iOS 4 on a Mac?

iOS 4 on a Mac?

Summary: 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.

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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?

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software

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44 comments
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  • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

    Most of the stuff done on an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch while hooked up to a Mac is with iTunes. iTunes is a piece of software no other OS maker has come close to duplicating so although it may make some sense for others to integrate their full OS with their mobile OS it doesn't make sense in the case of OS X and iOS. Also let me commend you on your lack of the use of your space bar. Seriously get that fixed man.
    Dwayne Chapman
    • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

      @Dwayne Chapman Well considering that iTunes is a horrible application. I think you are right in saying that nobody else has been able to come close to making such a terrible application.
      Jimster480
    • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

      @Dwayne Chapman
      Even though HTC crippled the Windows Mobile side, HTC Shift was one of the rarest device that had this capability. I am one of the long standing user of HTC Shift successfully. I take it with me wherever I go. So handy and so useful. Of course I had to liberate the Windows mobile side and burn the custom ROM from xda-developers though.
      --Ram--
      Ram U
  • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

    Well they already do with the iPhone simulator in Xcode. Since iPhone, iPad and the Mac all run OSX already, I think it is far more likely that they will just unify their offering/experience amongst the devices. I.E., they'll bring the Mac back into the fold and the Appstore. You know, really make that Mac into the ultimate consumer machine.
    sechoinard
    • So what you're saying is that iOS 4 will replace OSX???

      @sechoinard
      That would be an epic FAIL of biblical proportions. As it is, iOS is limited severely in so far as what it can do and what you're allowed to do.

      Heck, OSX is already hamstrung enough as it is. The LAST thing Apple needs to do is do something as daft as limiting their desktops, laptops and workstations to iOS.
      Wolfie2K3
  • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

    [i] iTunes is a piece of software no other OS maker has come close to duplicating[/i]

    With all the issues people have with it, it sounds like Apple hasn't come close to perfecting itunes themselves, so I can see others going a differnt direction. :)
    John Zern
    • iTunes is Great, Personally

      @John Zern

      I've never seen a music application parallel to iTunes. I don't know what kind of problems people have with iTunes, I know there's very few complaints to me.

      My one (1) complaint is that iTunes is still Carbon in a Cocoa environment. It can only address 3GB of RAM, and is terrible at memory management. I want it to be 64-bit already? at times, when I'm using it quickly and need to switch panes, I feel like I'm using iTunes through a block of molasses; I click, and it does't respond until a few seconds later. The perfect analogy for it is using Windows.
      Ktroje
  • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

    I have to ask: Was this article written on an iPad? Why are so many words run together? e.g. Willweever, forits, nowin, seamlessmeshing, thinkofputting...
    imabanana
    • I was just thinking the same thing (nt)

      (nt)
      Stuka
    • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

      @imabanana IThinkhisiPadhasissueswithit'sspacebar.
      rtk
  • I think I see one problem

    with working on an iPad.<br><br>"Willweever, forits, nowin, seamlessmeshing, thinkofputting, credibleplatform, cantpull offwith, Ialso."<br><br>Notsurewhatitis.
    donniebnyc666
  • No Storage on iOS

    Apps only have exclusive access to thei own local storage. No way to sahe data, no way to acess shared data. No way to access to the main system HDD. And apple won't give that away as it is the central point of iOS, and of the app store.
    s_souche
    • The API's to do file sharing are there,

      @s_souche... developers just need to use them if they want that kind of capability. You are just not going to access the complete file structure of the device.

      And there is really only a few legitimate reasons where having the capability to drill down into the file structure would be desirable, however, I have yet run into a reason why it would absolutely needed. If it is merely desire to use files between applications, in the same way you may attach elements of a file into another type of file, say a graph from a spreadsheet into a slide show presentation, All it would take there then is for Apple to create a public data store in the file structure, much the same way when you take pictures or screen shots, you can download them

      By the way iOS devices do not have HDD (Hard Disk Drive), it is flash memory.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

      @s_souche True that. The reason they can load WinCE or Android onto bigger devices is because its an actual OS with actual features. iOS is nothing. It has no local storage, no multitasking, no nothing. It can never function as anything other than a game playing / quick lookup OS on a portable device. And considering it doesn't have great games. Its not great with that either.
      Jimster480
      • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

        @Jimster480
        iOS has had multithreading with complex synchronization mechanism from the start. It does not non native muti tasking, i-e an app cannot run in the background, that's all. This is strictly linked toarchitectural choices, like the absence of virtual memory ( at the process level )
        s_souche
  • Think Again

    "Through the careful and thought out application of apps and a few cloud services, I?m nowin a position to use my iPad to keep up with the tech world, and do my job"

    Not only are your typos rampant, the first sentence makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE!!!

    Stick with a laptop if this is a result of you doing your job on an iPad. You are doing it horribly on this device. Maybe it is the lack of a robust spell checker or grammar checking bolt on. Maybe it is the fact that the input touch device is far inferior to an external keypad.

    Ironically, your entire article makes gives all of a vivid illustration why we would never rely on Andriod, iPad, etc for daily computing. If this was your intent then kudos..and BRILLIANT. For all the talk about the "smart phone" market and which is better...they all are completely inferior to you Windows 7, XP, OSX, or Linux OS so I guess the argument is really about which is the best of the worse in these infant stages. I will stick to the Macbook for now! I suggest after reading this you do the same or you may find youself in the unemployment line soon. Afterall, your job is to write, not to write on an iPad!!
    ctunk
    • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

      @ctunk
      Will we ever....WOW. I admit it was a long weekend but I had no idea "willweever" was will we ever!!!!

      LOL LOL. Did you even read your work man? You are supposed to be a journalist/author. There is simply NO WAY you did not see all of these typos.

      So my questions are:

      Are you too lazy to fix them?
      Why would you leave them in the article on purpose?
      Are you really that dumb and lazy to have not even caught the errors?

      Any light on these questions would be appreciated.
      ctunk
    • We seeing that most of your post is just

      @ctunk... an ad hominem fallacious argument. Then you go on to berate him on some grammatical errors, when your last paragraph fails in semantics and syntax. "Inferior to <b>you Windows 7, XP, OSX, or Linux OS so I guess the argument</b>" As you can see you have changed thought mid-sentence and failed to use appropriate punctuation.<br><br>Point being is don't be such a grammar Nazi, as we all fail in that at times, even I do as well.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • Grammar Nazi

        @JM1981: mind you, ctunk isn't a paid journalist. And he does have a point, especially about Adrian not proofreading his own work before posting.
        levinson
      • RE: iOS 4 on a Mac?

        @JM1981
        It is a fallacious argument to point out that an author that makes a living posting online articles be able to spell words withoutextremelylongrunonsthatmakeitreallyhardtoread!!!

        As far as my grammar, I am not being paid and therefore did not read my post nor will I read this one. However, if I am about to send an email to my boss I will certainly check my spelling and sentences. I guess he has the same attitude that you have just so eloquently displayed. Who cares about spelling and grammar when you an AUTHOR?!?!?! I sure as hell would have read my own work if I were posing articles, especially those regarding the tech sector on ZDNET!!! But it would appear that people like you really do exist and I am sure this author simply takes on a very similar attitude. I simply will not read any more of his articles if I have to try and figure out "willweever" and the horrible way the author writes, especially on an iPad. If you can't read your work as an author I do not want to read your work. You can have an opinion but respect other people's views that this seemed blatanty lazy and ridiculous as numerous people have pointed out. It was blatantly bad! But it can be because enough people like you think it is ok.
        ctunk