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Mac OS X May Go Embedded?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the stranger-things-have-happened dept.

OS X 129

VE3OGG writes "Apple Insider is reporting that Apple may very well be developing an embedded version of OSX. The report details what they believe will be the next step in Apple's future, which is extending its consumer electronics division. The first child of such a marriage between OSX and consumer electronic may be the oft-rumoured, not-yet-materialized iPhone — which it also asserts may well be released next fiscal quarter. It seems to be their opinion that with both the desktop and the phone running operating systems with similar underpinnings, 'expansive opportunities' would emerge."

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what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346238)

what thats about niggers?

THEIR COCKS ARE EMBEDDED IN ZONKS PORT (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346272)

If you catch my meaning.

iPhone? (4, Interesting)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346266)

Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?

Re:iPhone? (2, Insightful)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346414)

Why not?

Apple hasn't announced it yet, so we can still call it anything we want.

Certainly it's an unambiguous term. Everyone knows what it means when on an Apple enthusiast site. (Are there any Linksys-enthusiast sites?)

D

Re:iPhone? (1, Informative)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347234)

Yes, there is such a group [linksysinfo.org] .

Re:iPhone? (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347782)

But why does it matter when that is the "accepted rumor mill term"? Also Apple owns the trademark for the name iPhone in several dozen foreign countries, the domain iPhone.org, and realistically, a cellphone with an MP3 player is very different from a VOIP 802.11 phone - I think Apple could get away with calling it an iPhone. They also have a public project called the "iTV" but Steve Jobs has said it won't be called that, that's just the codename for now. This is like Apple saying, without saying that the "iPhone project" is called the codename "iPhone" internally.

Plus, some credible evidence came out the other day about a storyboard / ad design for the keynote ...iPhone Ad design concept [blogspot.com]

Re:iPhone? (2, Informative)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347848)

I wouldn't consider that ad credible, because I don't think they'd give up the clickwheel + button interface that has been their trademark since the beginning of iPod time.

I think that if Apple really wanted the iPhone trademark, they would have negotiated with Cisco to buy it, starting many moons ago when they first got serious about the product. I don't think it would have been terribly expensive since Cisco didn't even use it until their new line of VOIP phones came out, and I don't think iPhone has the brand power in that space that it would under Apple's ownership.

D

Re:iPhone? (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348590)

I dont recall the article, but it was on Slashdot not too long ago.


In the article, it explaineed the possibility that Apple would be moving away from their famed clickwheel to a... well... different approach.

-Red

Re:iPhone? (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348654)

Exactly, and any negotiations over the iPhone name with such a large company that Apple couldn't control all the loose lips woul;d have certainly given away that Apple is indeed producing a cellphone ... therefore ... no negotiations. Has anyone ever considered A) It's only called the iPhone as a codename, or B) Cisco/Linksys released an "iPhone" to make the name a lot more valuable. That's what I would've done! Then sell the name for twice as much and divide the extra cash amongst my immediate staff.

Re:iPhone? (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347834)

It's a very different type of enthusiasm, though. Looks like it's mainly about how to get linksys routers to do cool things. That is a very nice thing but it's totally different from the almost religious fervor with which Apple rumor sites work.

I wonder if this is because a religion needs its Devil, and of course Apple has a ready-made one in Microsoft :-). Insofar as I know, Linksys competes on a pretty level playing field with other routers.

D

not any more (4, Informative)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346450)

Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?


The term I have seen lately is "iChat Mobile."

Re:not any more (1)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347144)

This would fit with the software - not unlike iTunes with the iPod. BTW - I was in a far away land for a while recently and found the VoIP part of iChat to be reasonably good. I had not used it before. It allowed me talk to my wife and kids which was really nice with a 5 year old.

Re:iPhone? (2, Informative)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346464)

We're still calling it an iPhone. Cisco is trying to trick Apple lovers into buying their crap, and any judge with a brain would rule that way.

When they launch it, we'll just have to tell people to go get a "real iPhone" a [what-they-call-it].

Re:iPhone? (2, Informative)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346600)

We're still calling it an iPhone. Cisco is trying to trick Apple lovers into buying their crap, and any judge with a brain would rule that way.
No, no judge will ever let Apple lay claim to the lower case "i", any more than they'd let anyone else claim eGarbage. They should have come up with a more unique trademark.

Re:iPhone? (2, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346880)

Which is too bad, because from a creative standpoint, it's one of the more ingenious marketting naming techniques I've seen in some time. "Anyone can put a lower case i in front of a word and make it their own!" is a silly arguement, because noone else did, that is, until Apple started doing it.

Trademarking should be based on creative thought that went into a unique idea... whether it's a single letter used in a unique way, or a new madeup word... both are creative usages of language. Now, you can argue that the "i" thing is silly, but that's beside the point.

iNaming creates both instantaneous visual recognition and linguistical identification. It's a name that's its own logo. Marketting anylists anywhere would kill to have been the creator of such a naming scheme.

