Mac OS and iOS to Merge Into a Unified Operating System?

Apple may be ready to switch to a single, unified operating system that powers all of its computing products if Jeffries analyst Peter Misek is to be believed. To be released next year, the A6 system-in-a-chip with a new quad-core processor may apparently be powerful enough for mobile tasks along with more advanced personal computer usage. The A6 may mark the first time that the same chip is featured within a Mac system and mobile devices either in conjunction with more advanced Intel processors or to replace them. Misek points towards less-demanding Mac systems exclusively featuring the A6, although he does not say that outright.

A fault in the ARM processor lineup that would be used within the A6, and that has been utilized within the A4 and A5 that the iOS devices utilize, would be that they are only 32-bit, meaning that they cannot take advantage of more modern processor management. It is not until 2016 that 64-bit ARM processors are set to make their way into the market. However, once that does happen Apple’s process of unifying iOS and Mac OS would reportedly be finished.

The current separation between iOS devices and Mac systems is more than justified. After all, they both have different interfaces best suit for their distinct control methods. It may be more so the underlying elements powering the operating system that become unified, though the report does not specifically mention whether they will become one-in-the-same or simply more alike.

Mac OS X Lion, an update released last month for Mac systems, brings some elements of iOS’s interface design to the platform. That includes a page-based app library, full-screen apps, as well as a focus on multi-touch gestures. An App Store for Mac was also recently released following the App Store’s success on the iPhone and iPad.

Misek states that the merger would be done so that iCloud can become better-integrated,

“Users want to be able to pick up any iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or turn on their iTV) and have content move seamlessly between them and be optimized for the user and the device currently being used. We believe this will be difficult to implement if iOS and OS X are kept separate.”

We do not fully trust his explanation regarding that since file management across two platforms is not a relatively difficult task. Apple seems to have designed the operating systems well enough so that they can have unified features such as iCloud provides. In fact, at the core of iOS is Mac OS X.

I would be more compelled to see if this leads to product combinations – a iMacPad Air, anybody?

[analyst report via The Wall Street Journal]