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iPhone: The OS with big aspirations

And big opportunities for Cupertino lock-in

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Apple is advertising for an Engineering Manager to take the iPhone OS onto new platforms and new hardware, extending the OS, and the Cupertino control that goes with it.

With the iPad not yet out of the door, Apple is already looking at ways to extend the iPhone platform onto other hardware, as the advertisement spotted by Computer World demonstrates:

"The Core Platform team within Apple's Core OS organization is looking for a talented and inspired manager to lead a team focused on bring-up of iPhone OS on new platforms."

It should come as no surprise that Apple would like to see the locked-down OS elsewhere - having complete control of the platform is very attractive, as any games-console developer will tell you. Computer World points out that Apple TV would be a good place to start. Connected to the iTunes store it has huge potential, but that would likely be only the beginning of Apple's aspirations for its smallest OS.

One can imagine an Apple Mini sporting the OS: able to run only Apple-approved applications. Even low-end laptops would be adequately served by the iPhone OS. It would certainly bring an unprecedented level of security to the platform - achieving what Microsoft tried with Palladium when it promised virus-free computing if only we'd cede a little control to Redmond.

We wouldn't: but iPhone users are happy to have Apple controlling the applications they can run on their own hardware, and those who want an iPad are about to join the controlled-by-Cupertino club. It's possibly a small step to see the majority of computer users being happy to join them.

Of course, those of us on the outside will sit feeling superior, 'cos we can run any application we like on our virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed, desktop computers. ®

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