Thursday, January 15, 2009

OS X Without the Mac

Traditionally, with we talk about Apple's Mac with the OS, we refer to it as "Mac OS X".

Now, Appleinsider has revealed that Apple has decided to trademark the "OS X" with the "Mac".  As explained, it's likely because Apple's OS exists in multiple devices that are not Macs:  iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple TV.

Not to mention on a myriad of non-sanctioned devices like my MacWind.  So here's where I think this is interesting.  Just OS X.  

What I'm about to say is mere speculation on my part (I have no sources, this is not a rumor, but just my educationed musing) but consistent with Apple traditon of taking unassuming steps that are laid out on a road map that eventually somewhere.   Can this be the towards possibly licensing OS X for use outside of Mac computers?

Here's why based on Apple's past actions.
  • PowerPC to Intel transition - no one thought that was possible.  Blood enemies and all.  Things change.  Time change.
  • Apple has AMD chips running OS X in Cupertino.  We have to be very naive to think otherwise.  Cell chips?  You bet.  
  • No disk drive.  Now, no user changeable batteries on some Macbooks.  Already, that exists in the iPod and iPhone lines.  And let's not forget no firewire on the unibody Macbooks.  Apple is very sneaky at adopting new technology as they are at dropping older ones.
  • USB - Apple wasn't the first to use it but it was certainly the one that introduced the public to it with the original iMac.
  • iPod Touch with recoding abilities.  Right.  VOIP is more like it.  iChat Voice or Video years down the line?  Definitely.
  • Some experience now with certifying apps - may translate that experience into hardware certifications.
Those are behaviors that Apple has exhibited in the past that had me wondering about this trademark change and potential of OS X licensing.  Nothing in those behaviors sugget OS X on Viaos or Inspirons.  Nor should we just take Apple's word if Apple executives, Cook or Schiller, offers Apple's explanation for this change in trademark.  

Apple likes to surprise people so don't be surprised if OS X licensing is in the cards.  Apple will still make Macs.  And as far as licensing, I'm sure Jobs and Co. has made sure Apple always come out on top - in technical and financial terms.

If this happens, it'll be soon.  Windows 7 is coming soon.  Based on personal judgment and what I'm reading in the press, Redmond may have a remedy for it OS woes. The public is still fuming over Vista and corporations are sticking with XP.  If Apple wanted to take OS marketshare, this is the time.

Source:  Appleinsider

Note:  I know the other side of the argument:  Steve Jobs will never let this happen.  I'm almost with you on this one.  Jobs has never public said he regretted not licensing the Mac OS in the 80s but he has publicly said he marvelled at Microsoft's ability to make deals.  Maybe Jobs, health willing, will try to make a few of his own now.

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