back to article Apple moves to unify its OS and interface

Two recent reports indicate developments in Apple's efforts to transform itself from a second-tier computer company into a top-level consumer-electronics powerhouse. First, a story published today by AppleInsider reports that Apple "has filed for a trademark for its OS X operating system but without the 'Mac' prefix that has …

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I approve

Slimming down the bloat that is a modern desktop OS is long overdue (MacOS, especially MS-Windows, and these days even desktop Linux* are horrid resource hogs). Using the same OS base for mobile devices has to be a good trend, I feel (hope).

*I really really need to look into Gentoo to see just how much UI and backend cruft really can be turned off with their portage system.

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OS X86 for me please

Is this going to be the same unified UI that they told us was coming with Leopard ?

I honestly don't think OS X for PC is that far away, especially if SJ is forced to retire from Apple.

Much of Apple's recent computer success has more to do with Vista's problems and a fast well designed replacement in Windows 7 may start to turn the tide again against Apple.

If sales of Macs start to flag what CEO in their right mind would turn down the chance to sell millions of copies of it's OS to the masses and help ensure iTunes/iPod/iPhone domination for years to come. I'm sure M$ is shaking in their boots at the thought !

I have ran OS X86 on several PCs and it's a surprisingly smooth experience very little work would need to be done on Apple's end especially since Macs are basically PCs with Intel's EFI added.

Wouldn't the market be a nicer place with more competition ?

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E

Marble

Yet more evidence that Apple (and IMHO MS) does not produce better tech under the hood with new releases. It just polishes the shiny eye candy.

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Frosty Feline!

What's next, Ubuntu X?

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Snow Leopard is not iPhone

While Snow Leopard will be tighter for the desktop OS, it is folly to assume it will also lead to a tighter OS on the iPhone. They have already cut all of the legacy cruft (PPC code and Carbon) for the iPhone, as well as all the stuff you're not going to use. So yes, desktop Macs will see a significant improvement in terms of size and speed, but Mobile OSX will be unaffected.

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X86 eye candy

@David Simpson:

You need to remember that Apple sees itself as a HARDWARE company. They develop software to give their hardware platform an advantage. They don't care if you run OS X or Windows (witness Boot Camp) as long as it's on Apple hardware. It makes no sense for them to offer OS X for other x86 PCs (quite apart from all the support nightmares that would entail).

@E:

You misunderstand the point. The whole point of Snow Leopard is a radical re-engineering and code tidy up under the hood with very few new user-visible features. That's quite a difficult concept to get over to consumers so a bit of eye candy is undoubtedly helpful to distinguish it from the previous version. That doesn't lessen the under the hood changes though.

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jai
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@E

no, you've got it all wrong

marble is just the codename - there has been ZERO indication of any graphical changes in the test releases of the OS so far - they've concentrated 100% on getting the "better tech under the hood", as you put it, right before bothering with the eye candy. that's why we're only finding out about it now, so soon to it's release

of course, with MS, i'd say you're bang on the button - but then, i haven't tried vista nor w7 - i'm just a biased fanboi

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Says who?

"Is this going to be the same unified UI that they told us was coming with Leopard ?"

"They" never said that, assuming you mean "Apple"; it was a bunch of rumormongers who did. You can expect rumors to be frequently wrong. But no, OS X for PC is just as far away as it ever was, if not even farther due to the ever-increasing amount of devices Apple makes that run it. They would have to be completely moronic to even consider undercutting their own business. If you want more competition on generic x886 boxes, there's always Linux.

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finally

its about time apple got rid of its horrid hansel and gretel house looking aqua theme and replaced it with something more professional much as its previous platinum theme looked.

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PowerPC??

im guessing the end for PPC macs then :( (not that im a fan of real ancient hardware, but my 1.67ghz powerbook has plenty of grunt... )

although a code tidyup would make older hardware more efficent :) which is always a good thing! I cant rember when the system requirements for an OS actully went down with a new release!!

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Coat

heheheh

I would like to see their OS on generic boxes just for the potential "wheres your just works now fuckhead?" comments that I could use against a couple of mactards I know ;)

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I liked Aqua, it was so lickable

UI-wise, I fervently hope that things don't go Pro Apps-like: these are rather terrible things: I work with them daily, and the last time they rethought them (Logic Pro) they seemed like a bad (really bad) imitation of Adobe After Effects' (which is reallly neat in its flexibility).

