The Future of Mac OS

Came across an interesting post on TUAW today:

Some advantages of the newly integrated suite of server administrative software include a guided setup process for configuring a Mac as a server; “local and remote administration – for users and groups, push notifications, file sharing, calendaring, mail, contacts, chat, Time Machine, VPN, web, and wiki services – all in one place”; “simple, profile-based setup and management for Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices” with Profile Manager; Wiki Server 3, designed to make it “even easier to collaborate, share, and exchange information”; and WebDAV services that give iPad users “the ability to [wirelessly] access, copy, and share documents on the server from applications such as Keynote, Numbers, and Pages.”

Bolding mine.

Thanks to Wired for the image!What we’re seeing is a paradigm shift in home computer usage.  More and more people are shifting away from traditional desktop configurations for their everyday computing and adopting the iPad as their primary method of getting access to the information they want.  This as inevitable as it is surprising.  Inevitable, because mobile computers have increasingly become the focal point of the technology world; surprising, because it happened so fast and so definitively.  I need more than the fingers on my hands to count the number of people who use the iPad as their primary computer.  As they become more powerful and ever more portable, that number will increase.

iPad sales have also been staggering, especially when compared to other manufacturers (HP, Samsung), and has captured huge percentages of the market (even markets that don’t even really belong to it).  Hence, people are starting to wonder if it makes sense to even own a computer if this sort of thing starts becoming the norm.

Unfortunately, the iPad still needs to sync to something, and this something is quickly changing into less of a computing device and more of a server.  The fact that Lion (Mac OS 10.7) will essentially allow any Mac owner to function as a server is quite interesting, and I believe it shows Apple’s future plans under the surface.

Apple likes Mac OS, and believes that it will survive for a long, long time.  I agree with this, but I believe that the Mac OS will shift subtly away from its current place as the OS that people see to the OS that works under the surface.  It’s a powerful statement about the future roles of the “computer” and “user.”  In Apple’s future, the “computer” should be invisible, providing a means for people to access what they need, when they need it.  The “user” simply gets access to what he or she wants through one of the many pipelines that transfer his or her data.

This is a trend that I have been participating in for a while, through apps like Simplify (RIP) and now Audiogalaxy, LogMeIn, and Air Sharing.  The whole idea is that my iPad serves as a window/portal to everything that I may need.

Introducing a “server” option to a standard install of Mac OS Lion is Apple telling the world that soon, the computer they have sitting in the den will grow wings and live in the cloud.

Superfluous code

In owning an iPad or iPhone, you may have heard of these things called “apps.”

They’re pretty nifty. I, however, am starting to pare down my app collection (as I have done with many things in recent weeks), and have found the experience to be incredibly cathartic.

I scrolled through the pages upon pages of apps that I have in my collection, most of which leave me asking myself “When was the last time I used this?”

Games, productivity, social networking, etc. These are all categories of apps that we see and think, “Wow, I’m going to use this all the time, and it’s a buck (or two, or three). I’m buying it.”

Then there’s schlock on your phone, and you never use it. The icon is pretty, it looks useful…but it’s really not.

It takes up space, saps your attention. You can’t get to the things you really need because you’re mired in a bunch of things that you thought you wanted at one point. Maybe thought you needed.

Maybe you don’t need an iPad or iPhone, or whatever whiz-bang razzle-dazzle doohickey that just came out. Maybe you don’t own one. Good for you and knowing what you want.

Let’s say you already have one, however. Let it be a reminder to you, a reminder to try to simplify the rest of your life. Every time you go to use your phone, netbook, iPad, blackberry, or other neato device, remember how lucky you are, and try to simplify something else in your life.

It’s like Lent, only in reverse.

be here, now

we hear it all the time.

“please take a moment to silence your cell phones.”

people nonchalantly reach into their pockets. everyone is a little embarassed. people fumble in purses, pockets, coats. we pretend not to notice, but still judge, silently.

“you mean you still forget to do that?” we think to ourselves. we feel good, we’re tech savvy, we know to silence those little buggers.

settle in. page through the program. wait. a couple minutes go by. the introductions last awhile. no harm in a quick peek at the inbox, right? maybe tweet this? shoot, the [content] is starting. a shift of the hips, one leg straightens to make room in the pocket. not enough, because this is the/a(n) [crowded venue]. have to lean back a little, push off the floor just a touch to get this damn phone back in this damn pocket. seat shifts a little, squeaking. awkward. there! done. no harm in that. the open probably wasn’t important anyway.

then it starts. a little buzz. maybe it’s short. just a tickle. ignore it. this is a [type of production]! I know better than to start texting here.

another one.

and another.

all unanswered. maybe the thing in your pocket/handbag is really buzzing now. maybe it’s repeating the alerts. someone is really trying to get through. now it’s a full blown phone call. full rings. where’s the button to make it stop? try to reach it through the pants, no dice. gotta reach in again, push off the floor, chair squeaks again.

now, we have a scene. this whole thing probably lasts 20 seconds, tops, but you’re nervous for the rest of the [type of production]. you’re simply not present. time lost. experience squandered.

do yourself a favor. find that ever-present cell phone of yours and turn off the vibrate function. just turn it off. think about it, if you’re in a situation that requires you to silence your phone to begin with, having a veritable back massager in your pocket will only cause you stress.

be present. be silent. experience what is in front of you.