How long until iOS replaces OS X?

A small name change to the iPhone operating system might be a bit of a bigger moment than it seems.

During Monday's WWDC keynote , a small but interesting moment occurred when discussing the iPhone's latest OS update. Formerly called iPhone OS4, Steve Jobs announced an official name switch to "iOS 4."

This isn't surprising, since the iOS covers three devices currently, only one of which is an iPhone. On the other hand, it raises more questions. What other devices will iOS spread to? Apple TV , most likely, and maybe other appliance-like devices.

iOS 4
James Martin/CNET

The other lingering question is this: is iOS slowly but surely sinking its teeth into OS X?

Apple's stable and successful Mac operating system is approaching 10 years old. Computing on iOS devices is becoming ever more convincing , and apps are becoming more versatile. Apple's hardware is also improving.

Considering the success of the App Store, it seems like only a matter of time before Apple enables some sort of App Store environment on its Macs. From there, we could end up seeing some sort of parallel evolution for a few years. But maybe--in five years, or even less--we could see Apple's OS X cross paths with iOS into some future OS that's truly cross-compatible.

Maybe that means iOS devices will become a little more open. Maybe that also means Macs will get a little more closed. But something suggests iOS is more than just a mobile platform; we may be watching Apple's next OS emerge right before our eyes.

Considering that many people are already considering buying iPads over standard-OS laptops, that may not be such a crazy idea anymore.

 

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