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Jason Snell for Macworld
August 25, 2017 9:47 AM PT
It’s easy to get so focused on the details on the present that we miss the obvious questions about the future. When John Siracusa wrote about the dangers of Mac OS X getting old in 2005, that operating system had only been around for five years—but he wasn’t wrong that Apple would need to address major shortcomings in the operating system in the long term.
So with iOS riding high (and serving as the basis for pretty much every major Apple platform that isn’t the Mac), it’s hard to imagine what comes next. And yet some tweets by Steve Troughton-Smith made my eyes pop open. After linking to a fascinating Ars Technica story about Fuschia, Google’s next-generation operating system project, Troughton-Smith wrote: “We’re far enough into the age of mobile that the big players are designing the OSes that’ll follow it-surprised if Apple isn’t doing same. It’s not so crazy to think that Apple would want to replace both iOS and macOS with something new and more unified. Post-XNU [the Kernel that runs iOS and macOS], post-BSD [Unix, the underpinnings of iOS and macOS].”
Replace macOS? Okay, we’ve played this game before—just as the Mac has changed chip architectures every decade or so, we’re now 17 years into the macOS/OS X era—and the classic Mac OS lasted about the same amount of time. iOS is comparatively young—but it’s still 10 years old, and built on top of the Mac OS X base. Perhaps its time is coming, sooner than we think. Or perhaps not. Let’s look at Apple’s long-term OS choices: