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Tech Culture: Reporters' Roundtable: Mountain Lion and the evolution of operating systems

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Tech Culture: Reporters' Roundtable: Mountain Lion and the evolution of operating systems

27:19 /

Apple has embarked on an ambitious plan to release a major OS X upgrade every year. What's it mean, and why? And what's missing from Mountain Lion, the upcoming update to the Mac OS?

-- -- -- -- and welcome to reporters' roundtable I am rate Needham and in San Francisco's are we shall we talk about a single copy each time. And -- -- we are talking -- out. The Mac operating system OS-X. 406 as everybody calls -- and write articles that acts yet it's not now. It's not OS-X. -- the next was going to be called mountain line is time for our yearly look. At the Macintosh. Desktop laptop operating system. Evolution now that the operating system that battle is evolving -- really interesting ways with the -- conference -- Get back in the look at this Smartphone operating system design is really influencing the desktop laptop operating system. The cloud is becoming an integral part of a localized operating system strategy and to talk about that. I can think of no two better people on the -- I have to say first of all our own an intrepid Apple reporter Josh loans and who's joining us here Josh thanks -- -- And Brian -- from the New York Times formerly of wired and author of always on how the iPhone unlock the anything anytime anywhere future and -- lock us in. Thanks for joining us primes it to see you again Brian was on show back in twenty and we're talking about the App Store that was a newer thing. -- and he's got some great stories sometimes -- national check out. Now before -- get started on the show. Well mountain lion was announced. Just a week in a day ago officially in people knew -- was coming. But we just had to shareholders meeting and I don't wanna get too much into that but because that we have a whole new -- out there and Brian I'm I think. You're -- what was going on their Josh you're actually there anything important come out of the Apple shareholders meeting. I mean it must intercede part of this meetings obviously. Is the -- session that's when shareholders is basically it's they'd get up and ask. Tim Cook and whoever else is there any sort of questions they want and answer this year -- some of the questions were. Are you doing TV which of course they didn't talk about. You know -- when's the next device coming out can't talk about that. But they did say some interesting stuff about a FaceBook you know there -- there have been questions lately about. Now why Twitter over something like FaceBook which is you -- money mentally larger and in use by more people -- and and Tim -- answer that was you know what we like -- -- -- we we you kind of plan on doing more things with them on this kind of cryptic interest think Brian anything you take away from -- At its shareholders meetings are usually just shareholders saying all you guys have so much money where you -- you -- the money and Apple says well we can't tell you Oregon -- the money when it's gonna blow your mind. This year that's what this -- blow your mind. And not so that that's pretty much how I would summarize our shareholders meeting ZZR for Apple at least for the past few years. There's Apple's paid dividends of the down and that was when the big things that people wondering about it is now they have you know 100 billion dollars in -- let's not -- mean. They have -- -- -- of cash it. In terms of like long term securities and except you know an impeachment -- that. Announced but yet to lot of money it's enough money the point where you can buy you know like -- companies make a lot of acquisitions and attacked after this year or at shareholders' meeting. -- last -- there was news that broke out that it actually arch top which is like a App Store search tool. A for Android in IOS -- Oh that's right that ciampa yeah I covered them every really interesting app recommendation engine while ago called a crosswalk. Left column limits the right thing shouldn't. All right let's get into the operating system news triggered talk about the game is called mountain lion. It's like. Lion SS. Like leopard and snow leopard was. Leopard ask me that's relating about it's basically just time. If you need a new things tapped on to something to -- -- and now it's not the major ground patent changes the first of all wind is mountain line going to arrive for a real people. Not -- means summer. Adding and say how much it cost yet but it's gonna coming -- summer which is just one year after. -- lion came out now line was a pretty major upgrade. And that was how much was that for end users 39 -- That's thirty dollars and -- like when he started distributing it through the App Store -- -- SATA disks. And I -- it sold really well on me thirty dollars this is a pretty remarkable price for operating system I would imagine -- to continue selling an app prices to continue. -- using the app starts -- distributed. I want to talk about the economics of of this briefly down. Thirty dollars for a major operating system -- if you're at all used to. The Microsoft way of doing business where Microsoft makes its money from software thirty dollars is nothing. -- ready to go -- Brian. Hey I think this goes along with Apple's business model right Sony they use software so that you can sell hardware up for the most part. Daily need to make a lot of money and -- software so long as you're buying a whole bunch iphones -- Macs and so -- that it -- -- to keep the price of the software