Apple Silicone: The last straw in unifying the iPad with Mac?

Sarbun96

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
32
9
Just something I have been pondering since WWDC. Now that future Macs will use, albeit, more powerful Apple silicone chips than the iPad... do you think we’ll see a continued evolution (or devolution depending who you ask) of macOS into an iPad OS like liquified and simplified under the hood state that will eventually merge with the evolving iPad OS - which tends to get more Mac like in baby steps?

Now that the ‘core’ will centre around Apple chips and the big division betweeen them and x86 won’t be there... could WWDC 2023 for example be when the future iPad Pro is announced as ‘running full macOS’ and we see some kind of rebrand where todays rumoured hybrid 2-in-1 Mac/Touchscreen device joins the iPad without the difference in name meaning anything, only that you need to buy a keyboard accessory and voila, a Mac / Surface Pro device ?
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
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I used to think that, but I've actually changed my mind much based on comments by Craig Federighi (which pretty much is as close to the horse's mouth as it gets) and John Gruber: Apple will keep needing a general purpose operating system - which iPadOS really isn't today.

Could iPadOS evolve into one? Possibly. At that point I'm guessing we all would have considerably less resistance to such a change. Unless or until it does, macOS still has an important role in the Apple ecosystem.
 
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eulslix

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2016
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467
In order for this to happen, Apple would need to be able to fluently switch between the current iPadOS and MacOS whenever the keyboard is attached/detached in order to keep the ux paradigms aligned with the respective strength of each platform. Whether that’s an easy feat to accomplish for them I don’t know, most likely it’s doable once those two operating systems share the same core. Then it would be a question of making the transition between those two states as fluent and intuitive as possible, without pulling the user out of context all too much (which might be quite tricky depending on the current application state). That’s something microsoft never understood, which is why I’m personally not a fan of their hybrid solution.

In that sense yeah, I could imagine them doing that one day, but only if they would be able to supply the iPad hybrids with appropriate computing power. Also, the iPad would need to be way more flexible when it comes to connecting external monitors, and in general it needs better IO. Maybe they’re aiming for a wireless solution, who knows.
 
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Hunter5117

macrumors member
Mar 17, 2010
75
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I don't see macOS and iPadOS ever fully merging to both run on both devices. I do see the interface on both becoming much similar as has been seen started in Big Sur. I also see the iPad Pro continuing to become more powerful until it becomes a "Mac light" that lets you do basic Mac-like functions and hopefully run versions of Final Cut Pro etc on the iPad maybe similar to Garage Band vs Logic Pro.

It really isn't in Apple's best interest to make both platforms equal. Continuing to provide an "ecosystem" where each supports the other is most likely what they have planned.
 

eulslix

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2016
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Also: there might be some states that are simply not mapable between those two OS without a fundamental redesign. Take for example anything with vast amounts of information being displayed, like a cluttered desktop. What’s the equivalent in iPadOS? A page of app overview? Where did the other things go? What is mapped to which page how? It might even be fundamentally impossible to merge those two paradigms, but I guess you can only tell if you start prototyping (which I’m quite sure Apple did long time ago, so they already know the answer)
 

Joe The Dragon

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2006
722
167
Just something I have been pondering since WWDC. Now that future Macs will use, albeit, more powerful Apple silicone chips than the iPad... do you think we’ll see a continued evolution (or devolution depending who you ask) of macOS into an iPad OS like liquified and simplified under the hood state that will eventually merge with the evolving iPad OS - which tends to get more Mac like in baby steps?

Now that the ‘core’ will centre around Apple chips and the big division betweeen them and x86 won’t be there... could WWDC 2023 for example be when the future iPad Pro is announced as ‘running full macOS’ and we see some kind of rebrand where todays rumoured hybrid 2-in-1 Mac/Touchscreen device joins the iPad without the difference in name meaning anything, only that you need to buy a keyboard accessory and voila, a Mac / Surface Pro device ?
remove finder and go app store only can happen.
 

cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
19,301
19,125
California
Just something I have been pondering since WWDC. Now that future Macs will use, albeit, more powerful Apple silicone chips than the iPad... do you think we’ll see a continued evolution (or devolution depending who you ask) of macOS into an iPad OS like liquified and simplified under the hood state that will eventually merge with the evolving iPad OS - which tends to get more Mac like in baby steps?

