There's no denying that the success of the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and the operating system they run has had somewhat of an impact on Apple's Macintosh business. Hardware refreshes came fewer and further in between, and the Mac OS X operating system hasn't seen a proper release since October 2007 when Leopard was released. Snow Leopard tidied things up a bit in August 2009, but of course didn't compare to the releases that came before it.
So, I'm actually relieved that Apple hasn't forgotten about its desktop operating system, and has announced a press event for October 20 (two days before the European release of Fallout: New Vegas). The invite shows a lion, so it could be that Mac OS X 10.7 will be called Lion.
With most of Apple's engineering force dedicated to the iOS and its related devices, it's hardly a guess to say that we'll see features from the iOS trickle back into Mac OS X 10.7. Technically, it could get as kinky as iOS applications running on Mac OS X - the iOS simulator included in the iOS SDK runs code generated for an x86 target.
On the less kinky side of the spectrum, I'm kind of assuming we're going to see a resolution independent interface, but contrary to what many are hoping, I don't think it'll be touch optimised, and for a very simple reason: iOS is touch, Mac OS X is mouse. Touch on a desktop or a laptop machine is pointless.
I do hope we'll see a serious overhaul of the UI, as it's gotten a bit stale. I would also die for a decent file manager, as the Finder is still incredibly cumbersome, even after all these years, even after all these complaints from all over the web. It'd be nice for Apple to also take this opportunity to cease being a hypocrite by finally moving everything over to Cocoa - including iTunes. I can has non-crappy music player plskthnxbi?
What are you hoping for in a new Mac OS X release?