Will we ever see Apple put the iPhone/iPad iOS 4 operating system onto a Mac system alongside Mac OS X? I think we might.
I was thinking about this over the weekend as I took my iPad out for its first proper flight as a working tool without the backup of a notebook. It's taken me a while to get the iPad set up as a proper functioning tool that's capable of doing more than allowing me to consume content. Through the careful and thought out application of apps and a few cloud services, I'm now in a position to use my iPad to keep up with the tech world, and do my job while on the move.
But in setting up the iPad (and before that, the iPhone), I've become increasingly aware of the gulf between fully-fledged OSes like Windows, Mac and Linux, and more bespoke, cut-down OSes like the iPhone OS, Android and Windows Mobile. While you can achieve varying degrees on integration between large and small, it's hardly a smooth, seamless meshing.
Which got me thinking ...
Acer will shortly release a netbook featuring a Windows/Android dual boot, the idea being that if you want quick access to email. browse the web or fire off a tweet you boot into Android, and if you want to do heavier lifting, you boot into Windows. It makes sense. This sort of technology, combining Windows with a lightweight Linux distro isn't new. There's no real integration between the two operating systems other than existing side by side on the same machine though, this is a let down.
Pre iPad, it made little sense for Apple to even think of putting the iPhone OS on the Mac, since the apps were specifically designed for a small screen. But with the iPad, Apple is now building quite a repository of apps designed for a far bigger screen. It's not hard to imagine apps designed for the iPad such as iWorks or Documents to Go working on a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Rather than being driven by a touchscreen, the OS would simply take commands via the keyboard and trackpad.
The iOS could be a dual boot OS on a Mac, but what would really integrate the iOS with Mac OS would be if iOS were also accessible via Mac OS. This leads to all sorts of possibilities.
Think this is far fetched? Maybe, but wasn't the idea that Apple would make it possible for users to install Windows on their Macs also once far-fetched?
It makes a lot of sense too. Apple's goal is to make iOS a credible platform. This means getting third party developers to create high quality apps for it, while encouraging as many users to actually use the OS and buy apps. Also, remember that Apple makes 30% from the sale of every app for the iPhone and iPad, a money-making trick which it can't pull off with apps for Mac OS. Also, apps for the iPhone and iPad are usually cheaper than Mac applications, and the digital distribution framework is already in place.
I also doubt that it would cannibalize iPhone and iPad sales either, the addition of iOS on a Mac would be a value add to an existing platform, rather than a replacement for an iPhone or iPad.
Makes a lot of sense to me. What about you?