“Back to Mac” Predictions for Mac OS X 10.7

By James Mowery

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The desktop operating system has faded into the darkness as mobile platforms have taken the spotlight. Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7, webOS, and Blackberry are all we hear about in the news. The tech world, it would seem, has forgotten about the aging desktop operating system.

Many people — including yours truly — have come to the realization that these old, powerful, and complex operating systems are a thing of the past. They simply don’t work well enough for the everyday consumer. These people prefer something simple and straightforward. Developers have taken notice, too. This is why a product like the iPad is thriving in the marketplace. Consumers and developers are getting what they want.

It’s not without costs, however: the hardcore geeks — those who can’t fathom having to work with the likes of iOS or Android in the future — have had to put their needs on hold, as priorities have shifted elsewhere.

The focus at Apple has been on iOS, which is the future of post-PC devices. Unfortunately, this has left many Mac OS X users wondering what’s in store for their operating system. Mac OS X 10.6 (also known as Snow Leopard) offered minimal improvements over its predecessor. And it’s been an incredible time since Steve Jobs has really even mentioned Mac OS X at one of his conferences. But that’s about to change with Mac OS X 10.7.

Back to Mac

October 20, 2010 is a big day. It’s the day when Apple is getting “Back to Mac.” After so much speculation over the future of the Mac OS X 10.7 — and so many questions surrounding the future of the desktop operating system — the event’s timing is perfect. We are going to finally get some answers.

We are not only going to get answers about the future holds for Mac OS X 10.7 — which is rumored to be called “Lion” — we are also going to receive insight into the future of the traditional operating system. What happens here will have a huge influence over what will happen to future hardware throughout the industry. There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft will be all ears and will have to react to this announcement, too. So, it’s a pretty big deal.

One would assume, considering the name of the event is “Back to Mac,” that the Mac brand is going to continue. So what can Apple possibly have up their sleeves?

Well, for those of you who can’t wait, I have a few predictions of what’s to come.

Predictions

The first thing Apple could be doing with Mac OS X is prepping it for future expansions. Or, in other words, the boring-but-more-likely-because-that’s-life option. This would likely include the possibility of giving Mac OS X a serious facelift, potentially some serious interface upgrades. And there are always things that could be done to improve the user experience and ease of use.

This wouldn’t be as sexy as one would hope, but it is certainly a possibility. However, with Apple making such such a big deal over this event — it’s called “Back to Mac,” for crying out loud — I’m willing to bet that there is quite a bit more in store for OS X.

The next potential thing we could see announced at the event is touch-support for Mac OS X. This has been speculated quite a bit; I will speculate on it as well. The fact is that touch makes sense. Not only would Apple be moving their desktop and laptop users towards a touch-based interface, but they would also probably be mocking Microsoft at its own game: this is where that whole kill-two-birds-with-one-stone idiom comes into play.

Actually, it might be three birds, especially if you recount my previous article discussing the demise of Mac OS X. This could be a move to slowly nudge Mac OS X users towards iOS. Yes, it’s intriguing to think that they would be slow-playing this transition. However, it would be a smart move on Apple’s part. Regardless, I would be shocked if we didn’t see something related to touch announced at “Back to Mac.”

The last potential option I have in mind is the most exciting to think about, but it is almost certainly not going to happen: I’m talking about a complete merger between Mac OS X and iOS. I have been thinking this would happen for the longest time, and while the act alone would not be shocking, the quickness of the transition would be. I’m still thinking that this is years down the pipeline; however, anything is possible with Apple.

(As a side note: I would love it if Apple did something with that disaster of an experience called iTunes.)

So what do you think will become of Mac OS X at “Back to Mac”? Let us know in the comments!

About James Mowery
James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist, entrepreneur, and Apple enthusiast who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable, Techi, and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.

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