Remember the PDA? Remember the Newton? The former is a dying market, the latter is dead. Or is it?
One can argue that the iPod touch, and the iPhone are really just a Mac in your pocket. If not now, soon.
What? A Mac in your pocket (or, pocketbook, or purse, or whatever else carries whatever you carry)? Give this question some thought. What makes a computing platform?
I hesitate to say ‘operating system’ but that’s a common element in any legitimate platform. It can be argued that Windows and Mac OS X are more computing platforms than mere operating systems, as both bring to the user many functions and features not found in traditional operating systems of the past.
By way of reference, my roots can be traced back to CP/M days and there is little to compare early PC operating systems to Windows or OS X.
OS X, as it is used in the Mac, is a platform. What makes it successful has as much to do with applications and adoption as anything else. Without a vibrant, viable, and valuable applications, OS X would be a dream or memory or both.
Mac OS X has a rapidly growing developer base, a huge number of vibrant and attractive applications, and increasing value among computer users, including switchers. But OS X is the Mac, right? How do we get a Mac in our pockets?
We’re almost there. One can argue that since the iPhone and iPod touch both have a version of OS X inside, the OS X computing platform has gone mobile in a big way.
If Apple sells 10-million iPhones this year, and three or four million of the iPod touch variety, they sell more Mobile OS X than Mac OS X in the first full calendar year.
In other words, Mobile OS X becomes a huge software market overnight initially driven by the basic applications provided by Apple. Mail, Safari, iTunes, Google Maps, and the like. Even more important for future sales growth for Apple will be the 3rd party applications developed for Mobile OS X.
Suddenly, within a year or two of the iPhone’s launch, Mobile OS X becomes the Mac in your pocket. What is your Mac? It’s a highly refined, affordable, capable personal computer that runs OS X and many personal applications.
How does that differ from the iPhone or iPod touch in your pocket? Not much. The Mac has expansion capability, and many more applications. The pocket versions of the Mac, as evidenced in the iPhone or iPod touch or any future pocket product from Apple, is more mobile, and will carry many of the same applications as found on your Mac.
Granted, a Pocket Mac won’t be called that. iPhone works fine for the telephony market segment.
iPod touch works fine for the entertainment market segment. For the rest of us, how about our long desired iPad device, a true pocket Mac.
Don’t expect Adobe Photoshop CS3 to show up in Mobile OS X form any time soon, but a mobile version of Microsoft Office sounds plausible. You’ll know what Apple really thinks of their newly birthed mobile OS platform when iWork’s Pages, Keynote, and Numbers show up in a $79 mobile package for iPhone, iPod touch, and the futuristic iPad.
Apple has promised a software development kit for Mobile OS X, and has already prepared both the iPod touch and iPhone to handle icons for multiple applications. Something has to fill all those icon spaces on the multitouch screen. Mac software developers will be the next ones to the Mobile OS X party.
Most of us do not think of the OS X device in our pocket as a Mac. Even without the Mac name, similar functionality is not far away. Apple’s pocket devices running on OS X will begin to mimic functionality found on our notebook and desktop Macs.
By any other name is it still not a Mac? It’s just pocket sized and it has a different name.