Now that the ‘core’ will centre around Apple chips and the big division betweeen them and x86 won’t be there... could WWDC 2023 for example be when the future iPad Pro is announced as ‘running full macOS’ and we see some kind of rebrand where todays rumoured hybrid 2-in-1 Mac/Touchscreen device joins the iPad without the difference in name meaning anything, only that you need to buy a keyboard accessory and voila, a Mac / Surface Pro device ?
The nice thing about silicone chips is they are squishy and bouncy. Should be good for reliability.
 

Fomalhaut

macrumors member
Oct 6, 2020
31
14
The nice thing about silicone chips is they are squishy and bouncy. Should be good for reliability.
The silicone chip is an advance on the old fashioned brittle silicon wafer variety for the reasons stated, but wait until we get the fully liquid version...then we are in real Terminator T1000 territory!
 
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thingstoponder

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2014
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What is this “continued evolution” you’re talking about? macOS hasn’t turned into iPadOS at all thus far, unless you count superficial things like launchpad vaguely looking like springboard. Similar aesthetic design choices doesn’t mean the OSes are unifying, it’s just a ease of use thing. There’s no reason to, for example, have two separate widget APIs when the utility is the same. It’s just common sense to run the same code on every device.

And there’s been zero rumors of touch screen or hybrid Macs. It’s pure speculation from pundits.
 
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displaced

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Jun 23, 2003
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I’ve said it before and will say it again:

There’s nothing innate to the move to in-house CPU designs that makes iOS/macOS merging more likely.

If Apple’s goal is to make a ‘locked-down’ macOS that’s more like iOS/iPadOS they could’ve done that right now or at any point in the future without moving away from Intel.

You might as well ask if Apple are going to turn macOS into iPadOS because Macs and iPads use the same grade aluminium in their cases.
 

machinesworking

macrumors newbie
Jan 11, 2015
25
8
I'll take the outlier position here. Eventually iOS and OSX will more or less merge, with specific functions of the OS only capable on desktops VS iPhones etc. There will be a tier where iOS takes over. iOS and OSX are after all based on the same code to begin with. Eventually Microsoft will have a version of the Surface that isn't completely sacrificing CPU power for a tablet touch screen, and I do not see Apple sitting back and watching that happen with their arguably better touch technology still only available in their consumer line. What I think we will see here is what we saw with the iPad to begin with, Apple said they would never do a touch screen, and they did. I see no reason why Apple wouldn't eventually release an iPad Pro that can run FCP and Logic with third party Audio Units, but I do not see them doing it in the haphazard way that Microsoft has introduced touch screens to their OS. In the long game there's not a chance they don't integrate touch into OS X, and IMO the iPad Pro is a great place to make that transition. I of course don't know when this will happen, but my suspicion that iOS and OSX would start to merge was that eventually iOS apps would be compatible with OS X, and that's happening now. I'll make the claim right now though that there's not a chance in hell that OS X remains non touch screen compatible in 2025.
The opposite is true as well though, iPhones will never run OS X, iOS is stripped down to accommodate the limitations of a tiny screen for a reason. but I have little doubt that at some point touch is coming to OS X, and the iPad Pro or some similar device is going to run OS X.
 
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thingstoponder

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2014
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I’ve said it before and will say it again:

There’s nothing innate to the move to in-house CPU designs that makes iOS/macOS merging more likely.

If Apple’s goal is to make a ‘locked-down’ macOS that’s more like iOS/iPadOS they could’ve done that right now or at any point in the future without moving away from Intel.

You might as well ask if Apple are going to turn macOS into iPadOS because Macs and iPads use the same grade aluminium in their cases.
Thank you. So many people drastically overthink the Arm transition. You hear things like “there’s nothing preventing the OSes from merging now”... yes there is! They’re completely different form factors and operating system paradigms. The underlying chip architecture changes absolutely nothing. Most consumers will not know there was a change, they’ll just know their computers got better.
 
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vigilant

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2007
565
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Nashville, TN
I don’t see a merging happening for a number of reasons.

Of my my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs was when the iMac G4 was announced. He told Jony, “Let each element be true to itself”.

One of the key benefits to me, at least, about a Mac over an iPad is that there is an expectation of active cooling. If you take a fabled A14X, and gave it more power, active cooling, and standard sized batteries you have a beast of a machine. Something that would probably rival the iPad in battery life.

I have a Surface Go 2, as my personal PC for work for very select tasks. It’s as loaded as it can get. I’m pretty sure the entry level iPad would put it to shame. Why? Because they took a processor that can’t really go for long at full speed in a fan less body. If it simply had a fan, I’m sure it would probably meet all of my expectations.

