An OS X by any other name

Daring Fireball notes that Apple appears to be firming, and subtly reshaping, the identity of its operating systems. The Macintosh now runs “OS X Leopard” (note the lack of “Mac”) and the iPhone and iPod touch run “OS X iPhone.”

I’ve always found it somewhat peculiar that the mobile version of OS X was named after the iPhone (in developer communications it was originally “iPhone OS”) when it also runs on the iPod touch and, presumably, other unnamed touch-based devices to come. I originally thought they should submit to the obvious and call it OS X Mobile, but then realized three things:

  1. That would be obvious, and rather boring.
  2. OS X is already “mobile,” given that it runs on laptops. (Duh.)
  3. “Mobile” in the technology world has basically become synonymous with “crippled.”

Still, OS X iPhone sounds bizarre, flying in the face of the very change Apple is making with the “original” OS X in that it appears to tie it to a specific device. I thought OS X Touch would be a better choice, encapsulating its chief point of differentiation from its progenitor. But that prompts yet another question: might Apple be planning to evolve the iPhone OS beyond strictly touch-based UIs?