It was old before Apple started (2, Informative)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347258)

Don't you remember the late 90's? There was eThis and iThat all over the fucking place.

Re:It was old before Apple started (3, Informative)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347752)

Don't you remember the late 90's? There was eThis and iThat all over the fucking place.

You mean like eWorld [wikipedia.org] (1994) and iMac [wikipedia.org] (1998), for example?

Re:It was old before Apple started (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348974)

Well, Apple's only used eSomething once, and the only iSomething I can remember in the late 90s is the iMac, which is there's, so what's you're point?

eSomething and iSomething are incredibly different, though. One comes out of the shortening for Electronic Mail to eMail, which is techy and hip sounding. iSomething has no greater meaning, other than the "i" is a personal reference, it's friendly, it's non-threatening, it has a general reference to eSomething naming, yet inspires a bit of fun and innocence. The lower-case "i" has always been the most anthropromorphized character in the latin alphibet: the dot resembling a head, and its upper an lower serifs resembling arms and feet... it's cute. As silly as it might sound, it was exactly what the industry needed to fend off one of the industry's biggest image problems: the image of computers as cold, scary, impersonal, complicated, and aggrivating machines. It may look overbearingly cutesy... but "cute" is probably the best image overhaul that could ever happen to the computer industry, since it dissolves the fear of technology at first glance. Now, iPods are treasured items, people excitingly surf their cellphones, computers start to appear more in people's livingrooms... I don't know if these things would have happened if the industry hadn't been injected with a dose of non-threatening cuteness.

Oracle does it too (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347896)

iProcurement and iStore are two of their CRM offerings.

Re:iPhone? (3, Informative)

MacDork (560499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346526)

Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?

I'm guessing yeah, [iphone.org] still calling it that.

Re:iPhone? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346834)

They should call it the Personal Information Exchananger.

Apple PIE

Re:iPhone? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348886)

Brilliant. And teh Apple PIE could come with a custom socket, something like an RJ type thingy but not compaible, into which you plug cables from other devices. I can't think of a clever name for that one though. "Apple Socket" doesn't sound right. "Apple Receptical" doesn't do it either.

Oh, forget it.

Re:iPhone? (1)

RodgerTheGreat (905510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349636)

what, you mean like a "PIEserver" ?

Re:iPhone? (2, Informative)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346884)

And that isn't even the first iPhone [freenet.de] product shipping (since last year). Freenet already filed to get a trademark in Germany in 2004, but the German Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant it because iPhone "was already in general use for internet phones".

Re:iPhone? (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347402)

Are we still calling it now that Lynksys/Cisco has a product called that?


I'm waiting for Apple to unleash its lawyers on Cisco for infringing on the "iName" trademark. Since Apple has well-established the iName (iChat, iLife, iTunes, iPod, etc.) I wonder if this would be a legitimate trademark infringement case. After all, when you say "iPhone", don't you first think Apple?

Re:iPhone? (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348588)

I would say that most likely an iPod phone will be released under the iPod brand rather than creating a new iXXX brand for it. Say, maybe an "iPod cell" or "iPod phone"

What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story) (5, Informative)

arb (452787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346276)

Would it kill story submitter to actually read the article before creaming his jeans over the rumoured iPhone?

Wouldn't the first use of an embedded OSX be the already announced iTV [wikipedia.org] ? Even TFA only rates the (rumoured) iPhone as one of the first, not the first. And the (rumoured) iPhone isn't mentioned in relation to the "expansive [interactive] opportunities".

Poor summaries distort a Slashdot story yet again...

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346360)

Wouldn't the first use of an embedded OSX be the already announced iTV?

Yegods! Insightful?

Don't you think iTV will use an almost bog standard version of OS X? It's a computer connected to a TV, with a remote control. It's not going to be much different from what loads of people do with their mac mini already.

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (1)

Brendor (208073) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346374)

I thought iTV would do much less than a computer. It only needs to display menus (simplified front row), cache streamed content, and adjust picure settings. It doesn't need to, say, run iMovie.

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (0)

arb (452787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346424)

You've gotta be kidding! iTV is basically Front Row with a couple of minor tweaks. It won't need a full operating system to run and Apple would be crazy to build it with a full OS. iTV will either have the supposed new embedded OSX, or it will have a custom OS a la the iPod.

iTV as embedded device (3, Informative)

kherr (602366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346438)

Based on the meager info, slips from Disney execs and rumors, it seems like the iTV could be a lot less than a Mac mini. Sure, many are using the mini as a home theater server (I'm one of them). But it's a full-blown Mac OS X computing environment with user home directories and the ability to run any app. The idea of the iTV (from my understanding) is that it's a remote TV displayer with some internet capabilities and maybe a HD for storage.

Seeing how Steve Jobs like single-purpose devices, I could see the iTV being more like the Airport Express or even the WRT54G. An embedded device like that would be more reliable than a general Mac OS X system, since there are fewer breakable (software) parts. An embedded device also has the benefit of instant-on, which is what everyone expects from their consumer appliances.