load because. -- want to sell or which hardware. Now. Lion the current operating system the current version of OS-X. Is quite good why does Apple need to do I mean they've accelerated the pace of their updates -- used to be. I think leopard and snow leopard onto your site -- to your cycle -- got -- in them online or on a one year cycle. Com it -- why have they accelerated the pace of the major operating system updates. I think it's it needs to keep pace of violence and in devices like the iPhone and the iPad people who are kind of really costs not to -- yearly annual update that makes major changes and cases IOS five which they released in October. They kind of a lot of these things that were part of that the mean kind of apps and features does -- come over to Mac OS-X now with now line. And it's kind of -- and understand -- people do things. If people expect to be W some of the same things they have on the phone on the Mac is there at their -- -- -- such as the reminders and notes those are some of the big features -- come over. You know one would think that. You know it's difficult enough to make a major update to an operating system no matter the platform whether it's a Smartphone tablet or -- a real computer. One would think the trying to get these two operating systems in sync and in some kind of feature or or operational sync -- code sank. Would actually slow things down assert their separate projects Howell is Apple able to. Start accelerating the pace of updates when actually it seems like the work they're doing is getting much more complex. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Now that they have so much money and -- it in just keep investing in the engineers to do this -- they don't need to pull back any punches anymore and you can see. Now with the yearly annual and I release of -- nine or I mean OS-X upgrades. They're gonna keep going -- -- that. Then you also a big difference from company like Microsoft where they're just a -- -- divisions. I can working on -- seasoning Tran pull little bits from each division try and work together it takes longer to do that -- of Apple you have kind of -- A core team of people working in this and then there are also. -- -- if I alas they've actually pulled some people of Mac on -- teams are dependent very closely related when it comes CU. On -- engineering backgrounds and and the overall goal of going in one direction and one of the things we learned from -- the Steve Jobs spoke. Was that you know the that Steve Jobs was a fairly despotic ruler. Of Apple and -- he hated the idea of divisions which -- a corporate concept car as part of the company's in this part of composting that the room there are no divisions he -- the works like it's. -- the -- of -- that's exactly the wrong idea. Is Apple still as unified. Under new leadership as it was under drop -- the products were seeing now are still still have you know jobs on right. He can't go on the way it it was then. I mean it's hard to -- -- so secretive but considering that -- line is. It's getting more and more -- IOS and I would say that yes I mean it seems like they're getting pretty unified. And mountain -- getting a lot of the features that we -- -- -- on the iPad and the iPhone. -- and I think at least you know if you if you read and motions he's looked inside Apple recently meaning it I think he makes a case that. It'd be just as they march in a unifying -- from the top. Analyze that direction comes from just of -- corporate opening kind of trickles down to the people actually work in the products don't have as much of ninety of what's happening. So I -- that Foxconn and slightly but I mean you kind of get this this overall sense that. The -- -- industry projects but it you know the strategy behind Gibbons is very kind of connected together when it's less like. You know this companies working -- and this one's working on windows how how can we get those who work it's like these two are being developed at the same time. So speaking of working together and speaking of that unification of all these products and we started talking. And I think. Two years ago. About. We have this crazy idea lot of people at the same time. OS-X and IOS will merge and -- and IOS will win that was the idea. Because it's such a successful operating system and the user interface is so nice it's -- revolutionary. That I eventually our math books and are and that's we'll start to look like giant ipads. Are they going to -- what do we predict about the there's the link between OS-X and IOS Bryant. Clean I was thinking about this and it's not you know would it be clinical if I can think my iPad I can docket to a keyboard and it turned into OS-X -- -- or leasing and house. And -- she's like a regular -- seeks. But -- I thought about Florida at that and why would they need to make Macs anymore in some acts I think I think it sounds. Beneficial for them to keep the two products. Separates and Annan treat the operating system based sonic the context of what you do with a device like he was with those studies still -- -- -- Weiner. You still have a keyboard on and analysts now IOS he just had this big screen of different apps that you aren't so -- I think got it's hard to tell of course what they're gonna be doing in side to ten years and he may very well might unified. The -- products at some point but it would seem from a business standpoint it would be better -- -- kept them separate. I also think there's somebody relation me send it to add to the admin points that -- input. -- -- -- -- -- simulator. With X code which is Apple's and its developer to on the have simulators for iPhone and iPad -- test out your apps. If you've ever actually used a touch application with one of these. Simulators -- its user mouse and keyboard just fueled years. And there's there's this huge divide actually if you were to bring some of those apps that you used to on your iPhone -- your iPad. Over your computer what that would actually feel like in a lot of cases -- don't. -- to work out at -- -- and because I think Microsoft is fighting that exact battle right now with windows eight and Windows Phone whatever it is. That there they are really beginning to bring the experiences together and people are already complaining about windows eight saying. It's great with touch but it just kind of -- weird with a mouse and keyboard. And I find it curious and like you -- comments on this that Apple the great company of unification of the single vision. Actually has two operating systems. And isn't he seems to be maintaining two completely separate code bases and user interaction model -- there are some things that make -- look and feel related but they're clearly. Siblings not clones up. While Microsoft -- -- moving in the -- opposite direction of bringing everything together I mean it seems like a kind of evolutionary paradox that were were witnessing right. -- and what do you think about that do you think that's gonna be a good idea because I think we we already saw some products where they try to. Now puts you into one be seen convertible tablets where you rotate the screen and then you can you can touch it and and you rotated -- -- -- -- keyboard again but the operating system. For a convertible tablet is still a desktop operating system that you traditionally want -- -- key keyboard and mouse so. When he tried -- things the audio is still kind of funky. Josh and I forgot who said have been there is this -- kind of comment about when you're using windows eight and you're in a metro interface which is their kind of big touch thing with icons and tiles and it's -- -- you know based off the phones and and then suddenly you get popped out to the windows desktop it's like you're you're drunk Trent drunk uncle -- looked stumbles in the room where lies this here. Now I still think there's like a huge shift there and the problem for developers -- cases they really have to kind of on design apps for -- to kind of different. Interfaces -- with the same binary to -- it's crazy. Its ambitious but it's crazy. And -- So will do you think Josh we're gonna see these OS -- -- -- mean at some level. Edit at the core on the app on the Apple site they're there is some code similarity between IOS and OS-X but if that I mean one app won't run -- both platforms so -- they diverged pretty. Quickly off the floor -- right the F. I mean I think it's all comes on in -- in -- if it ever were to. Kind of how this this life for you could have an IOS app -- your computer then you really need -- get past interface hurdles first and right now of the track -- great but it's not. It's still missing that touchy feeling -- since. And that your right AME just -- -- -- I think -- really key it all comes down to input. It doesn't come down to processing power which I think it's very interesting I mean that mobile devices are becoming. Powerful enough to run real OS is the problem. Is the input and especially in this -- one want to get into next. With the cloud. Processing power is becoming less and less of an issue for OS designed because so much of the key stuff like -- for example is being done. -- in Cupertino or at -- server somewhere else and -- how important is the cloud. To mountain line into the Apple desktop OS. -- music is becoming increasingly important for Apple to focus on a cloud and you can -- up -- on -- that -- are planning opening and you data center. Was in Kansas a forgotten anyway organ on -- right and did -- thing at the cloud does for Apple is it allows Apple to tie all the products together by Schering -- data between. All these connected screens is connected devices. And it makes more sense for you as a customer and execute to keep buying Apple products because the cloud ties -- so seamlessly together like you know like in can edit a document on my Mac and that -- -- shows up on the iPhone version. -- need -- dot document editor on it makes a lot more sense to buy. On a Mac if you have an iPhone vs say a windows computer. No I think big declines a huge -- -- the one thing that doesn't kind of trickle down to those devices. And there was talk awhile growth of Apple possibly do that storage free iPhone where everything's based off of iCloud is before anyone knew it iCloud even -- -- -- -- -- but the whole idea was -- everything would be stored in the cloud. -- a degree they've already kind of done parts of that for instance. If you have iTunes match you don't really need to keep any music on your phone anymore you discounted download what you need when you needed that's kind of cool and they've kind of taken that -- stance of documents. It's actually -- Google has actually done that successfully with Android I mean when you. Pull up an Android phone you plug into your Google account and everything you've if you're if you live in the global ecosystem everything you've done -- -- the senate -- Is really miniscule which -- which is another approach by the way to the -- operating system. Battle on which is I mean if Microsoft is gonna sell operating system and windows -- -- upgrades going to be 139 bucks or 59 bucks hurt its can be -- can be a pain. -- When you upgrade -- princess that every. For years now that's a big upgrade. OS-X is now willing to yearly it appears. Google is just kind of update all the time and it's free that's a