All the blogs have been talking about the invitations that Apple sent out yesterday to a press event they will hold on Oct. 20. If you click through you can see a picture of the invitation that features a lion lurking behind a hole in a sheet of metal that the Apple logo has been cut out of. Below the logo is the phrase “Back to the Mac.” Since Apple has been naming their operating systems after big cats ever since the release of OSX 10.1 “Cheetah,” it is likely that the event will focus on a new version of the operation system. The picture seems to suggest that OSX 10.7 will carry the moniker “Lion.”
Of course the Internet cannot receive word of an Apple announcement without going into a frenzy of speculation. Aside from a new iteration of the operating system, bloggers are throwing around words like iLife and MacBook Air. The most ambitious prediction is one the has been floating around the blogosphere for some time: an OS-wide paradigm shift, possibly moving away from the desktop metaphor and file system in favor of a multi-touch- and database-driven environment similar to that of iOS.
Joel Johnson of Gizmodo poses the question “Is the Mac ready for multi-touch?” He argues that current desktop operating systems do not work well with touch-screen technologies, as demonstrated by a slew of Windows 7 touch devices, and that Apple would probably not release a multi-touch version of OSX until they believe the experience is up to their standards. MG Siegler of Tech Crunch seems to think that multi-touch is ready for its close up: “The computing world is shifting into the age of mobile, and iOS is now seen as Apple’s major operating system.” According to TC, the name “Lion” symbolizes that this will be the last iteration of OSX as we know it because there is no bigger cat than the king of the jungle.
As more and more of Apples revenue and customer base comes from iOS devices, it’s not a stretch to see the company moving their computers in a very consumer driven direction. As a programmer and an all-around power user I must say that I would be disappointed to see iOS’s shortcomings make it onto my desktop, mainly the lack of true multitasking and “walled garden” nature of the OS. I would also like to believe that Apple wouldn’t stab their most loyal users – the “crazy ones” that have been Macs since before Justin Long was alive – but that wish goes into the realm of unicorns and world peace.
I’ll tell you what I would like: An OS that blends the best of multi-touch with the power of a full featured, open operating system. Is that too much to ask?