Looking into OS X’s future

11 03 2008

Over the past few years, I have always wondered- how far can Mac OS X go?

OS X Future

Mac OS X was first released in 1999, with Mac OS X Server 1.0. In 2001, Mac OS X version 10.0 was released for desktop consumption. Based on UNIX, and taking many hints from NeXTSTEP, the NeXT Operating System, OS X brought us Aqua- a new GUI that reflected Apple’s colorful product lineup at the time. Now, almost ten years later, what has become of OS X?

Speaking about the recent Mac OS Tiger v10.4 release at WWDC 2005, Steve Jobs said:

“It [OS X] has set Apple up for the next 20 years.”

Funny, that makes a lot sense- with last October’s release of the latest iteration of OS X, 10.5 Leopard- we are not even halfway into the 20 years Steve mentioned, but halfway through the 10.x cycle. In 2007, the Mac saw its market share rise to almost 8% by years end. Apple sold almost 4 million iPhones worldwide. Both product lines rely on OS X for software. From its inception in 1999, this is significant progress. OS X has become more than an Operating System- it is working its way into the core of Apple.

Last week’s iPhone Road Map event is a great example of the power in OS X and what it can do beyond the personal computer. The iPhone SDK will probably become another landmark event for OS X, as developers harness the power of the software running in the iPhone. Intern, not only will that sell more iPhones, but it will expand and solidify Mac OS X’s presence.

Later this year, we will see more and more integration of OS X into Apple’s other products that aren’t a desktop or laptop. For example, last year, we saw the iPhone, iPod Touch and AppleTV introduced- all of which run OS X at the core. This year, and as we continue into the future, we will see more devises shipping with OS X and continue to see it’s market share increase.

With more products running OS X, and continued demand for these products- be it iPods, Macs or iPhones- OS X has a very bright future. The shear fact that one OS is powering a Phone, an iPod, a set top media box and personal computers demonstrates its power and potential for future devices. The question is… what will OS XI bring us?