, Usenet and the World Wide Web, which threaten his software monopoly by shifting the nexus of control from stand-alone computers to the network that connects them. The Internet, by design, has no central operating system that Microsoft or anybody else can patent and license. And its libertarian culture is devoted to open—that is to say, nonproprietary—standards, none of which were set by Microsoft. Gates moved quickly this year to embrace the Net, although it sometimes seemed he was trying to wrap Microsoft's long arms around it.

    Time Magazine - 12/22/1995 [time.com]

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @02:13PM (#36365252) Homepage

    I doubt anyone will read this, as it's WAY down on the list and a lot has already been said. But with that out of the way...

    1) Is a laptop with an A4/A5 style CPU and iOS a good idea?

    Yes. It would be awesome to have a machine that can run 15 hours on a battery charge and do all the basic "hanging around on the net" stuff like web browsing, IM, simple games, etc.

    2) Should this iOS laptop/desktop replace current Macs?

    NO! iOS is too limited to replace Mac OS X, especially right now. I don't know about most people, but when I sit at a computer I'm frequently doing several things at a time. I have IM windows open, shells to everywhere, web browsers, mail client, IRC, Twitter, etc. All going on at once, all in separate windows so I can follow one thing while I do another.

    3) Is there room in the marketplace for both tablet-based and regular computers?

    YES. Different users have different needs. Macs are selling well and making Apple money. iOS is also selling well and making Apple money. There's no reason to discontinue or merge them.

    Apple has been known for making rash, emotional decisions that don't make sense. (Read about the Apple II for the most famous example) I really hope they don't make one now.

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @02:22PM (#36365374)

    First off, start at the basics: iOS isn't going to "replace" OS X, because they share the same codebase. I know some people here will balk at this description, but iOS is nothing but OS X optimized for mobile touchscreen devices. They're basically the same operating system.

    They're the same operating system down at the level of things like NSString and core frameworks, but above that they are different (UIWebView,UILabel, etc etc), and most mac apps would need a pretty complete rewrite to run on iOS. Vice versa isn't quite so hard with a shim but still takes a lot of work (see Chameleon). What's interesting is that Apple have rewritten a lot of view classes etc which didn't need to be rewritten for iOS - they could have used NSView etc quite easily, but they threw it all out and started again, which implies they're going to want to replace NSView with UIView et al at some point.

    To say that iOS is going to replace Mac OS (or that this is what Apple intends) would mean big changes. It'd mean dropping legacy Mac apps, and only allowing apps which conform to the new interface paradigm (iOS, UIViews etc) and file access APIs (sandboxed), and probably only apps which they approve to their store, as they have done with iOS. So you can take replacing Mac OS with iOS to mean:

    * No more visible file system
    * No more third party APIs
    * Full lockdown and sandboxing
    * No more scripting, java, etc etc (already banned from the app store)
    * No more selling stuff except through apple (already banned from the app store)
    * Probably similar gesture based interface, using a larger trackpad (already in progress)

    Quite possibly Apple will do this in a few years - it's an insane waste of time to maintain two similar sets of view hierarchies, two entirely different ui libraries etc. and they have shown a predilection for eliminating APIs like this where they can. It would also mean quite a few improvements for end-users in security and ease of use. Not sure if that's a world I'd want to live in though - it would mean massive changes to the way we use our computers for techy Mac users.

    Possibly end-users won't notice much of a change if the transition is gradual, particularly those who didn't like folders and files anyway and would rather not see a Library folder etc, but developers would see a huge change (like the one from Carbon to Cocoa in scale).

  • by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @02:22PM (#36365386) Homepage Journal

    No surprises there. Geeks have been predicting the downfall of MS for 15 years and more, essentially saying that once their monopoly falls apart, it's game over for them.

    We see it happening. Their market share doesn't have to go to less than 50% for the monopoly to break apart. Once it's low enough for the lock-in effects to go away (which means you need to look at the Windows/Office market share, and not the Windows share alone), it will accelerate dramatically.

    I can't wait to see it.

  • Re:Troll (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 07, 2011 @02:26PM (#36365426) Homepage Journal

    That's the real problem here. Apple lost the desktop wars a long LONG time ago.

    That is why "war" is such a bad analogy for markets. What makes you think this "war" is over - or ever will be? Competition in a market place is continuous. Apple is still there, making more money in that market that you say they "lost" than you'll likely ever see in your life, and their market share has actually been growing for years.

    If anything, they've proven that they're in it for the whole nine yards. If they kept it alive when market share was shrinking, what insanity would have to befall them to kill it when market share is growing?

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