By Greg Mills
Dollars to donuts, the name for Mac OS 10.7 will be Lion. The invitation to the October Apple product announcement clearly shows a lion peeking out of the Apple logo. This follows with the big cat name protocol we have seen in the past.
Mac OS X 10.0, released in March 2001, was Cheetah. Mac OS X 10.1, released in September 2001, was Puma. Mac OS X 10.2, released in August 2002, was Jaguar. Mac OS X 10.3, released in October 2003, was Panther. Mac OS X 10.4, released in April 2005, was Tiger. Mac OS X 10.5, released in October 2007, was Leopard. And Mac OS X 10.6, released in August 2009, was Snow Leopard.
When Apple launches things they generally are actual products that are "available today at the Apple Store" or by such and such a date right around the corner. Occasionally, for good reasons that are compelling, Apple CEO Steve Jobs letd us know what is coming a bit further head of time.
The well known secrecy at Apple is designed to keep Microsoft and the rest of the "me too" copy cats guessing until the last minute. The Mac OS is harder to keep under wraps since there is a need for printers and a world of third party software that has to just plain work at the release of the new operating system. There are a lot of older Macs that have to work, as well.
When we consider a new OS it is normal to look first at what is new. Along with what is new is what is now obsolete. Older Macs -- especially PowerPC chips -- are falling off the wagon. Support for legacy software also slowly fades away. We still use AppleWorks around here a lot. While I went to Pages a long time ago the paint portion of AppleWorks is still helpful.
New ports such as the coming LightPeak may be supported so that the coming crop of Masc that have those super fast ports will be ready to go from a software standpoint. The slow transfer of everything on the Mac to 64-bit will certainly continue. Look for new versions of iLife, iWork and other well established software titles.
I expect an iOS Hobby App creator program to be announced. Since Google is launching the Android App Inventor, which is still in beta, we know Apple can do nothing less to maintain the advantage of having the greatest diversity of apps. While iOS developers won't be challenged by Hobby Apps created with a stock of functions that are drag and drop to create an app, it will allow "the rest of us" to create simple apps. There might be a Hobby App store or a portion of the App Store for such apps. While these apps will not be full-on developer quality, they will perform certain functions and be a gold mine for professional developers to find new concepts they like.
Look for the buzz as Mac news web sites try to guess what the killer new features are gong to be and what gets the ax. While there is much moaning and groaning about ports and functions that are discontinued by Apple, seemingly before their time, there is a reason that becomes clear down the line as to why the feature was cut. Remember the gut wrenching cries of agony when Apple became the first hardware company to discontinue the floppy drive? I still love my FireWire port on my MacBook Pro but FireWire is on its way out. The new Light Peak ports will scream so give 'em time and everything will work out.
If Steve Jobs is a dictator, at least he is a benevolent one, and the platform he provides is second to none. Time and time again, Apple leads the industry on the selection of ports and protocols. Remember when Microsoft supported HD-DVD and Apple supported Blu-ray? Apple wisely didn't follow the loser. While it would be cool for Apple to support Blu-ray burners, there are legal and issues that prevent it keep them from selling that feature so far. Hopefully that will change.
I also expect much more of the cloud to replace memory in the upcoming OS. Ironically, even as memory of all kinds gets cheaper, the notion of storing your data in the cloud continues to be pushed. It worries me to not have my personal data in physical reach. The notion of owning something that is stored on a server farm in North Carolina, Apple or wherever seems strange to me. I know there are advantages, but I will need to be sold.
The Microsoft Vista 7 phone advertising drum beat is picking up. I noticed Microsoft launched a number of web sites that appear to be Vista 7 fan sites that are really just advertising that pops up when you Google the Windows phone. Even PC fan boy sites are asking "where are the apps?".I think within a few months, just about the time Microsoft has blown half a billion dollars in advertising, we will know if the Vista 7 poop floats or sinks. I am not breathlessly awaiting the Mac software to sync Vista 7 Phones to a Mac that Microsoft has promised for November. You think I want Stuxnet for the Mac on my MacBook Pro? Thanks anyway. I think I will stick with my iPhone and iPad.
Thats's Greg's Bite for today
(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is firstname.lastname@example.org )