Apple reveals Mac OS XI specs

iTunes-based operating system puts users in control of CPU task playlists

Editor's note: The following story is from InfoWorld's 2008 April Fool’s spoof-news feature package. It is not true. Enjoy!

Apple CEO Steve Jobs broke his time-honored mold today, quietly announcing the framework for the much-anticipated Mac OS XI, an iTunes-based operating system that, as he said to a small audience of industry pundits, "really sings between system calls."

Eschewing his customary secrecy and flair, Steve Jobs spoke candidly with the press about his plans for the operating system, ending speculation as to how many OS-level tasks Apple would push into the popular iTunes application as part of the upgrade.

"All of them," Jobs said, buttering a piece of pound cake before moving toward the juice boxes during a break in the presentation.

"Look, we began the iTunes journey not because we planned to revolutionize the music industry," Jobs continued, "but because we knew we could revolutionize computing itself based on the jukebox metaphor."

Mac OS XI, slated for availability in 2009, will provide users with easy access to applications and peripherals through the operating system's iTunes UI, enabling them to, in essence, subscribe to operating system tasks, such as porting jobs to printers for 99 cents per document or batch printing sets of 12 documents for $9.99.

Pricing for access to system RAM and the Internet has not yet been announced.

Industry watchers on hand lauded the move, saying that by allowing users to create play lists of operating system tasks, Apple has finally put the "personal" in personal computing.

"If I'm working in, say, Adobe Illustrator, I don't want to be beholden to the order of tasks Adobe thinks needs to be performed in the background to support my actions," said James Kirkwood, analyst at Directions in iTunes. "I want to be in control of my own experience of the operating system."

"It's a great concept," added Eliot Johnson, research director at Currents in iTunes. "People really want to identify with their CPU cycles, and Mac OS XI allows them to do so like never before."

Johnson, for one, was taken by the forthcoming operating system's ability to shuffle through OS-level events.

"Load some data into RAM from one app, make it disappear to print an unopened file, ping the USB port for availability, force quit -- it really brings fresh possibilities for computing, allowing the user to discover synergies between seemingly unrelated tasks not possible with the traditional operating system format," Johnson said.

Moreover, the commingling of music and movie files with favored applications will allow for a nearly seamless experience of cutting between songs and app operations, Direction in iTunes' Kirkwood said.

Currents in iTunes' Johnson agreed, adding that Mac OS XI Server's SaaS Store will give enterprise users the push-button access to hosted services, such as Salesforce, that they have clamored for. “Leave it to Apple to make deployment of enterprise applications as easy as downloading a song,” he noted.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.