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Is Google Chrome OS A Precursor To Mac OS X 10.7?

At the "Back to Mac" event, Steve Jobs laid down the philosophical foundation of the next generation of Mac OS X, which will be ten years old in 2011, by saying that he wanted the desktop OS to learn from its mobile counterpart, iOS.

Amongst the features that have been or will be present on the new Mac OS X 10.7, Lion (and presumably future Mac OS) are multi-touch gestures, the App Store, App Store, Full Screen Apps, Auto Save & Apps resume when launched.

In effect, Mac OS X 10.7 is the first step towards a converging environment with the ultimate goal being a single operating system that can run both smartphones and mainstream computers; one OS to rule them all.

This reminds us of the slow and painful process that Google is going through with Android OS 3.5 (Honeycomb) & 4.0 (Ice Cream) increasingly likely to be merged with Chrome OS to form a single entity.

By bringing transferable components of the mobile experience into Mac OS X (swipe, pinch and zoom etc), Apple is also inching towards the same goal.

Mac OS X 10.7 is still mostly a desktop-bound operating system but just like Mac OS did the transition from Power PC to x86, Apple will one day move to its own technology (A5, A6?) when it will become powerful enough.

And we will not bet against the fact that just like Mac OS X 10.7 looks a lot like the iPad, the successors of Mac OS X 10.7 will run seamlessly on a smartphone or a desktop Mac.

By then, most developers including the likes of Adobe and Microsoft, will have adopted either cloud technology (Office 365 or Photoshop.com) or released repackaged "App Store" compliant applications. Already Apple is calling on Mac Developer Program members to get their Mac application ready for the Mac App Store.

Chrome OS is expected to be launched late Fall 2010 (i.e. within weeks) while Mac OS 10.7 is set to be rolled out in Summer 2011. It is therefore not surprising that Apple chose "the Power of Mac OS X, the Magic Of iPad" as the tagline for Mac OS X Lion, should there be any doubt about where its desktop OS is going.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.