Will Apple really be able to increase speed?


Will Apple really be able to increase the speed of OS X and reduce the memory requirements down to 64MB?
They would have to at least double the speed to make this thing run at a decent speed on an iMac, is that really possible? Also, all iMac out there have 64MB RAM. I think it's asking too much to have all these Mac users upgrade their RAM to run OS X, but is it realistic that Apple could reduce the RAM requrements below 64MB?
I don't know man, I have an iMac, and I'm pretty happy with speed. Speed problems are mainly due to slow application launches. That can be fixed, really. (I am a coder, trust me on this one :) ) I have 96 megs and I can 'feel' the MacOS X torturing itself when there's 7-8 big apps open, so I am not sure about the requirements going to 64 megs. I am sure, however, that in final, it will take up less memory and leave more for the apps.
The I/O Kit is where Apple and 3rd parties write the drivers to access hardware. It's been no secret that Apple wants to get this architecture done right the first time.

Code down at this level of the kernel is difficult to write and can have a huge effect on stability and performance (either positively or negatively).

It is quite possible that refinements down at this level of Mac OS X could increase speed and decrease memory requirements on the system as a whole.
Keep in mind that the last step (usually) in most large development projects is optimization. You usually want to have your system working properly before you start tweaking it, so that you at least know that you're starting on stable ground. That way, when something breaks, it's likely your optimization and not the underlying code. Well, not always, but that's the idea.

I would guess that they really haven't been focusing most of their energy on optimization just yet, so yes, they very well may be able to make some pretty good gains in speed and footprint (for example, replacing routines that were originally written quickly with an eye towards reliability with ones that attempt to be a little more conservative in terms of memory, etc.)

OTOH, they may not. This sucker may be tweaked to the gills as it is, with Apple planning to have it 'be fast' on a minimum of a dual G4 with 256 megs, with the real sweet spot to show up in the next generation of machines. (I know it's pretty slick on a dual 450). It wouldn't be the first time that they've sort of stuck it to owners of 'older' hardware (68K vs. PPC) a bit. =P
As JustDave mentioned optimization is usually the last step in software development. During the development phase software usually include was is known as 'Debugging code'. This code is there to give an indication to the developer where something went wrong (this is of no use to someone who doesn't have a copy of the source ). The side effect of this debugging code is that it usually slows things down.

I have no idea how much debugging code there is in the beta release, maybe someone who has heard could let us know? If there is debugging code in there, and the system runs at okay performance now, then just imagine what it will be like once the debugging code is removed and the code is compiled with optimizations turned on. Of course the beta code could be optimized, debug-free, though I sure hope it isn't otherwise it really is bad news.
Hey, relax ! Look how slick the Dock is, I mean that really is a nice piece of programming, imagine what the rest of the OS will be like when it's as optimised as the Dock is right now !

Aqua definately seems to need lots of optimisation work - Classic apps feel faster (compare the time it takes to open menus), but I'm sure this'll come with time.