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17347654)

Hardwarewise, the iTV probably is a Mac Mini. Take out the optical drive, put a different set of ports around the back and presto!

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346602)

I concur...iTV seems like a perfect candidate

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (2, Interesting)

DECS (891519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347170)

It is highly unlikely that the iTV will be anything at all Mac-like. Instead, it will almost certainly be an iPod with display outputs rather than a screen, and audio out rather than a headphone jack. All it needs to do is generate animated TV titles, just like those presented in today's iPod games.

By being a cousin to the iPod, it would share much the same hardware internals and custom designed software. It would really be insane to suggest that Apple would create an entire new distribution of the desktop Mac OS X just to support a $299 TV output device, given that it can poop out an iPod with an HDMI port and have a unified architecture that runs the same iTunes driven content, including iPod games.

An iPhone would be much the same. Handspring adapted the Palm to accomodate phone functions in designing the Treo, so why not add phone and text features to the iPod architecture and end up with a communications device? It's not a cell phone that plays iTunes, its an iPod cousin designed to act as a phone. That gives it all the stuff Apple has already standardized for free: cables to sync, charge, and display out to a TV (can your phone work as a DVR?), software to run iTunes and iPod games, and built in sync integration with iTunes.

iPod, iPhone, iTV: Why Apple's New Platform Works [roughlydrafted.com]

Re:What a lod of tripe (the summary, not the story (1)

MrSelfDestruct (30535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348540)

The title of the submission ended in a question mark, thus absolving the submitter of any responsibility for truthiness.

Deep in the heart of Apple country. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346282)

"Apple Insider is reporting that Apple may very well be developing an embedded version of OSX"

1-Faster booting.

2-More immune from viruses.

Re:Deep in the heart of Apple country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346698)

more immune?!? :D

How novel (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346314)

So Apple is looking to extend the reach of its operating system, perhaps scaling it down a little so it can run on smaller consumer electronics like phones? Maybe it could figure out a way to incorporate as many features of the OS in the embedded system as possible, like giving it the power of being able to run various bits of software, making it compatible with various legacy packages in the regular OS. Heck, they could slap a nice color LCD screen on it and give it the ability to do almost everything, from viewing websites to playing MP3s.

How progressive. It's a good think their competitors over in Redmond haven't thought of that, because if . . . oh wait. Never mind.

Re:How novel (1)

f0dder (570496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346636)

What was WinCE suppose to be about?

Re:How novel (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346914)

Having all the bloated cons of a regular computer with none of the pros of any other PDA (once the battery ran dry in a measly 2-3 days even when the thing was off, you could kiss your data goodbye).

(2-3 years back, I bought a navigation system once which used a Windows PDA as it's hardware/software base. I couldn't quite get why anyone wouldn't buy a Palm over the PITA and POS that was WindowsCE. Still, I suppose it has a few uses.)

Re:How novel (2, Informative)

calciphus (968890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347126)

Palm is a dying OS. Windows Mobile 5 has a massive library of applications, and doesn't require you to learn another language. Plus, the ability to sync with the ever-more-popular exchange servers wirelessly...even Palm is putting Windows on their devices...

Sorry, but I can't stand an "os" without a file explorer or remote sync abilities.

On, and most of them don't lose memory any more readily than palm devices anymore. So boo-hoo, your 2-year-old GPS system wasn't a great PDA. My phone is a better GPS system than most.

Not bloody likely (4, Insightful)

ebichete (223210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346326)

Operating system that consists of BSD layered on top of a microkernel, whose only compelling feature is its rather excellent UI, wants to compete in embedded space.

This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no and the aforementioned UI is irrelevant.

If this is true, colour me stupefied.

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346350)

This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no and the aforementioned UI is irrelevant.

Indeed, but reading the article rather than the summary:

developing an operating system based on the core technologies of Mac OS X for use with embedded devices.


It could just be a pared down Aqua running on a different kernel (Linux, qnx, symbian, WinCE?).

Heck, a line that vague, could be describing just about anything.

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Interesting)

ebichete (223210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346470)

It's not just that sentence that is vague, it's the whole article.

The article also reads like a press release, instead of the inside scoop AppleInsider would like us to believe it is.

I mean, who else but marketing would write:

industry leading integrated model and software advantage

So much verbiage, such little content.

Re:Not bloody likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17348096)

Well, they went on to say that it will

bring new features and capabilities to solution providers that in turn promise new revenue generation dialogues with end users.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346394)

Would the increasing power of small devices possibly render this argument obsolete? I seem to remember reading about 300-odd mhz processors in these devices, and I know a 400mhz G4 can run Tiger pretty well.

After all, we just need to drive a tiny screen. That's a lot fewer pixels than you see on a MacBook or even the old Titanium PowerBook that ran on a 400mhz processor and 256mb RAM.