But, anyway: I liked Aqua. I liked having some sense of fun, even if it was quite disorganized. Nowadays Apple is all about sleek and sobriety and zen and... something has been lost, a certain sense of fun.

Plus, anyway, the problem is not in the widgets but the functionality, simple things like not having an unified windows and panes resizing widgets, rollover effects, grabbing area, etc.; unified keyboard shortcuts for progress palettes in apps; Spotlight field defaults; etc. It is a mess. Plus some ineffectual eyecandy that needs rethinking to live up to its potential.

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Bring it on!

I can't wait to get my hands on Snow Leopard. An even faster Mac. Fantastic!

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quicktime..oh dear

a long time aple fan here but quicktime is a shambles...apple, pleeease make it run better, please let it handle avi files, please get rid of quicktime tv. in fact just buy vlc player and use that instead.

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Unhappy

I approve, except...

AFAIK Snow Leopard will only run on Intel Macs, not ageing PPC machines like mine.

Anyone want to buy a kidney?

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@LaeMi Qian

Try Source Mage GNU/Linux as well...

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@richard

just to clarify.. you don't actually have to buy VLC, it's opensource and free (as in beer), at least for personal use.

for those that scoff at anything that is 'opensource' as something that is incomplete and only plays 1 or 2 format made by the same person that wrote the program, in this case, you would be wrong.

Its a beautiful program, has a sleek incredibly easy to use interface, plays dvd disks, plays network streams, plays every video (and music) format that I have ever been able to throw at it (including 3gp and mkv) and doesn't require any codecs to do so... they're built in.

(and of course it supports SRT subtitle files, m3u playlists, cue files, etc ;o)

it is in one word; beautiful.

Oh, and it comes on Win32, Linux & OS-X (plus a few others).

If you are not running VLC then you should probably type it into google, download it, and fall in love :o)

It is basically everything that quicktime isn't :o)

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@David Simpson

"I have ran OS X86 on several PCs and it's a surprisingly smooth experience very little work would need to be done on Apple's end especially since Macs are basically PCs with Intel's EFI added."

Porting OSX to the PC officially would actually (as I understand it) require a fairly major rewrite of the code. For one simple reason: OSX doesn't have proper support for user installable drivers.

By this, I mean that with Windows, you can (theoretically) replace the driver for any part of the system simply and relatively easily. With OSX, you can't. OSX as it is supports the limited range of hardware Apple use fairly well. The trouble is it only supports hardware that Apple use in the Mac, or varients thereof. With a PC, there are thousands of combinations of hardware possible (a friend who worked for a major software company that is now part of Disney told me that they found over 40,000 possible combinations of PC hardware).

Yes, OSX can be hacked to run on Generic hardware, but even the people who have done that have had to impose strict limits on what hardware it runs on. Selling the OS to the public would require that Apple rewrite the OS to support a *lot* more hardware, or rewrite it to support user-installable drivers. Both major tasks that would probably hurt profits.

So, in short, I don't think you'll ever see a legit version of OSX on PCs.

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@Stuart Castle

"OSX doesn't have proper support for user installable drivers"

Not true at all. OS X drivers (or kernel extensions, kext for short) are much like Linux kernel modules. Anyone with the programming skill can write one, just as they could do for FreeBSD.

Hardware vendors and others *do* write third party drivers for OS X. Take a look here, for example:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/drivers/

Of course there's no where near the number of drivers for OS X as there are for Windows but that's mostly because hardware vendors don't bother writing Mac drivers because of Apple's small market share.

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All those forced upgrades

"Snow Leopard will only run on Intel Macs, not ageing PPC machines like mine" - Someone has to pay for Jobbie's medical bill.

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Anonymous Coward

hum.

"You misunderstand the point. The whole point of Snow Leopard is a radical re-engineering and code tidy up under the hood with very few new user-visible features. That's quite a difficult concept to get over to consumers so a bit of eye candy is undoubtedly helpful to distinguish it from the previous version. That doesn't lessen the under the hood changes though."

MS do it, (with windows 7) and its a big deal and everyone hates em. Apple do it and its fine :P

Also wern't MS done for intergrating there system too much and bundling apps byt he compeition commision, which is what apple have been doing for a long time ?

