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There has been some heated debate over the extent to which iOS and OS X will merge in the coming years. Whatever Apple has up its sleeves for the future, it is undeniable that the company is at least trying to make its apps and branding more unified across both systems.

With Lion, Apple brought FaceTime to the Mac, and remodeled Mail, Address Book, and iCal after their iOS counterparts. With the upcoming release of Mountain Lion, Apple has made nearly identical ports of Game Center, Reminders, and Notes for the Mac. It has also changed the names of several Mac apps to match the iOS offerings, rebranding iCal, Address Book, and iChat with the more generic names Calendar, Contacts, and Messages.

So if Apple’s intention is to completely unify the app experience across operating systems, what apps, names, or interfaces have not yet crossed over?
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If you take a look at the Buyers Guide on MacRumors, you’ll notice that the iMac has been lying dormant for just under a year (since May 2011 to be precise), the longest period of silence since before 2008. The site recommends that any potential iMac buyers hold off for the time being, seeing as ”updates are due soon”. This would tie in with Apple’s product refresh cycle, which usually occurs every year.

But this hibernation got me thinking about two things. Firstly, are we due to see a massive overhaul of the iMac product line sometime in May/June and secondly, have Apple forgotten about their fantastic range of desktop computers?
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Unveiled alongside that Superbowl Commercial all the way back in 1984, the Macintosh was to become Apple’s main focus and through the years saw host to such iconic designs as the MacBook, iMac and, more recently, the MacBook Air. However, while the Mac is undoubtedly close to all our hearts here at Mac.AppStorm, there’s been a perception as of late that Apple are letting things slide with regard to their computers, in large part due to the phenomenal success of iOS. As the argument goes, in a huge profit driven company like Apple it’s the bottom line that counts and last year saw more iOS devices sold in one year than the entire lifetime of the Mac.

Don’t be too quick to write off the future prospects of the Mac just yet though, while portable devices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod are all very important to Infinite Loop, Mac sales are strong and increasing market share significantly. Indeed, Apple are finding that there’s more demand than ever for their computers and I’d like to make the argument that the Mac’s strongest years are quite possibly ahead of it, with Apple set to increase their efforts and ensure that the Mac becomes yet more popular still.

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I do not intend here to rehash any of the digital ink already put out there on Mountain Lion. Our own James Cull did an excellent job rounding up what we know about Mountain Lion. And Scott Danielson has had an in-depth look at Messages for Mac. I want to address instead something that might be nagging at all of us Mac users just a bit.

With Mountain Lion, Apple has stepped up the game of brining the two ecosystems of Mac and iOS closer together. The trend started (arguably perhaps) with Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event in which iLife was touted to have taken cues from iOS design, FaceTime was brought to the Mac, the Mac App store was announced, the MacBook Air was introduced, and oh yeah, Lion was announced with many features reminiscent of iOS.

Lion brought with it many iOS like advancements; enhancements to Multi-Touch Gestures, Full Screen apps, Launchpad, Resume/Auto Save/Versions, an iPad like Mail interface, iCal and Address Book highly styled like the iOS counterparts, auto termination of applications again borrowed from iOS, reversed scrolling to better match up with touch screen devices, and many more things that all spell out one thing; OS X is borrowing heavily from the design of iOS.

Perhaps it’s only fitting since OS X spawned the existence of iOS in the first place. They share much base code in common. In fact, Steve Jobs very much emphasized in the iPhone introduction keynote of 2007 that the iPhone OS (as it was then called) was really OS X. But what’s actually going on here? Should we fear for the future of OS X?
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Despite operating within the profit-driven world of consumer technology, Apple has often maintained a distinctly rebellious public persona. Launched by two former telephone hackers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (in addition to Ronald Wayne), Apple forged their own path by ignoring the status quo and offering such innovations as the first widespread GUI and desktop publishing software which was easy for anyone to use.

As Apple lost a series of running battles with Microsoft over market share and the company faced a number of vicissitudes, Apple embraced their underdog status and turned their near destruction into a rallying cry. Never had a technology company made financial disaster seem so cool and owning an Apple computer could feel like being part of an exclusive club. However, as Steve Jobs and co guided Apple back from the brink to renewed success, there is a perception that perhaps they lost something of their free-thinking spirit along the way, that Apple have become part of the establishment which they once so gleefully ignored.

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With OS X Mountain Lion, there’s a new sheriff in town: Gatekeeper. This utility gives you the power to decide which apps are acceptable to install on your system and which should be blocked due to being from a questionable source.

Does the arrival of Gatekeeper mean that Apple is inching closer towards full control over your apps? Or will this utility actually give you more control in the long run? Read on to find out.

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We go through a lot of apps here at Mac.Appstorm. We review a ton of applications and we research and test even more. A fair amount of time is spent on trolling the App Store as well as the web searching for applications worth a review.

I’ve become increasingly more aware that I’ve developed a bias toward paid applications. I don’t think I’m alone with this viewpoint. I see people in my circle more interested in paying for apps now than more than ever. What does this mean? Is the market maturing?

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When I used an iPad for the first time, I couldn’t help but think that it felt like the future of computing. The iPad not only impressed me with its beautiful interface, but also delighted me with an effortless user experience. No matter how much I used the device, it never became cluttered or disorganized like my Mac. Apps launched quickly and I never had to spend time fiddling with window sizes or knowing what apps were running. Everything simply worked.

Apple has touted OS X as the most advanced operating system, but with iOS revolutionizing many computing paradigms, it is beginning to feel outdated. If Apple is to truly make the Mac the personal computer of the future, we will need to see some bold changes; changes that may eliminate some of the staples of desktop computing that most of us can’t imagine living without.

I think that Apple can, and will, successfully transition us to a future where iOS runs across all of its hardware. Read on for my take on why our computing world is headed this way.

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Ever since the release of the iPhone 4 and its beautiful 326ppi screen, we’ve been dreaming about Apple expanding its use of this impressive technology.

Are Ive and the Apple engineering team on the same page as consumers? Will we begin to see retina displays in other devices and perhaps even a Mac? More importantly, what hurdles will this transition present?

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Ever since the release of the Mac App Store, I’ve been waiting for one specific category to take off: News apps. More specifically, innovative and free news apps.

This expectation isn’t some fanciful dream but something that arose out of a clear precedent: the iOS App Store. Today we’ll briefly discuss what the iOS App Store has in this area that the Mac App Store is desperately lacking and whether or not we can expect this void to continue in the future.

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