OS X Lion and the Post-PC Era: Yay or No Way?, Part 1
An Introduction to Both Sides
- 2011.07.13 - Tip Jar
Microsoft is following suit with Apple yet again with the next Windows update, currently codenamed Windows 8. Apple's upcoming OS X 10.7 Lion will feature an interface that looks and feels similar to iOS, while Windows 8 will look and feel very similar to the user interface found in the current generation of Windows mobile phones.
It's certainly a strange time for both Mac and PC purists. Charles Moore's recent article, Of Cars and Trucks, iPads and Macs, clearly explains the paradox we are currently experiencing with the changing climate of Mac OS X (now simply OS X) and the waves it is making with personal computing. The best way I can put this into layman's terms is that Apple is extending the trend of making the interface "light and fluffy" with OS X Lion, as it has with iOS, giving newer Mac consumers a presentation similar to what is found on their high-end mobile devices.
We can all speculate why Apple has decided to go this direction, but the one fact that can't be disputed is that Apple is quite definitely a publicly traded company that has shareholders to answer to and will always focus on growing its business. From a business standpoint, Lion is going to make a lot of sense, and Apple is certainly staying apace in a world where light consumption mobile (car, to borrow Moore's analogy) computing is gaining a significant edge on traditional heavy creation (truck) computing.
Giving the Mac a similar feel to iOS and creating iCloud to tie all of your creative content from your Mac(s) together with your "car" iOS devices seamlessly is a natural direction for the company to go. In addition to the large icons and fullscreen applications of OS X Lion, processes will become more automated (i.e. autosave, versions), while the feel of the computer is leaning more and more towards gesture-based commands using the Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse to create an overall experience much more like iOS. These changes could be a bad thing or good thing, depending on your taste and preference, and they certainly contradict the accepted norms in traditional personal computing.
Steve Jobs and our friends at Apple would certainly like to fulfill their self-prophesied claim that we are in a post-PC era by removing Mac from Mac OS X, in addition to calling the Mac " just another device" while reinventing the wheel that we have used for a decade. This begs the question for current and prospective Mac and PC owners as potential users of the next generation of computers and operating systems: "Do we really want our mobile OS taking over our desktops and laptops (i.e., should car computing greatly displace truck computing)?"
Do we truly consume that much more than we create?
Without a doubt, good arguments exists for both sides, and whether you agree or disagree with the new trends in personal computing, I will try to provide a biased opinion. (Yes, that's right, a biased opinion.) In parts 2 and 3, I will conduct a one-sided argument for each viewpoint to analyze the best and worst points, and I will give a final unbiased conclusion in part 4 based on the facts and needs of present and past Mac enthusiasts like you and me!
Dan Bashur lives in central Ohio with his wife and children. He uses various PowerPC G3 and G4 Macs running Tiger and Leopard. Besides finding new uses for Macs and other tech, Dan enjoys writing (fantasy novel series in the works), is an avid gamer, and a member of Sony's Gamer Advisor Panel. You can read more of Dan Bashur's work on ProjectGamers.com, where he contributes regular articles about the PSP, classic gaming, and ways you can use Sony gaming hardware with your Mac.
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