I like Apple OSX don't get me wrong, but would be nice to see things applied to one system applied to another!

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@Jai & Rolf

I stand corrected. Code cleanup and streamlining is a fine idea.

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@snafu

"I liked Aqua, it was so lickable"

Not to mention that iPhones kinda look like candy bars.

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous Coward 15:37

MS do it, (with windows 7) and its a big deal and everyone hates em. Apple do it and its fine :P

Yes but Apple never released a turd of an OS and then tried to give it a good polish, did they

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@Marble

>Yet more evidence that Apple (and IMHO MS) does not produce better tech under the >hood with new releases. It just polishes the shiny eye candy.

So optimising the OS for speed and size, adding new APIs like GrandCentral (multicore API) and the new graphics libraries OpenCL is just a GUI tweak?

I don't see that Microsoft made multicore programming any easier in Vista.

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@hum. AC

MS weren't done for bundling apps along with the OS, nor were they were done for bundling apps *into* the OS. They were done for bundling apps into the OS in such a way that meant their competition was at a massive disadvantage, so MS's monopoly was extended and solidified.

Apple bundle apps *with* the OS, but you can replace every single one of them with something else if you want to and your OS is not broken because of it. In other words, Apple do not have a monopoly on what you use on your computer the same way that MS did (and still do to this day to an extent).

Quote: "MS do it, (with windows 7) and its a big deal and everyone hates em. Apple do it and its fine :P"

That's because OS X as it is now is largely fine - some annoying bugs and UI issues, but otherwise very good, so it is polishing brass to make it shine. Everyone hates MS for doing it because they ended up with a dog turd in Vista and Windows 7 is going to be a paid upgrade to varnish that turd.

Fwiw, Apple did go through the same process as MS are now experiencing with Vista, only it happened with OS X from version 10.0 to 10.2. However, they did it a much less painful way than MS did by keeping systems dual-booting (and also partly because OS 9 was seriously outdated by the time 10.2 came along and, even though 10.2 wasn't the best to use, it was still leaps and bounds better than the previous generation and XP).

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Gates Horns

Snowballs in Hell

You won't see Mac OS X running on generic machines officially anytime soon - like never! Apple makes its money from the HARDWARE (and before you whine "it's expensive" just check out any PC with the same build quality). Therefore to license the OS like Microsoft (a SOFTWARE company that does not make PC's) did with MS-DOS/Windows and lose the margins they make on the HARDWARE would be utterly, utterly crazy. It ain't gonna happen!

With Snow Leopard Apple is seriously re-writing the main part of the software to run faster and more efficiently on the hardware platforms it's been selling for three years now, and that should be criticised why?. Apple has had both the guts and the skill to transition the Mac three times, with the 68000 to PPC change in the early 90's, the major hand-over from OS9 to OS X in the early noughties through to the Intel chip introduction in 2006. Each time they have done it relatively smoothly, so that users have been able to plan things properly. Windows users (and Microsoft) can only look on in total envy at this situation.

Okay, I'll acknowledge that a smaller user base with a controlled list of hardware specifications makes that dramatically easier than the job Microsoft has had to do with the hardware variations it has to deal with, but who put Microsoft in that position – Answer = Microsoft. If they had controlled the OS software specification and license so that hardware was designed to work with the drivers supplied or specified by MS, rather than the total cluster-fuck of letting Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all write whatever they wanted to, a very large amount of time, and Gazillions of green could have been saved over the years. Large salty tears appear when you think how much that money could have done for much more deserving causes in this world.

As I’m on, the computer security industry is almost completely the bastard love-child of Microsoft. If MS (a slowly advancing, disabilitating disease in other words) had taken security seriously from the word go, especially with sorting out the brain-dead ability of Macros being able to control the eMail client, then the whole generation of early virus-writers would have had a much harder time writing and spreading their variations. Move on a couple of computer generations and those bored teenagers in attics have morphed into the highly sophisticated criminals that constitute a far bigger threat to us individually than Ozzie Bin Laden or even fascist Labour governments can pretend to.

Microsoft has held back real advances over the years with their virtual monopoly. Okay, having three or four major OS’s with equal shares fighting it out for the last twenty-five years may not have been pretty at times, but I’ll bet you anything we’d be in a better situation than now if we’d gone that route.

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