Next Mac OS: Learning from iPhone?

Aayush Arya
9 February, 2009
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Some of the clever and unique functions of the iPhone—such as being location-aware and supporting multitouch technology—may make their way to Snow Leopard, the next version of Apple’s OS X. The new OS will reportedly take a page out of the iPhone SDK and support the Core Location service on Macs. Also, multitouch capabilities will be accessible to third-party developers, according to Apple Insider.

Since Macs are not 3G capable—not yet, anyway—Core Location on Apple’s computer line would use latitude and longitude coordinates instead of GPS to display a device’s location. But does Core Location for Mac mean a Core Location blacklist like the one on the iPhone is coming to the desktop? The blacklist was discovered shortly after the launch of the iPhone 3G; its discovery prompted some to wonder if this was in fact the rumoured ‘kill switch’ that could remotely disable iPhone applications. I’m not an engineer, but it seems to me that while a MacBook kill switch would be harder to pull off than on the iPhone, it wouldn’t be impossible.

In addition to Core Location, Snow Leopard developers will reportedly be able to take advantage of the MacBook’s multitouch capabilities. Apple has been big on multitouch ever since it released the iPhone, and is currently trying to trademark the term. All of the latest models of Apple’s laptop lines support multitouch functionality, as do the MacBook Pros of the previous generation. If you’re like me, however, and have an older MacBook with a casing that can never stay clean and a top cover that has popped off and chipped so many times that you spend more time at the Genius Bar than you do at your desk . . . well, you’re out of luck when it comes to multitouch. [ed. -- you're also out of luck when it comes to Snow Leopard, which will only support Intel-based Macs].

Snow Leopard was officially announced during the June 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said the new OS will focus primarily on performance and security.

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