Can An iPhone OS Layer On Top Of Mac OS X Bridge The Platform UI Differences?

How to make Mac OS X work on iPhone OS

Technology companies have for long focused on just the three media platforms – TV, computer and mobile phones for customers to consume content. While tablet devices are not exactly new, a renewed focus on the fourth platform is now beginning to happen with the launch of iPad and a host of other tablet devices. In fact, the New York Times calls 2010 the year of the Tablet. 

As we move towards an era where smartphones are increasingly being used to act like computers, there is also a need to bridge the differences in the user experience over these two platforms. While Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows continue to remain popular among their users, the intuitiveness of these platforms are no doubt still a far cry from what users experience with smartphone platforms like iPhone. However, replicating an iPhone OS experience on Mac OS X is not a simple task. In an article titled "Why Can’t PCs Work More Like iPhones?", Nick Bilton from the New York Times writes

"One of the big challenges to moving the iPhone or Windows Phone 7 operating system to personal computers involves the multitouch interface. Although Microsoft and Apple have been working for years to integrate multitouch into their respective operating systems, it’s not as easy as starting from scratch — especially for Mac OS X, Apple’s current computer operating system."

Multitouch is not just the only problem. Platforms like the Mac OS X also carry a lot of legacy code that are difficult to do away with. A former Apple programmer that Nick Bilton spoke to calls the Mac OS X a "kludged mess of code", which would make it an arduous task for Apple to bring the iPhone OS features to the Mac unless it is built from scratch. 

However, the programmer indicates that an easier way to achieve this is by including the iPhone OS as a layer on top of Mac OS X; very similar to the way Apple's Front Row is offered to Mac users. As you might know, Front Row is a media center software which when invoked on Mac masks the native OS X UI and instead opens up an Apple-TV like navigation interface.

Such an offering actually makes sense. Not only will Apple be able to integrate the user experiences over the various platforms, but in doing so can also ensure that third party app developers extend the reach of their applications without having to work separately on the different platforms. 

It is not clear if Apple is already working on such a layer though. However, with the launch of iPad imminent, this is the only way by which Apple can integrate and improve the user experience over the growing number of media platforms. 

What is your take on this?

[via The New York Times]