With 10.6 out the focus in no longer on the operating system.
The focus is on the “way it all works together” – the operating is systems just one part of the platform – and Apple is for now the only one who does it all. Computer hardware, operating systems, major applications, cloud services, web-portal, hand held devices.
And there are many more parts that Apple has that are significant:
• WebObjects – the most mature framework for providing web-services
• Micropayment System – iTune music store is probably the biggest micropayment system on the web (maybe Amazon or Google Adsense are as big? but even Microsoft is not in the same league)
• Relationships with all the other players – wireless carriers, semi-conductors, major software developers, music industry, motion picture industry, and now the game industry.
OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is just the first step of a what I believe to be Apple pulling all these together and laying the foundation for much more interesting and yes eye popping integrated products / features in the near future.
The 9/9/09 event will probably have a new iTunes, will it be a 64bit OSX 10.6 app? Will it (when run on 10.6 as it will still need to maintain compatibility with 10.5/ Win XP) have some new cool stuff built on the new capabilities of 10.6)? You can be sure it will take more advantage of the cloud and extend their iTunes store franchise.
We still have iLife and IWorks (not to mention Logic and Final Cut) in their next versions that will take advantage of cool stuff made possible by the “cleaning up” done in 10.6 and they are much bigger income streams / product differentiators than the operating system these days. Apple not only makes some money on these products but once they have you using them / knowing them / building your life-workflow around them, you are a Mac person as the friction to change to Linux or Windows go way up!
And then there is the the mobile device integration thing! The iPod Touch / iPhone as a remote control for your computer or application or House is still in it’s infancy, the larger tablet will only move this further along. Image your mobile device being the interface for things that have no controls a black box (or silver and silver in the case of Apple TV), now imagine then working through the cloud. This is where it’s all going. Apple and the rest of us only see the tip of the iceberg, this is the foundation of the future.
OSX obviously needed some re-architechting to lay the foundation of all this, remember OSX is the operating system of much more ethan the Mac now, it is the bases of the current and next generation of mobile devices and as such the bases for app fronted cloud services. Webobjects which is the bases for all of Apple innovation (the Apple Store, ITunes and mobile me are all built on webobjects) was done before anyone at Next or Apple full understood it’s significance, but it gave them the tools to build the future. OSX is the same they are building the basic architecture of the future.