different model entirely how does that work and can that -- -- -- an important operating system. Nothing about Smartphones company about. Desktops and Chrome book and and that operative concept Hewlett from -- around -- that led diary you know it and again. Yeah I see my -- virgin and -- right and they -- amount. Alright moving on com what's missing. From. I wanna ask that question -- sorry there's one other important topic with -- and that I think is -- -- -- and -- began to see this. The version -- to go the the App Store. With Apple making their desktop operating system work the same way released optionally work the same way. As I listed where you have an App Store. And you can now get your apps directly from within the interface and not have to leave it and not have to you'll installer is and the apps go with you no matter which. Installation of this our product Europe. Of your desktop or laptop lecture on how important is the App Store to a list and to mountain lion and are we going to see an App Store only version. -- -- I think on this -- is the App Store is pretty important for OS-X in terms of security. I'd there -- -- option so you can switch it so you can only download apps through the App Store verses like the Internet and up or through a web browser and and it sounds kind of draconian but you can always turn that option option and the -- option is there just for people who are a little bit less sophisticated with current -- -- don't need to worry about viruses. On. -- every time I see Apple do something where there's an option to turn off some brand new feature I know there's only -- version or two away from taking that option away from us. Seriously do you think it's gonna happen. On the I think they've already got -- far away hi keeping the Mac a relatively open system in terms of being -- -- To download applications from different avenues on I don't think it it yes. Patent deal it could complete 180 -- -- that would be I'm pretty and attractive for a lot of customers. -- -- Yes I'm I'm I'm wondering I think I've from a legal level -- I think they have to you. One -- church is on mobile they've offered like that but that's because they've -- all these deals with carriers where it's been in a security issue with this it's -- -- -- -- paradigm of computers where. You wanna install what you want and -- and you need to install to and install the be -- with devices like the iPad and the iPhone people are kind of okay with convenience will pay for that. Right the problem is when you get apps it can't conform to the App Store rules and therefore they can't be an App Store. What happens in that future you don't have apps -- in of the LCB for a couple -- is this hugely useful Mac app. And that was on there is that licensing issues. That's what I'm getting at is is I -- I mean I think people like the apps -- when I look at a new app and I'm thinking about buying and it's not and the apps chart it's like oh god I got to the installer and if it's a paid app -- got to pay through some other way. The App Store super convenient and super great because your apps archive for -- no matter where you what machine you -- you wanna move to. I'm wondering how far Apple could go there. And also. How this whole concept of the of the the App Store in the frequent updates works in one of the major buyers of technology which is the corporation. Is OS-X is mountain line more or less. Corporate friendly than previous versions it. And importance. I think with gatekeeper is -- if only. Especially if you have companies that are kind of putting out. Versions of apps. Are deploying them through the App Store through things like codes and through imaging I think the issue more so is actually. Lagging companies that -- -- for certain time periods to upgrade OS's and certainly if it's a one year cycle and you actually have some critical. And of apps that need that and you when he set for your business that conference no problem I don't think that's gonna happily and outline. If you think that corporate. Corporations will upgrade line command line or will we have a a legion of corporate Mac users running a version so behind because there IT departments -- We -- upgraded yeah I think it's a -- but as the same time he also likelier to argument earlier it's -- about selling hardware. And for a lot of these these folks who just spotted. It's an epic thirty dollars -- that's what it's gonna be it's a huge deal Brent. You yes -- I mean if you even if you just -- reliant right now I mean. I've talked to -- of a bunch of IT people who just don't wanna support lion because there it's still really buggy. On my I think there are problems that the mail app breaks for instance and on I would hope that. Apple fixes these problems before they switch to mountain line or any form -- comes out on subtle and a little bit pessimistic about the corporate support for mountain line. -- night my gut says that. I don't all right. I think you probably right I also. The measurement to IT guys I could be wrong on this are looking at that all these updates this thing jobs -- for us a lot of stuff we have to deal with. Because you know that individuals are going to be bringing their mountain lion equipped Macs into the office and using and there no matter what their supply. So I'm -- anyway. We talked -- this briefly at the top of the show about. Apple's. Integration of other services now there are existing Macintosh apps I think com. Garageband. Of the movie -- called imovie and iPhoto that are integrated -- -- with FaceBook. And one of the things that they were showing with mountain lion was deep integration in parts -- with Twitter so