Apple's possible plans for bringing iPhone OS and ARM to new devices

Hints as to what Apple may be doing to use its A4 processor outside the iPad -- an iPhone OS-based Mac Mini or MacBook Air, anyone?

With the launch of Apple's tablet a mere few weeks away, we can already start looking at other platforms at which Apple may aim its new processor architecture.

Apple, in a job posting last week, advertised for an "Engineering Manager (Platform Bring-Up)." The posting states that Apple is taking its iPhone OS and putting it on new platforms: "The Core Platform team within Apple's Core OS organization is looking for a talented and inspired manager to lead a team focused on bring-up of iPhone OS on new platforms. The team is responsible for low level platform architecture, firmware, core drivers and bring-up of new hardware platforms. The team consists of talented engineers with experience in hardware, firmware, IOKit drivers, security and platform architecture."

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Which platforms? There are so many. As TiPb points out, the biggest no-brainer of them all is the AppleTV. With the iPhone OS and a Apple's own processors, the AppleTV could be made into something much smaller and cheaper. AppleTV has been whittled down to one 160GB version that hasn't seen much action lately.

But if it moved to iPhone OS, it could be sold for free with a small cable TV-like subsidy and be no bigger than an Apple Airport Express. Then, it could be attached to the back of HDTVs like a power supply. With the iPhone OS, it would instantly have access to 100,000-plus apps (though these might not easily translate to the TV platform) and the interface would be familiar to the millions of iPhone/iPod and iPad owners.

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But why stop there? Apple currently sells its MacBook Air for well over $1,000. With Apple processors and iPhone OS, that price could be brought significantly down. Most people use the MacBook Air for light Office applications, email, Web browsing and maybe a little Photoshop here and there. With iPad's iWork office productivity apps, online editors getting better, and new apps on the horizon to fill in these shoes (and for the love of everything decent and holy, 3G), it wouldn't be hard to see the MacBook Air going iPhone OS in two years either.

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