I do expect to see the line between macOS and iPadOS to continue to merge. But my expectations are different when I’m typing on my iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard, compared to my MacBook Pro.

They’ll continue to feed off of each other, for sure. But I definitely don’t want to touch the macOS operating system. I love the precision of that interface, it doesn’t work well for touch.
 

machinesworking

macrumors newbie
Jan 11, 2015
25
8
Thank you. So many people drastically overthink the Arm transition. You hear things like “there’s nothing preventing the OSes from merging now”... yes there is! They’re completely different form factors and operating system paradigms. The underlying chip architecture changes absolutely nothing. Most consumers will not know there was a change, they’ll just know their computers got better.
Exactly why would Apple continue to ignore touch for OS X though? I think there will always be an iOS, but I think the line between the two is and always has been, much blurrier than people think. Anecdotal, but a friend worked at Apple for years, and before the iPhone he and others were tasked with stripping OS X down to it's most basic, this was a test run for iOS, they aren't drastically different, and I just don't see any rational reason not to take a nuclear bomb to Microsoft Surface by releasing an iMac Pro with the option to install OS X on it.

The idea that because Apple said touch is incompatible with OS X and pro apps etc. is ignoring history.
 

machinesworking

macrumors newbie
Jan 11, 2015
25
8
I don’t see a merging happening for a number of reasons.

Of my my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs was when the iMac G4 was announced. He told Jony, “Let each element be true to itself”.

One of the key benefits to me, at least, about a Mac over an iPad is that there is an expectation of active cooling. If you take a fabled A14X, and gave it more power, active cooling, and standard sized batteries you have a beast of a machine. Something that would probably rival the iPad in battery life.

I have a Surface Go 2, as my personal PC for work for very select tasks. It’s as loaded as it can get. I’m pretty sure the entry level iPad would put it to shame. Why? Because they took a processor that can’t really go for long at full speed in a fan less body. If it simply had a fan, I’m sure it would probably meet all of my expectations.
You're actually making my point here. AS will run in an iPad at cooler rate than the Surface. What on earth is preventing Apple from taking the iPad Pro to the "pro" OS X? IMO this will happen, yes, not all iPads, and not iPhones, but there's no good reason not to have the Macbook, and Macbook Air consolidated into the iPad Pro, the end user can choose to ignore touch if they want, but they won't. We will see, but I think people are being overtly conservative in their predictions when history says differently.
 

mr_roboto

macrumors member
Sep 30, 2020
35
31
Another angle: in 2019, Apple felt the need to start calling iOS for iPads iPadOS. It's still the same iOS which runs on phones, just with extra iPad-only features that only make sense on tablets. In their minds this extra stuff is worth calling attention to.

This is not the direction you would expect from a company working hard to erase all differentiation between their operating systems.
 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors 68000
Jul 22, 2002
1,634
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One of the key benefits to me, at least, about a Mac over an iPad is that there is an expectation of active cooling.
Isn’t the expectation there only because it’s what has been required due to the heat produced by prior processors? Which, almost across the board, have tended to solve problems by doing thing that make the processor hotter (or gutting a chip to force it to fit within a mobile mold... but still producing a good amount of heat).

However, in a different world, if it was possible to produce a processor that is quicker at performing macOS and macOS apps tasks faster than the fastest i9 processor BUT able to do so without requiring active cooling (no thermal throttling), then why add the complexity of an active cooling system if you really don’t need to? When the Apple Silicon Mac ships, we’ll have the answer to a bunch of these questions, but for now, performing well with a fan would, in my mind, be same ol’ same ol.
 

smoking monkey

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2008
1,373
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I HUNGER
I def think we'll see some type of cross-over between the platforms in some way, no matter what they say, but just what this is, is the mystery!

And a quick bit of ESL for those on the boards who aren't native English speakers.

The idiom "the straw that broke the camel's back", alluding to the proverb "it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back", describes the seemingly minor or routine action that causes an unpredictably large and sudden reaction, because of the cumulative effect of small actions.

The last or final straw: a further difficulty or annoyance, typically minor in itself but coming on top of a series of difficulties, that makes a situation unbearable.
 

vigilant

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2007
565
162
Nashville, TN
Isn’t the expectation there only because it’s what has been required due to the heat produced by prior processors? Which, almost across the board, have tended to solve problems by doing thing that make the processor hotter (or gutting a chip to force it to fit within a mobile mold... but still producing a good amount of heat).

