One OS to rule them all?

I absolutely love Mac OS X. From a user’s perspective, it has changed so much about how I’m about to use a computer. Programs have their own memory, so one crashing doesn’t bring down the system, applications are easy to install and remove, third-party utilities and hardware use is mostly a snap and I’ve never once had to worry about viruses or malware.

As an OS X user since it was introduced, I’ve been privy to the advancements seen over the years. 10.2 gave us Address Book, Bonjour and a journaled file system; 10.3 featured Exposé and a snazzier Finder, along with Fast User Switching and Safari; 10.4 brought Spotlight, native .Mac syncing, iChat AV, a built-in Dictionary/Thesaurus and a very cool app Automator that I still don’t quite get; 10.5 introduced Time Machine, Boot Camp, Quick Look and an improved Spotlight; 10.6 boasted an improved Finder, smaller OS footprint, complete Microsoft Exchange integration, a kick-ass Preview and a faster-than-before Time Machine. We’ve had a lot of good times, me and OS X.

Which makes me wonder what exactly is next. The future of computer doesn’t seem to lay in desktop or even laptop OSes, and now that Apple’s iOS is running on so many iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads and (a modified version, I think) AppleTVs, it would make sense that 10.7 will look more like iOS 5 than the other way around. Not that iOS is bad, though.

iOS is fast, seldom crashes and has programs that usually just work. The installation process, very similar to the Mac App Store, is painless and quick. But as someone who wants to know as much as I can about how it works, iOS freaks me out a bit. I don’t know how to access system files. I don’t know how to access files in any sort of hierarchy, period. I can’t adjust any settings that iOS doesn’t want me to. I know that this is a good thing for most people who use computers, but as a guy who teaches others and troubleshoots from time to time, knowing you’re able to open the hood is comforting.

I’m not sure I trust the hardware and software enough to function this way. You may not care. Others may not. But you can’t argue that knowing as much as you can just in case something goes wrong is bad or even misguided.

Please Apple, don’t abandon OS X for iOS. Borrow elements. Blend some of the best features. But don’t forget that a lot of us still want a computer, not a consumer electronic device.