Goodbye Mac, Hello Lion

Apple has been linking “Mac” less with “OS X” lately, but with the introduction of the upcoming version of the operating system, Lion, at this year’s World Wide Developers Conference on Monday, the company seems to be making that separation even clearer. The majority of the company’s references to its Mac operating system are now “OS X Lion” instead of “Mac OS X,” and now even Mac OS X 10.6 is typically called “OS X Snow Leopard.”

Company CEO Steve Jobs told attendees at Monday’s WWDC keynote event that Apple was “demoting” computers to the same level as the iPhone, iPad and iPad touch, meaning that computers are now on par with mobile devices and aren’t needed as tools to support tablets and smartphones. Dropping “Mac” from “OS X” helps reinforce that notion by making the names for Apple’s two primary operating systems looks and sound similar.

It's "OS X," drop the "Mac"Mac OS X, now OS X Lion

A quick look at Apple’s Web site shows the company is well on its way to cutting “Mac” out of its OS name. The OS X Web page references “OS X Lion,” and the company’s press announcements refer to “OS X Lion.” Many of the site-wide references still name “Mac OS X,” although that will likely change soon, too. 

Dropping the “Mac” from “Mac OS X” doesn’t, however, mean Apple is planning on phasing out its desktop and laptop computer product line. The company made it very clear during Monday’s WWDC keynote that it is very serious about its computer offerings and the operating system that drives them.

Changes Lion will bring, like Multi-Touch gesture support, Full-Screen applications and Launchboard, which is an iOS-like view for organizing applications on the desktop, show how the company is learning how to make the Mac more efficient by borrowing from its mobile interface. Under the hood, Apple is hard at work improving Mac performance, and making file sharing — something many Mac users need to do — less complex.

Lion also includes auto-save support for the documents you’re working on, a new Versions feature that keeps track of document changes and lets users roll back to earlier file versions, added new Screen Sharing features, added full disk encryption support, and improved accessibility features for visual and hearing impaired users. Those, along with a slew of other new features, show that Apple is focused on Mac features and isn’t planning on abandoning the platform any time soon.

What Mr. Jobs drove home with his WWDC presentation is that Apple sees the role computers play in our lives as changing, and once again the company is moving to where the market will be and not where it was yesterday.