D

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Informative)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346448)

Would the increasing power of small devices possibly render this argument obsolete? I seem to remember reading about 300-odd mhz processors in these devices, and I know a 400mhz G4 can run Tiger pretty well.
Apples and pears - I have a 196 mhz phone that can barely run Windows Mobile. ("haw haw, I have a 3 ghz desktop that can barely run Windows XP, it's the software makers that are to blame" - not completely).
Yeah, they have been achieving very high clock speeds in embedded processors, but the processors themselves are nowhere near as complex as a "real" processor.
Seriously, my phone is slow. I purchased it to do away with multiple units (cell phone+palm pda) but in the end, I've been walking around for 6 months with an extra phone for making calls because it is so damned inefficient. I mostly blame the phone designers, I have a hunch they bullocksed up the drivers for the OS.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347818)

This could be a problem with Windows Mobile, of course, but it could also be greatly constrained by RAM.

I have a 2.8ghz PC that can run Windows XP very well, but that's because I don't use it to browse random web sites and so it doesn't have the usual virus and spyware burden most such computers have.

When I checked out a Windows Mobile phone a while back, the biggest disadvantage was what looked like a user interface designed by Neanderthals. In particular, it seemed incredibly hard to use as a phone. Was this also part of your problem?

D

Re:Not bloody likely (4, Informative)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346478)

*snip* This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no *snip*
Microkernels are already in use as RTOSes on embedded devices. See QNX (a rather popular example) and Phoenix-RTOS for starters.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

supermank17 (923993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346586)

The difference is that QNX has been polished for a very long time, and is much more efficient than Darwin is. I think they'd probably have a lot of work to do if they wanted to catch up with QNX. Also of importance, is that as you say, there are already popular and compelling examples in the embedded world of micro-kernels. I just can't think of anything that an embedded OS X would offer that doesn't already exist. However, I doubt that if they are trying to go embedded, that they'll attempt to enter the RTOS arena where speed, stability, and ability to deal with limited resources reign. An embedded OS X seems better suited for the Windows Mobile smartphone/media arena, where their gui design can come into play, and where rapid response isn't as important.

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Informative)

ebichete (223210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346608)

QNX and friends are a very different kettle of fish. They run things like networking, filesystems and display managers as "user processes" and have a tiny microkernel core. Licensees can easily exclude (or not load) whatever modules they don't need and run with the basic minimum.

As I recall OS X consists of the monolithic BSD atop of a microkernel and the networking, filesystems and display are all in the BSD layer. It's not comparable to QNX and I would not draw any conclusions from the success of some proper microkernel designs in embedded usage.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347706)

I'm not drawing any such conclusions, I'm simply pointing out that the sweeping generalization in the GP was wrong.

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346534)

Operating system that consists of BSD layered on top of a microkernel, whose only compelling feature is its rather excellent UI, wants to compete in embedded space.

This is the same embedded market where constrained resources make extra layering in the kernel a no-no and the aforementioned UI is irrelevant.

If this is true, colour me stupefied.
What makes you think that Unix or microkernels aren't scalable? QNX is pretty much both, and it takes the microkernel design much further than OS X.

Even if the UI was OS X's only strength, that's the most important feature they can bring to the embedded market. With today's fast, low-power embedded processors, anybody can write software that is functional and reasonably responsive. The UI for anything with a full-size keyboard was mastered 50 years ago, but UI is where embedded devices often fail. Apple apparently has some skill at it, because from what I've heard, the iPod's UI is what sets it apart from similar devices (that and being white and shiny I guess).

Re:Not bloody likely (5, Insightful)

ebichete (223210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346738)

First a few generalizations. QNX scales well, especially from desktop class machines downwards. The monolithic Unixes scale well, especially from from 386 class machines upwards. Linux uses some rather interesting techniques to scale better than conventional Unix does in the downward direction.

Now, OS X has both a microkernel and a monolithic kernel. It implements most operating system services in the monolithic layer. This means it loses the primary benefits posited by a microkernel design while possibly incurring the "defects" of both approaches. It is not a microkernel design, it is an operating system that has a microkernel. The guys at NeXT were not interested in the lower layers of their operating system, they were focused almost entirely on the user space (and especially GUI) experience, and they nailed a good part of what they set out to do.

The GUI of OS X is very well done for a desktop GUI but it is not directly transferable to the embedded market. What is transferable, however, is the UI design skills that Apple has. That is why the iPod is such a great device, not because of OS X.

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346810)

What I meant to say, but better said.

Microsoft didn't just port 95/XP to ARM and call it Windows CE/Mobile; nor will Apple do this with OS X. If they do enter the embedded arena, they'll (hopefully, for them) create an OS that not only satisfies the additional efficiency requirements of the embedded world but also follows the same user-oriented design principles as OS X.

Re:Not bloody likely (2, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349014)

Bingo... the underlying layers are really not important in this. As long as Apple can create a small, Quartz or Quartz-like graphics engine, they'll be able utilize their existing skills to come up with an "OS X-esque" but mobile-oriented user interface. It's Quartz that sells OS X, not Darwin.