which is -- going to be and can it be both. I think if you look at where FaceBook is on OS-X right now it's. It's basically everywhere you wouldn't be most people are gonna do almost everything in the browser -- -- not I don't see that as being like a huge. Big coal the two areas where it really is that it needs to be is with media. And so if you -- just cut a video in imovie or. Quicktime player. You can send to FaceBook if you just took a bunch of photos and added in a manual come up on FaceBook there's integration there and the bigger thing now as Twitter but -- lying -- -- can just take any page you're on. And -- -- photos -- desktop whatever it is and share it. So imagine -- -- no please I would imagine that Apple's just cozying up with Twitter because it and tried to form. A relationship with FaceBook in the past like -- with iTunes ping. And FaceBook had wanted some pretty onerous terms or so to speak on the that's what they told Kara swisher at some point earned -- Steve Jobs told Kara swisher. And I I would imagine that. You might be more willing to work with FaceBook if the kind of lose in those terms and we don't know what those terms are I'm sure -- -- a lot of customer information. I can just see Zuckerberg and jobs or Zuckerberg and -- getting into -- thing but these two. Juggernaut it's a technology. -- right terms that would just that would be epic. -- And Apple -- the most secret corporation on on the planet so I think it's it's hard for them to understand now what social networking companies need in terms of customer information. Interest -- so what's missing from mountain lion as far as we know that we had a series is a series. Definitely not that that should be may be too surprising is -- gonna sell some phones and right now that's a big feature carpet -- walk -- with their computers using those phones I mean it wouldn't ask -- wouldn't and serious all cloud -- -- -- -- the technology won't work on on the OS that any -- -- it fits and it doesn't disease new apps -- came from IOS five and and you can use Syria with them and an in. On your phone and it's great like reminders and notes all that stuff is that's great use for voice technology. Anything actual core need for series that sometimes you subpoenaed by a figure on your phone like -- unlock -- you don't find the app you don't enter the data. Can do that for you and and an -- given much of apps running you just kind of you go and expose a -- the app you want and do your thing with a keyboard mouse it doesn't take very long none that said there would be some cool applications for Syria on your computer and you know people can dream of those all -- and maybe Apple is who -- -- I can't really think of to Muster and it's really missing in Syria -- one feature -- I mean the Mac operating system I think they can just keep rolling out incremental additions. Because we -- ready to -- so much on our desktops. -- -- in a browser. And not just the App Store is you know be avenue for you to get additional applications -- enhance what you -- on a computer. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- What what's that's on -- Sion means. When then when to expect anything running yearly cycle now and and are we going to be eventually just paying Apple's thirty bucks a year to -- update me whenever -- think that's coming. Eager to be buying -- new computer two years. Now -- -- and in paying thirty dollars and two yes yes. Riley think Hillary we have another one coming a year after Madeleine. I think -- have explicitly said that -- on an annual cycle ice that that's what they told John Gruber I think during that that briefing him on so. Assuming they keep on making boatloads of money which I'm sure they will over the next few years on -- -- we'll keep on continuing that cycle and asking for thirty dollars a year sure. How much they actually Andy to be current as it. You do need to -- make. The Mac more exciting is it's still computer and they're selling a lot more than in the used to but it's nothing close to what their side violence and departed as -- -- keep these new features every year even if they can somehow add that on top of things like. More ram and faster processing speeds I -- that's. That's cool too that's a good business models worked really well for them on the portable side. Nineteen next I mean in the air and OS-X you know coupled with additional features and -- online and how do you make a that's I I I don't -- -- sound like a fan boy so forgive me but. This is a pretty damn sexy product where -- go from here. Flexible displays that's a good one okay -- keep -- -- roll up. The screen and putting near your genes and take your computer with you everywhere you go I think that -- kind of cool I going beyond the tablet and only son that tablets are at a stop gap. Between you know computers and flexible displays but -- I'm just imagine things right now. Restricting about cleaning and acting and even do that applicants beginning maker. Again and with a -- tubular displays -- the fettuccine display. Alright guys hate -- thanks for next thing discussion on mountain lion. Thanks -- for producing standing for Stephen. Brian's excellent work can be found on the New York Times Brian -- also has book is on Amazon -- links in the show notes. Told the stories that are relevant which is like every -- story you write about on news that come -- well it's not. Thanks -- -- and thanks for joining us would back next week we're gonna do a show next week on the second screen on watching TV with an iPad or Android tablet in your lap. Don't miss our it -- -- we think took everyone.

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