Apple is planning to leverage its work in transforming Mac OS X to work on other devices—most specifically the iPhone—to power "new platforms," according to a recent job posting. Those platforms will also be powered by "custom silicon," like Apple's A4 processor that powers the iPad.
As first discovered by Computerworld, Apple is looking for a full-time engineering manager to oversee "platform bring-up," with the Core Platform team, part of Apple's Core OS group. Such a manager would be responsible for low-level architecture, hardware drivers, firmware, and platform security for iPhone OS on "a range of hardware platforms, including iPhone & iPod." The manager will also coordinate the software team with hardware and custom silicon teams in developing and prototyping new platforms.
Candidates for the position are expected to have experience with kernel, driver, and firmware development for Unix-based systems as well as an understanding of system-on-a-chip design. Experience with ARM-based SoC's is preferred, of course—that's the platform currently used in the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, as well as Apple's Time Capsule base station (among others).
TiPB suggests that Apple should massage iPhone OS to power a future revision of the Apple TV—though it already runs an OS X derivative, so perhaps they are merely suggesting making the UI more iPhone-like and capable of multitouch input. (We still prefer using the Remote iPhone app, however). It would be nice, though, if Apple offered Apple TV apps that let users access other online content like Netflix or Hulu. Computerworld also speculates that Apple may move its custom chips and iPhone OS upward to products like a future MacBook Air, Mac mini, or even a lower-power, ARM-based server.
Regardless of what specific products result from the effort, it only makes sense for Apple to leverage the architecture as widely as possible given the investment the company has made in developing Mac OS X and iPhone OS. When Steve Jobs revealed that Apple was moving to x86 processors after years of using PowerPC, he said that OS X was always intended to be "platform independent."
Source: ars technica