What’s Next For The Mac?

The past two releases of Mac OS X, Lion and Mountain Lion, were both focused around the changes they made to make the desktop more like iOS. Their changes affected how apps can notify users to updates, included day-to-day applications like Notes and Reminders which are synced across all devices, and more.

Two more big changes are coming this fall with the release of iOS 6: Shared photo streams and Facebook.

Extrapolating on the general pattern of making the Mac more like iOS, we can hypothesize what needs to change for both how we use the software, and how we use the hardware. It’s pretty simplistic to just apply what Apple’s done to a few elements in OS X to everything that defines the Mac, but the results are interesting if nothing else.

What’s already changed:

  • iCloud
  • Buying, installing & Updating software
  • Notification Center
  • Launch Pad
  • Reminders, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, Email
  • Twitter integration
  • Sharing
  • Full-screen apps
  • iTunes Match
  • Dictation

Upcoming changes:

  • Facebook
  • Shared photo streams

Characteristics of OS X and the Mac hardware:

  • The desktop (as a part of the operating system)
  • The keyboard
  • The clamshell design of laptops
  • The mouse
  • The OS X dock
  • The OS X dashboard
  • Macs are single orientation devices
  • The menu bar
  • The Finder (Menu bar apps & application menus)
  • Siri
  • The trackpad (The trackpad gestures are complicated and un-iOS like)
  • The trash

Usage patterns:

  • Deleting items: On iOS deletions are final, on OS X we have the trash.
  • Downloads: On iOS you can’t very well download files from the Internet.
  • Shortcuts: Many desktop applications use shortcuts, while they don’t exist at all on iOS

There’s a lot you can write about each of the items listed, but it’s interesting enough just to go over each item and spend some time with them. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • If it’s not in iOS, do we really need it?
  • How could it work even more like iOS?
  • If somebody’s only ever used iOS, what would they expect on the Mac?

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