May 21, 2012, 10:08 AM — When Apple unveiled its preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion earlier this year, many people in the blogosphere concluded that Mac OS X was being "iOSified." In other words, features from iOS were being ported to OS X for use on the desktop, a continuation of the Back to the Mac campaign Apple first initiated with Mac OS X Lion. Some lamented that this has been a bad thing--as if features that work, in some cases, better on iOS than on the desktop, shouldn't be added to OS X, because the former is a mobile operating system, and the latter built for the desktop.
iOS and OS X have the same foundation, and there is no reason why efficient features of one shouldn't be added to the other. But Apple is, in my opinion, developing a much deeper and longer term strategy in iOSifying OS X.
In its most recent fiscal quarter, Apple's earnings were dominated by sales of iOS devices. Out of $39.2 billion in revenue, the iPhone and iPad represented three quarters of the company's sales. While Mac growth is still well ahead of the rest of the PC market, the Mac now makes up less than one-fifth of the company's revenue. Apple is making some 75% of its income from product lines introduced within the past five years.
At the same time, there's another stat Apple presents during its quarterly earning announcements: Half of the Macs sold at the company's retail stores are to new customers--to switchers.
Put yourself in the shoes of a person who owns an iPhone or iPad. If they want a new computer, and they have been happy with their iPhone or iPad, they might consider buying a Mac. When they go to an Apple Store today, they'll look at a Mac and see applications like iCal and Address Book, or System Preferences and iChat. While the icons are similar enough for them to figure out the link between these and their mobile equivalents, it would be a lot easier if they saw Calendar and Contacts; Settings and Messages. And those little Share buttons? People use them all the time to send things by e-mail, but it's not immediately clear how to do this in OS X.