However, in a different world, if it was possible to produce a processor that is quicker at performing macOS and macOS apps tasks faster than the fastest i9 processor BUT able to do so without requiring active cooling (no thermal throttling), then why add the complexity of an active cooling system if you really don’t need to? When the Apple Silicon Mac ships, we’ll have the answer to a bunch of these questions, but for now, performing well with a fan would, in my mind, be same ol’ same ol.
I’m all for great performing hardware that doesn’t need cooling. I’m all in.

But I’m willing to have cooling, even if it’s only on when absolutely necessary if that means I get better sustained performance.

Sure, I expect MacBook Air’s and MacBook’s will probably be passively cooled. The Pros I expect will probably be actively cooled, and the Pros will be willing to take it.
 

machinesworking

macrumors newbie
Jan 11, 2015
25
8
Another angle: in 2019, Apple felt the need to start calling iOS for iPads iPadOS. It's still the same iOS which runs on phones, just with extra iPad-only features that only make sense on tablets. In their minds this extra stuff is worth calling attention to.

This is not the direction you would expect from a company working hard to erase all differentiation between their operating systems.
Isn't this just stating the obvious? There have always been iOS apps that can only run on iPads, naming this difference isn't changing that the underlying OS is essentially the same. I don't think we will ever see full OS X on an iPhone, but I see no reason keep OS X away from the iPads, especially the Pros. It's not even adding that much confusion considering there are already different versions of the same application built for iPhone and iPad, and we're seeing iOS apps running on OS X.

As someone mentioned above Microsoft has had thermally throttled Surface tablets running Windows for a while now. Apple could easily have a win here, making their own chips at similar or faster speeds and running OS X on iPad Pros. In fact not much would have to change, the "Pro" name could be the line in the sand.

I guess the argument against this could include that Big Sur allows you to use the screen and I would hope the multi touch capabilities with AS and Intel macs, so that could be as far as it goes, but I just don't see it stopping there if Microsoft continues to push touch screens as the hardware and software uses the technology that much more.

I'm probably biased because I use a Slate Raven with the Mac Pro here, and messing with soft synths with decently set up touch GUIs is a pleasure, gestures work very well as on screen controls over just using a track pad etc.
 

mr_roboto

macrumors member
Sep 30, 2020
35
31
Isn't this just stating the obvious? There have always been iOS apps that can only run on iPads, naming this difference isn't changing that the underlying OS is essentially the same. I don't think we will ever see full OS X on an iPhone, but I see no reason keep OS X away from the iPads, especially the Pros. It's not even adding that much confusion considering there are already different versions of the same application built for iPhone and iPad, and we're seeing iOS apps running on OS X.

As someone mentioned above Microsoft has had thermally throttled Surface tablets running Windows for a while now. Apple could easily have a win here, making their own chips at similar or faster speeds and running OS X on iPad Pros. In fact not much would have to change, the "Pro" name could be the line in the sand.

I guess the argument against this could include that Big Sur allows you to use the screen and I would hope the multi touch capabilities with AS and Intel macs, so that could be as far as it goes, but I just don't see it stopping there if Microsoft continues to push touch screens as the hardware and software uses the technology that much more.
The point I'm making about naming the difference is that if Apple was going to mush everything together, they wouldn't be going out of their way to emphasize a difference far smaller than the differences between macOS and iOS.

I don't understand why it's suddenly urgent for Apple to copy Microsoft's touchscreen Windows initiatives. That stuff has been floundering forever. I just looked it up and they've been pushing Surface for eight years. I'm pretty sure they were strongarming PC manufacturers into putting touchscreens everywhere even before that.

They did manage to build Surface into a respectable hardware brand, but most buyers seem to get them because they're high quality premium laptops, not because they can convert into a tablet.

You also seem to think copying Microsoft had to wait for ARM. I don't see why; Apple could've done it with Intel processors long ago. There was nothing stopping them.

The reason to keep OS X away from iPads is that OS X and its apps are designed for keyboards and mice and a many-window environment, not touchscreens and no windows. This is exactly why tablet Windows has floundered around for so long.

(Another reason: the most RAM an iPad has ever shipped with is 6GB. Today's minimum Mac RAM is 8GB, and that's getting to be a bit small. It takes a lot more resources to run more complicated desktop apps, allow users to open many apps at the same time, and so on.)
 
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