Re:Not bloody likely (3, Informative)

General Lee's Peking (954826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346702)

QNX's Neutrino [qnx.com] is basically BSD layered on a microkernel and from what I've heard is the most highly regarded embedded OS out there. I don't know where you the got the idea you couldn't or shouldn't use a microkernel in an embedded system.

Re:Not bloody likely (0, Redundant)

ebichete (223210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346764)

You are confusing QNX with OS X. It is OS X that is BSD layered on a microkernel. Follow the link in your post and actually read about Neutrino. You will realize it is vastly different from what you thought.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

General Lee's Peking (954826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346964)

I did read the link. It refers to their kernel as a true microkernel. It uses the POSIX API [wikipedia.org] (POSIX is essentially Unix). Furthermore, those who are familiar with the history of the QNX OS know its original interface comes from BSD Unix. How could you have missed this? Please don't play ``gotcha'', especially when it's painfully obvious you don't know what you're talking about, it's just so incredibly annoying.

Re:Not bloody likely (0)

ebichete (223210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347102)

POSIX does not mean Unix. Many other operating systems have POSIX interfaces including Microsoft's NT and it's descendants. It's just an agreed specification of a userspace API. If you actually read the webpages whose links you post you would have realized this. On the Wikipedia POSIX page is a rather comprehensive list of "Fully POSIX-compliant" operating systems.

Oh, and one last thing ...

Gotcha !!

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347074)

whose only compelling feature is its rather excellent UI

And I think that's it. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, or been available for some time. Sure, you're going to see some Apple branded features like iTV, but I've yet to see how that's really that much better then similier things under a different format.

The only things that can elevate Apple above the competition are the same things they've been doing for some time: An easy and intuitive user interface and product design. Both of which I personally find lacking in what the current market offers. Their iPhone and whatever other devices they're planning on developing have to be easier to use and better looking then the competition, because otherwise, what could possibly make the products worthwhile? Especially considering Apple's habit of putting products out at a higher price point then their competitors.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349132)

But it always revolutionizes the industry and the way people think of their gadgets. MP3 players would have stayed exactly that, fancy gadgets that everyone loves to show off, but still keep a DiscMan in their back pocket. Now, not only do people "enjoy" using their portable music players, they don't even really give it a second thought.

Blackberries and cellphones have become used out of neccessity and habit, but they're still aggrivating as all getup, and don't really much inspire people to pick up and use at any time they just "feel like it". I can't remember a time when Apple has had anything less than the most intuitive and unified software design (from a UI standpoint), the only one who can probably compete is Adobe.

The thing that kills Apple, though, is not that their scheme of user-friendliness loses to competitors more power-monger oriented design philophies... it's that Apple's competitors come to realize that Apple is right, and inject a bit of Apple's philosophy into their products. Do you really think people would have continued using DOS into the mid-90s if Microsoft hadn't developed Windows? No, we'd all be using Macs right now.

Apple may be too late into the game of cellphones, though, it'll be a tough battle. On the other hand, compatibility isn't nearly as much of a factor in the cellphone market as it is in the computer market or the game console market. People aren't really concerned about whether their cellphones are going to run the latest and greatest... they buy them to use the software that comes pre-installed, for the most part. This gives Apple, or any upstart in the industry, an advantage (or, more precisely, less of a dissadvantage). This time around, cellphone companies have been TRYING to develop friendly interface designs, and have been at least partially successful, unlike the mp3 market, where companies didn't give a shit until far after the iPod was released and already kicking their asses. Apple are really going to have to offer some huge advantages... and I think there's plenty of room. For one thing, they're good at tying infrastructure and software together: creating services (like iTMS) that are an integral part of the user's experience of a piece of software or hardware. That really hasn't worked for cellphone providers yet, noone's been able to setup and market and "services" yet. iTMS is a huge start, right there, with music, movies and games already going strong, they have a service unlike anything any other cellphone provider can provide. And there are many more similar possibilities like this. Expect "services" to be the number 1 selling point of Apple cellphones if/when they're released.

I/O Kit (2, Informative)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348380)

Well, and an entirely different driver model, known as I/O Kit [apple.com] .

That & the XNU kernel design might be attractive to some developers over the Linux models. Maybe. Possibly. Inside Apple.

Re:Not bloody likely (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349344)

It depends on your definition of 'embedded'. Quite often embedded means both integrated, low-power and rather weak actually.

However take the iTV device. Most likely this runs on cheaper hardware than x86. It could very well be an iPod on steroids. It could be a >500MHz ARM based device with dedicated video hardware. Now 500MHz isn't a lot by today's standards, but Mac OS X will run on ~300MHz Macs. Yes, ARM isn't PowerPC either, but I guess that a high-end mobile graphics core these days beats an 8MB Rage128.

Hell, it could run on a PowerPC chip like the Wii uses (750CL)- that was estimated to cost around $13. Vastly cheaper than even the cheapest x86. Failing that, a MPC5200, ...

