Rico Cruz's Blog
Rico Cruz male Staff Writer
Rico is the newest member of the HardwareZone team, having joined in June 2011, lured by his love of all things technology. He has been an avid follower of technology news since his high school days and is therefore no stranger to technology trends, past and present.
Way back in September, I wrote about how Microsoft and Apple were in a race to create the most ubiquitous operating system in the world, as both companies were showing signs of developing one that would work seamlessly in both the desktop space as well as the mobile space. At the time, it was mostly all speculation, but recent moves from both companies have shown that they are about to make a major shift in the way use personal computers; a shift that is as revolutionary as the one from the old DOS command line to the GUI we all know and love. First off though, what's happened exactly?
Last week, the guys over at Apple gave the public a preview of the next version of Mac OS X, called OS X Mountain Lion. From the get-go, we can see that it is becoming more and more like the iOS 5 operating system that we see on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Applications like Reminders, Notes look just as they do on an iPad for example, and through iCloud, you can sync all of them so that you can move from your Mac to your iPad without missing a beat. You can also sync documents with more ease with Mountain Lion than ever before, as Finder has an option called Documents in The Cloud to toggle between views of what's in iCloud and what's on your Mac. OK, so Mountain Lion makes it easier to juggle files between devices. That's great, but how is any of this revolutionary? Well, the most revolutionary part of Apple's upcoming OS is actually what's missing from it. Apple has quietly dropped the "Mac" from OS X, signaling the new direction the company is taking, similar to when they dropped "Computer" to simply become Apple, Inc.
Over at the Microsoft side, they have just released the new Windows logo for the upcoming Windows 8 OS. It is the biggest change to the company's iconic logo in 20 years. The new logo does away with the flag-like window with multi-colored panes, going instead with an all-blue color scheme and a minimalist font. Again, it's a big change, what's so revolutionary about it? If you notice, the new Windows 8 logo looks almost exactly like Windows Phone 7. Also, the new Metro UI that Windows 8 looks exactly like a bigger version of the UI on Windows Phone 7. Once more, a small but clear sign that big changes are coming, but what is it?
The small changes that Apple and Microsoft have made to their operating systems, is a clear sign that both companies know that the end of the desktop as we know it is near. The use of files and folders will be replaced within the next couple of years with these new interfaces that both companies are working on. The approaches are different. Apple is going for an iOS-like environment where your data is accessible through apps which are mostly isolated, while Windows lets you navigate your way through using tiles that you can customize. However the underlying idea is the same; that today's computing environment involves so many files that it is becoming more and more difficult to manage them all using the traditional file tree system. Take multimedia for example. Every year we take thousands, if not tens of thousands of photos. We accumulate hundreds or even thousands of MP3 files and videos as well. Where do all of these files go? More often than not they are scattered all over our computer. Some in well-maintained folders, others in that New Folder that we forgot to rename. Programs like iTunes and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom have helped us organize and access our music and photos easier, and the future of computing might just be like that, except on an OS-wide scale.
Of course, change as jarring as this will be met with plenty of complaints from people who are so used to the system of files and folders but when you think about it, it makes sense given the growing amount of data we accumulate on our ever-growing hard drives. In my own opinion though, the future can't come any sooner.