Now that we’re in February, speculation has commenced on what OS X 10.9 will look like. Apple is keeping its cards close to its chest as usual, but that hasn’t stopped the pundits from speculating. What will be the future of OS X and iOS? Apple has established a yearly schedule for release of its flagship operating system, which means this July we’ll likely see the newest Mac cat appear from the shadows.
The next version of OS X is unlikely to be anything revolutionary, but given we will be reaching version 10.9, and the fusing of OS X with iOS is becoming more pronounced, the question you have to ask is, will this July see the release of the final version of OS X? Four or five years ago, the idea of OS XI was a no brainer. Everyone still expected Macs to be running operating systems such as OS X. But in all this time, there hasn’t been much scuttlebutt around a future major revision of Mac OS.
iOS is a much bigger operating system from the point of view of installations. There are more iPhones and iPads out there than Macs. So purely from this perspective, it makes more sense to divert focus to the iOS route. However, iOS as it stands today is too simplistic for many desktop applications, which means it too will have to evolve into something grander than what it is today in order to stay competitive and functional for Mac users.
Jony Ive was put in charge of iOS development last year after the dramatic resignation of Scott Forstall in the wake of the iOS Maps app debacle. Aside from some big visual changes that are likely to come with iOS 7, Ive may also be contributing to the future of the Mac operating system. Along with whatever Ive introduces into iOS 7, the next version of OS X 10.9 is likely to introduce further integration with iOS, and thus lay the groundwork for a potential unified operating system in 2014, if they continue to follow their yearly schedule. If this happens, it won’t matter what Apple device you have any more. They should all integrate far better (at least you’d hope!).
2013 will likely be an evolutionary year for Apple software, and with the exception of iOS 7, will likely be unremarkable. It’s 2014 that could be very interesting, which is when we may finally see some revolutionary updates. 2014 may just be the year where Apple introduces a unified operating system that runs across all their devices and computers. Will that make the Mac experience better or worse? Only time will tell.