One Platform, Under Apple? Why Apple Could Be Moving Toward A Single OS For All Its Devices

Apple Stock Tanks After Slow iPhone Sales Growth

It’s difficult to tell what Apple’s plans are, both immediate and distant. Rumors about the iPhone 7 remain uncertain, while speculation indicates a massive overhaul of its smartphone beyond 2016. The company, once minimalistic in its proprietary hardware and operating systems, is now expanding rapidly. To accompany a number of devices, Apple employs software including MacOS, iOS, WatchOS and tvOS. However, one pundit proposes we could see a day when Apple returns to its minimalist roots, combining all of its software into one super OS.

“All of these competing operating systems. I think what’s going to happen is the convergence of all those platforms into one operating system. It might just be called AppleOS in the future,” CEO and Founder of the software development company Appetizer Mobile told iDigitalTimes.

Apple hosted its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, where updates to several software iterations were announced. OS X became MacOS. Siri is now integrated with MacOS and Apple TV, and also open to developers. The smartphone system, iOS 10, is also available  to developers, to a limited extent. Apple also announced Watch OS 3, despite the lack of a hardware update for the Apple Watch. Apple has a lot going on for a company that once had only two systems to run its products.

Recently,  Apple has become increasingly tolerant of criticism, propelling its urge to experiment and innovate further. All of the new and increasingly updated technology coming out of Apple could be seen as preparation for a time when the company is under particular scrutiny from consumers and tech experts.

Edelson compared this possibility to  Microsoft’s introduction Windows 10 as a universal platform for mobile, tablets and even VR after a failed Windows 8. Apple hasn’t seen nearly as much criticism for its recent changes. However, amid issues, including slow sales of the iPhone 6, lackluster anticipation for the iPhone 7 and continually mixed reviews of the Apple Watch, the company may be forced to step away from its usual winning formula.

“It’s probably going to get some negative feedback because nobody really likes change. People will definitely be pushed out of their comfort zones,” Edelson told iDigi. “But it should definitely get to that point where Microsoft has, where it has a unified operating system.”

After WWDC, developers discovered iOS 10 now has an unencrypted kernel, which will allow them to delve into the core of Apple’s mobile software for the first time. This is an unprecedented change for Apple. In the nearly 10-year span of the iPhone, the company has never been so transparent about the inner workings of its products. Reports indicate that with an unencrypted iOS kernel, developers can possibly help Apple find and patch vulnerabilities within its code. Perhaps this could be the first line of defense in developing Apple’s most advanced OS yet. 

However, other say Apple is already on a fairly direct course, which has seemingly nothing to do with creating a universal operating system. In recent years, Apple has introduced a software feature called Continuity, which allows users to seamlessly continue work from one device to the next. Changes including the integration of Siri to MacOS and Apple TV also shows how Apple is aiming to have its devices more seamlessly communicate with one another. The aim may be to make Apple’s systems simply appear to be one universal OS, when they are in fact still many.

“If taken as a whole, yes [Apple’s software] would seem disjointed. But each OS has to serve a specific purpose but Apple has an ecosystem of software and services that must connect to each OS and provide value added functions,” Creative Strategies President and Principal Analyst Tim Bajarin told iDigitalTimes. “As they deliver and continue to enhance continuity amount devices it will only help drive more loyalty towards Apple products, not drive people away.”

Several companies have been forced to take risks within the increasingly competitive technology market. In addition to Microsoft, Samsung has also found success in reimagining its products. The continuous design revamp of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines has taken the company from massive sales slumps in 2014 and 2015 to profit surges in 2016.

Apple’s next move remains a mystery. Its next launch event won’t take place until September and the manufacturer has not commented on plans to make major changes to its operating systems outside of announcements at WWDC.

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