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Yes Siri, no Siri, for the Mac

Gregg Keizer | May 2, 2013
Apple's next version of OS X will probably not include Siri, the digital, voice-activated assistant embedded in the iPhone and iPad, an analyst predicted.

Last year, 9to5Mac.com, citing unnamed sources, claimed that Siri was destined for OS X 10.9, an edition that has yet to be branded with a feline nameplate. Monday, the popular Apple-centric blog seemed unsure.

"It is unclear if full Siri support is still in the cards for OS X 10.9 or if the functionality will be glued to future hardware updates," 9to5Mac said Monday.

Apple could use a lever like Siri to pry Mac sales out of the doldrums. During the first quarter, Mac sales were down 2% from the same period a year ago, even though it included iMac sales in quantity for the first time since late October 2012.

9to5Mac spelled out other changes its sources anticipate will show in OS X 10.9, including enhancements to the Finder file manager, multi-monitor support for full-screen applications, and iOS-like multitasking features to curtail power consumption on MacBooks.

Gottheil had his own list of improvements he wanted to see in OS X, some of them more ambitious than the tinkering 9to5Mac outlined.

"I think an area they can explore further is a real database for the file system," Gottheil said. "We've ended up with this half-baked system. There's a real opportunity to make applications more aware of the files they created."

Gottheil doubted that Apple would push hard to bring OS X even further in line with iOS, however. That trend, which started with Lion in 2011, won't be sustained, he speculated.

"To the extent that it doesn't detract, they'll keep adding iOS features," Gottheil said. "But Apple is actually benefiting from the divergence of mobile from PCs. I think it doesn't want to contaminate OS X with too much of iOS."

In his eyes, Apple has an opportunity to stress the differences between tablets and personal computers as its rivals -- Microsoft mostly, but also Google with its Chrome OS -- argue that the two platforms should converge, resulting in devices with traits of both.

Apple will provide developers with a preview of OS X 10.9 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the company's annual programmers confab that kicks off June 10.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has not discussed a release timetable to the next edition of OS X. Although the last two iterations shipped in July 2011 and July 2012, the later seeding to developers this year hints at an on-sale date deep into the fall.

 

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