At Apple, this is no collision. It's the plan. As miniaturized hardware gets more capable (Jobs bragged this week that the new MacBook Air's processing hardware was now one of its smallest components), mobile devices will be able to handle the same tasks as today's PCs. And a merged Mac OS and iOS -- let's call it MiOS -- will be able to scale across Mac Pro workstations, MacBook laptops, iMac and Mac Mini desktops, iPads, and iPhones -- probably your iTV, too. You see that today in how iOS runs on iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches, but its capabilities expand or contract to fit the device in use. That approach will extend to Macs in the MiOS world.
For Microsoft and the PC and smartphone makers, though, this will be a collision. Microsoft has separated its operating systems into Windows 7 for desktops and laptops, Windows Phone 7 for smartphones, and Windows 7 Compact Embedded for tablets, ensuring that applications and services can't easily scale and interoperate across device types.
Additionally, the major OEMs for its computers (Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo) are different than those for its mobile devices (HTC and Samsung). These hardware partners will continue to push their individual agendas that keep the Windows world fragmented into hardware camps whose division over time will become meaningless to users.
In the meantime, the Apple world -- and maybe the Google Android world, depending on how well Android is adapted to tablets and whether Chrome OS actually delivers -- will unify into what users want: capability, flexibility, simplicity, great experience, and no hassles.
Jobs' master plan could remake the computing world into a MiOS one. Even with the media reporting on every word Jobs utters, the competition doesn't seem to have a clue.
This article, "Say good-bye to the Mac OS, hello to MiOS," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com.