Pffft, MS mastered that years ago! (-1, Troll)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346334)

About time Mac catches up to Microsoft. I've been working with Windows NT and XP embedded for years and can appreciate the small images sizes of 250MB ;) Eat your heart out Mac... and Linux for that matter. http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Pffft, MS mastered that years ago! (0, Offtopic)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346520)

God(s)damnit. Please don't blog-spam. It is not that I disagree with your views, but at least put that link in your sig instead of inline.

Re:Pffft, MS mastered that years ago! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346606)

and Linux for that matter.

Did I read that right? Were you actually bragging about a 250 MB image size? Or did you misplace the decimal point? Have you seen Puppy Linux? [puppyos.com] The .iso image is 60 MB, and the whole system can run in memory on machines with only 128 MB of ram. And it has a window manager, a web browser/email client (Mozilla "SeaMonkey"), AbiWord, gxine, gaim, and a bunch of other stuff. Since embedded versions of Linux have all the unused apps removed from the image, I really wouldn't be surprised if it was possible to make a 15-30 MB .iso image for a fully functional system.

Fudd article .... (1)

nxtr (813179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346340)

Didn't RTFA but Macosrumors.com reports the embedded version of Mac OS on the iPod phone/iChat Mobile/Apple Phone to be a significantly expanded version of the iPod firmware.

I think they want to be agile (5, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346362)

(This is pure hot air, and not informed by much actual knowledge. Hah! I beat you to saying it!)

For a long time before they switched, we kept hearing about x86 versions of OS X.

The impression I have is that they developed that version of the OS so that they'd always have the option to switch if they had to, not because they knew they were definitely going to switch when they started work on the x86 version.

It makes sense for them to to an embedded version, just in case. If they ever decide they want to jump, they'll be in the position of polishing something they already have, rather than starting from scratch.

And if they want to play with prototypes of things like iPhones, they'll have a really clear understanding of what it is they'd be bringing to market. They can build them, and play with them, and figure out if they'll suck or not, look at them realistically in comparison to what other people are selling, etc. Then if all of the planets are lined up, they can ramp up for a real product.

Imagine that MS had kept a few guys building audio players for all the years the iPod has been out, and that they had built a few generations of prototypes in the lab, and leaned on them for a few years. When people at the top of the company decided it was strategically important for them to be in that space, they'd have been able to jump in in a different way than they did.

MS decides that they have to be in music players, then they star a massive effort to get there. The decision is made before anyone really knows how what they'll ultimately produce will stack up against the iPod. If they had a few guys making music players for years, they'd have a much better idea of how their product would stack up before the decided to jump in.

So I'd be inclined to interpret this as a sign that Apple wants to stay within striking distance of the embedded market, not that they're definitely going in. Apple's not going to make a crummy iPhone. If they do it, they'll want it to be the best phone ever. They're not going to trash their brand just because people keep telling them that they have to be in phones.

Re:I think they want to be agile (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346594)

The impression I have is that they developed that version of the OS so that they'd always have the option to switch if they had to, not because they knew they were definitely going to switch when they started work on the x86 version.

It makes sense for them to to an embedded version, just in case. If they ever decide they want to jump, they'll be in the position of polishing something they already have, rather than starting from scratch.
You might be right on the first part, but I question your logic on the second. Ideally, you write as little as possible of an operating system in assembly so it can be more portable. Assuming Apple did that, it doesn't take a miracle to port it to x86. An embedded device, however, has entirely different constraints from a workstation PC. Not only do you have to worry more about code size, memory use, and efficiency, but you need a UI that is usable with the less-than-ideal controls that a phone or similar device offers. And UI is what OS X is all about.

What I think is more likely is that they designed OS X (on the kernel- and user-space sides) to be modular enough that it will ease the transition to an embedded OS.

Re:I think they want to be agile (2)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347114)

The last first:
So I'd be inclined to interpret this as a sign that Apple wants to stay within striking distance of the embedded market, not that they're definitely going in. Apple's not going to make a crummy iPhone. If they do it, they'll want it to be the best phone ever. They're not going to trash their brand just because people keep telling them that they have to be in phones.

I don't necessarily agree with that. Apple is seeing the mp3 capabilities of regular cellphones improve and mature, and they're probably very worried about this. iPod is an extremely important product line for them, and watching cellphones undermine your cash cow is probably not the greatest feeling in the world. So, they realize they must move into the cellphone market in order to maintain iTunes Store dominance on the longer term. And iTunes Store is a cornerstone of their strategy plans, I'm guessing.

As for what they have running in the back room, we can only speculate. But I would suggest that having fairly developed versions of all possible medium-longterm-business opportunities is throwing money away unnecessarily. I think they probably make a bit of proof-of-concept stuff and keep it at that.

Re:I think they want to be agile (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347924)

Hmm, "I think Apple has been developing a(n) X version of OS X just in case for years" sounds a bit like "X will be the year of desktop Linux", just with a bit more facts behind it. It could also be just as fun to use with varying values of X...

Sleeping embed (-1, Troll)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346388)

My phoney self was just waking from sleeping embed when it read this.

