With Apple’s release of operating systems slowing down considerably, some are left to wonder if OS X has any life left to it. Snow Leopard was considered a release aimed at polishing the experience with significant under the hood changes, but what could be next?


With Apple’s release of operating systems slowing down considerably, some are left to wonder if OS X has any life left to it. Apple made no mention of the Mac platform at its WWDC keynote this year. Snow Leopard was considered a release aimed at polishing the experience with significant under-the-hood changes to set the stage for next-generation technologies, but what could be next? Here’s a look at some areas that would make 10.7 a significant upgrade.

Speech RecognitionSpeech Recognition

The Mac OS has had speech recognition built-in since the days of OS 9 and to be truthful, it’s never worked that great. But Apple has continued to make progress in this area with Voice Control on the iOS devices and its recent purchase of Siri. Could future Macs feature more natural and effective speech recognition?

Resolution IndependenceResolution Independence

OS X features limited support for resolution independence, but the operating system as a whole still doesn’t support this feature. If Mac displays will one day adopt densely packed pixels like the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, the operating system will need to support resolution independence.

A New FilesystemA New File System

Snow Leopard was rumored to originally include support for the ZFS file system, but due to licensing issues with Sun (developer of the file system), it didn’t make an appearance. Apple’s current implementation, HFS Plus, has been around since 1998 (the good ole days of OS 8.1). While it’s seen some improvements since then, an overhaul in this area could provide some major performance benefits to platform as well as better compatibility with other platforms.

Home Folder in the CloudHome Folder in the Cloud

With iDisk supporting a “home folder” like structure (Documents, Movies and Music folders to name a few) and local syncing, it can serve as a home folder in the cloud for most purposes. Without Terminal witchcraft, users are still left with a home folder on their iDisk and a home folder in their Users folder with no easy way to reconcile the two. Apple has always made a push for “a great experience” and what could be better than your whole home folder in the cloud, accessible from any Internet-enabled Mac? It’s almost like NetBoot on steroids but it would take a bit of foundational work first, for example, optimizing the file system. Could this be an extended use of the rumored North Carolina data center?

Front Row Take 2Front Row Take 2

Whatever Apple’s future plans for the Apple TV may be, Front Row on the Mac needs a substantial update. Built-in integration for Netflix, Hulu Desktop, renting and buying content and better methods to sort and organize content could really propel this feature back into prime time. Apple would love to sell more iOS devices, but it also realizes that many of its users love the better performance dedicated media center Macs provide.

These are just a few ideas of some things Apple could introduce in 10.7. What do you think could be around the corner? What would you like to see? What do you think Apple will codename it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Report: Delivering Content in the Cloud

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  1. Resolution Independence +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ yes! i thought of that too! its great to know someone else is thinking the same.

    also for apple tv it needs to pass ac3 through mdp not decode it.

  2. I want you to make OS, here’s the point: User logs in as root, Admin and Guest. And if user is logged in as root, then root is in the file system, broken clusters attack Admin and Guest. Also you can rob Microsoft.

  3. Youth Oriented Bydlo Association Monday, August 16, 2010

    Apple, you must damn create a console like Microsoft already did.

  4. Howie Isaacks Monday, August 16, 2010

    Resolution independence would be a great new feature, as would having an entire new file system. I’m not so sure that having my home folder in the cloud would do much good. The reason is that in the U.S., we still don’t have enough regular, every day bandwidth to support this kind of a feature. I’ve worked on server/network configurations where the network just wasn’t fast enough to host homes on the server. That’s easy to fix with a faster switch, but just try to convince your ISP to speed up your bandwidth for a home folder in the cloud. I was disappointed that Apple didn’t mention 10.7 at WWDC this year, but I’m encouraged to know that they are indeed working on the new OS. My own blog stats from August 2nd show that someone at Apple visited my website from a Mac running 10.7.

  5. I hope 10.7 to be poilshed as iPad. Long death to rainbow wheel.

  6. Casper B. Hansen Monday, August 16, 2010

    That wasn’t much of a wish list. The only thing I do not agree with is the ‘Clouded Home Folder’, which essentially is the same thing as the iDisk — which, well .. we already have :P.

    Although Front Row isn’t all that important to me, I could definitely become if it got a major overhaul — looking forward to see what Apple is going to do with all these Apple TV rumours too. An actual Apple TV set? Let me just check my wallet — oarh, I would very much like to have one of those.

    I’d like to see some more involved system enhancements, like new core features of how you work with a computer. Like, say some A.I. that recognizes your day-to-day patterns and uses this to aide you, possibly some integration with the speech recognition — getting deeper and deeper, sounds like sci-fi (Goodmorning Mac, Goodmorning Casper, Could you please read the headlines for me while I go get my coffe?, Sure thing Casper).. lol? :)

    Anyways, the point being I wish for something big, like really big and good stuff. Not just trivial stuff. Things that’d make you go ‘This is technology that belongs in like .. year 3647 .. -ish …”. :P

    1. I am always surprised at how incredibly slow iDisk is compared to Dropbox. Why is such a big company like Apple unable or unwilling to provide competitive services?

  7. How getting rid of some of OS6’s bugs first,like

    overheating, waking up from sleep for no good reason, Safari 5.01 that refuses to add extensions,erratic spaces, etc.

    A glance at ” Snow Leopard: This Cat Has Fleas” will show some more.

  8. Duane Bemister Monday, August 16, 2010

    How about a built in server. You just place any documents that you want to access with http into a folder. The system converts them to PDF, indexes them then serves a website to access them. You would be able to access and or share any of your documents via the web without learning html or paying for hosting. Instant new www.

    1. Look at Alfresco. http://www.alfresco.com.

      While VMWare and Parallels are available, it seems to me that virtualization built right into the OS, like it is with Xen and/or KVM on Linux would be a welcomed addition.

      1. Yep, my vote would be to run Windows and Linux alongside OS X on top of an ultra high performing hypervisor.

        And fix the finder usability because it’s always been sucky. Maximizing unavailable/doesn’t work properly, folders not refreshing… gah.

  9. Like above person said fixing 10.6 Bugs first would be nice. Not sure what I personally would want to see apart from again like someone else said above no more Rainbow Wheel of Death! Something as polished as iPad would be great, hopefully it would not end up like iOS 4 on iPhone 3G though…. Lol.

    10.7: Black Panther?

  10. How about TRIM support for SSDs? TRIM has been an ISO standard for almost a year now and still no support from Apple.

    A better printing/driver installation system would be much welcome. I was shocked at how much better Windows 7 is at printer installations, especially network printers. Automatic driver identification/download/install is much more user friendly.

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