Want it to just work! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346472)

I just want a portable music player that is simple and easy to use. No one wants all the bells and whistles that the "others" have.

I just want a simple and easy to use cell phone, an all in one techno gadget is not desired and a dumb idea.

Oh damn.. I was away for a while. The collective opinion has changed, now I should want all of these features and functionality again.

What scenario reflects reality?
1) Apple releases a new feature that no one claimed to have wanted before and suddenly, everyone wants it now and it is a welcomed addition
2) People are asking for and suggesting product enhancements to Apple and they are listening and responding to the feedback?

Mod me down or ignore my comments, either way, from what I read on /., I see almost no sign of number 2 happening around here. Maybe number 2 is the case and the /. crowd is different from the rest of the worlds Apples users.

applets via Dashcode (1)

presearch (214913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346564)

It would be great if OS(x) allowed running any dashboard applet and if Dashcode was a nice easy dev kit for this new series of devices.

I can get the iPhone from an Ex Apple partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346584)

It is called the A1200 (or A910 if I am blessed) and the phone runs a UNIX like OS called Linux.

Yea, its not a FreeBSD based OS, but at least I won't get "Steved" in the future. And the sync programs won't be waiting for years, unlike the Newton Sync.

Re:I can get the iPhone from an Ex Apple partner (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348432)

Darwin isn't FreeBSD. Apple has imported code from NetBSD and FreeBSD for userland, but saying its a FreeBSD based OS when the kernel is so different is silly.

I don't really care about an Apple phone right now. I'd rather have the "iTV". The rumors of an apple iPhone might be true, or it could be a scraped project. It could even be that POS phone developed and used by cingular. I don't think many investors want apple to enter that market. It doesn't make sense unless they want to try to protect the iPod from music phones. I'd rather have a phone thats just a phone and works right with long battery life. There are many times I want an iPod but not a cell phone.

That's nice (-1, Flamebait)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346588)

Call me when they're willing to license it on flexible terms, like every other OS vendor in that field. Or any other field, for that matter.

Re:That's nice (1)

General Lee's Peking (954826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346730)

It's Apple's GUI libraries with the funky licensing. The OS itself (Darwin) is essentially open source. If the embedded OS rumors are true, I don't know what they'll do. I'm only assuming they would get a lot of their kernel code from Darwin.

truth or fiction... who cares... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17346598)

The fact is I would buy an OSX iphone pre-order, damn near sight unseen if I even slightly think it can replace my treo.

wouldn't you?

Probably won't work (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346648)

Well, first, the "iPhone" name belongs to Linksys, and they already have one out.

The second problem is that the handset industry is a slave to the carriers, at least in the US. Apple would have to do some major sucking up to Sprint, Verizon, etc. Worse, from Apple's perspective, is that handset margins are lousy. The carriers make all the money.

Re:Probably won't work (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346734)

handset industry is a slave to the carriers, at least in the US

Why? In most places you build a phone using a standard GSM module, get it approved by the FCC equivalent and market it to the public.

I know the US doesn't use GSM, but why does that make it different?

Re:Probably won't work (2, Informative)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346854)

Why? In most places you build a phone using a standard GSM module, get it approved by the FCC equivalent and market it to the public.

I know the US doesn't use GSM, but why does that make it different?


Actually, some networks in the US do use GSM (Cingular and T-Mobile are the two big ones). However, historically in the US, you couldn't just take any phone and have it work on a service's network, you had to get a SIM card that was provided by the network, and they would only provide that if your phone was one of the models they supported. That may change now that there's a DMCA exception for allowing phones to hook up to wireless networks, though.

Re:Probably won't work (2, Informative)

puto (533470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347888)

about 80 million people in the US use GSM. It is the predominant service here.

Cingular, T-Mobile, AllTell, and a umpteen little prepaid companies. Most using Cingulars network.

Get your facts straight. www.gsmworld.com

Puto

Apple cleans house... (5, Informative)

Brat Food (9397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346688)

Just a little history on osx:

OSX started out long ago as open step (as far as being for intel). Open step became rhapsody beta, which ran on intel (i have some cds around somewhere still =). I could go on, but the point is that I'd bet, and it's been said, that osx was kept at mostly build parity with the commercially released PPC versions. I think the main thing holding back the intel version was an enabling technology like rosetta. Of course, it had been rumored for years that OSX was/is also compiled for Sparc and some other targets.

Now, this is important because an os kept this relativly flexible would seem to have a monumentally esier time being targeted at different architectures (linux has this benefit as well). And leveraging APIs and frameworks for things like phones, video players, palmtop devices, media centers, could produce the most user friendly and functionaly devices seen yet.

This brings me to why the apple phone will clean up, if even done remotely right. Cell phones suck. The UI's get worse and worse. Cell companies charge in retarded fashions for stuff in the US (ring tones? backgrounds?). Cell phone layouts keep getting worse (am I the only one who thinks the keypad on the new slim line of moto phones is atrocious?). Cell phone companies dont compete in the US (at least on price... has your cell phone bill ever really gone down, even with the current ubiquity?). Oh yeah, #1 thing - a competant music player/photo/video viewer without all the restrictions a verizon would place on it.

And if apple is able to go te way of european phones, sellong unlocked phones useable worldwide with sim chips (and even possibly paid for with the latter in the US), all in all, apple should clean up and maybe, just maybe, force cell companies to make somereally good products. Kinda sucks that apple would be at least somewhat tied to current infrastructure, as it is said to be buying network usage from cingular.

Oh well, I'll been holding off my cell upgrade till macworld.

nmap reports Airport Express to run OS X (4, Interesting)

Thunderbear (4257) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346842)

A while back I ran nmap against my Airport Express and it reported it to run OS X. It is most likely the embedded version of Darwin which they talk about here, then.

In other news, Hummer releases motorcycle. (0)

shess (31691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347030)

MacOS X embedded? WTF? I mean, I'm sure it's a wet dream to imagine that you could run the same thing across a bunch of platforms, but ... no, it's not going to be the same thing, or even a very similar thing. In fact, there's a word for it: it will be a different thing.

I mean, look at Windows CE. The main similarity it has to Windows XP is that they both have Windows in their names. Sure, there are APIs which are similar between them - that's because if you have an existing API to do a particular job and it's working fine, you'd be silly to create an entirely new API to do the exact same job. Likewise for code. Just as Solaris and Linux have similar APIs in some places. But nobody would describe Linux as "Open-Source Solaris", except to idiots.

Wait. Oh, OK, I get it. Carry on.

NIH (2, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347284)

Apple has an excellent kernel available to them that already runs on numerous embedded systems, has lots of drivers, and is compatible with their userland: Linux. Instead, they pour lots of resources into doing their own port of OS X. What are they hoping to accomplish? The whole thing looks like a serious case of "NIH".

Re:NIH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17347854)

Man, I wish I had mod points. That was one of the funniest comments on /. in a while. Someone, please mod the parrent FUNNY.

(Smile. It's a joke.)

Oh My.. Flashback to 85! (1)

rjpear (1033976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347366)

Wasn't the AMIGA's os Embedded on a ROM chip? I remember it booted quickly and ran well! .. Ahh...The days when things just ran...

Ruggedized MacBook (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347838)

That's really cool. Now what we need is a ruggedized MacBook a la ToughBook. Something that can get tossed around, dusty, and wet.

Re:Ruggedized MacBook (1)

mtec (572168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348046)

Something that can get tossed around, dusty, and wet.

That's what your mother said Trebeck!

Wow. (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347884)

So apple finally tears a page out of Microsofts book and builds an OS for embedded devices. Lol. And this is news because....

Re:Wow. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347964)

So apple finally tears a page out of Microsofts book and builds an OS for embedded devices. Lol. And this is news because....

..it's Apple.

Sigh... (2, Interesting)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347958)

This is one of those rumours (especially the OSXon-a-phone part) where I look at the rumour-sayer and repeat: "Are you retarded?"

Seriously -- there are a variety of technical reasons why Apple will never try and embed OS X in a phone... I would hope that anyone reading this comment can guess why. If you need a hint, think of why the iPod doesn't do OS X (something about overkill, the bad example of Windows XP, etc.)

Re:Sigh... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17348778)

One of the more calculated interpretations of this rumor is that an embedded OS X would not have full functionality ie: overkill but would include software and supporting libraries for such things as iSync, iCal, Mail, iPhoto, iTunes and not much more. This would allow it to have a full PDA capability and sync up with a Mac seamlessly over Bluetooth, USB or via .Mac service over WiFi connections.

Other optional libraries may include hand-writing recognition for stylus based note taking, voice recognition for voice control and voice note taking... all things is OS X now which would work in a small form factor device.

The interface to these tools wouldn't have to look like a desktop system... it could be more iPod like or like FrontRow, ie: vastly simplified and tuned to the job.

Your argument is valid if and only if you assume Apple would be dumb enough to simply drop OS X as is into a device and only address hardware requirements (CPU, Battery, Resolution).

As you state there is a good reason they didn't do so for the iPod, why would they go and forget everything they learned? This doesn't mean they wouldn't want to create a more interoperable and easier to customize embedded spec and default version of OS X that could work on a variety of devices.... rather than creating a dedicated 'OS' for each new device that comes out....

No, really... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349184)

No, really, you'd have to strip out everything but the Darwin core and build a less computationally expensive window system (like, say, the one they had in NeXTSTeP and Rhapsody, before they started pumping it full of glistening eye-candy steroids).

If they did that I'd beg them for a copy to run on my Mac Mini. Even if 99% of the apps that weren't ported from NeXT would refuse to run.

Embedded? (1)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349296)

I am waiting for the announcement from Apple that they are switching their kernel to OpenSolaris. DTrace and ZFS ports are just a start.

May (1)

easter1916 (452058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349664)

Um, shouldn't that headline have read "Might OS X go embedded?" It may, if Steve grants it permission.
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