iOS with a pointer, OS X with touch or a hybrid OS merger?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by lusheslewis, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. lusheslewis macrumors member

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    #1
    Which, if any of these do you believe may happen in the near future (~5 years or less)?
     
  2. sjleworthy macrumors 65816

    sjleworthy

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  3. lusheslewis thread starter macrumors member

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  4. Narcaz macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Actually this idea has been floating since the release of the wireless trackpad. Honestly i have no idea, why Apple never made it iOS compatible. They seem to have a huge dislike for pointing devices, because it might confuse the average joe customer. IMO even a small keyboard/trackpad cover would be way more useful for scrolling, text selection etc. for office related apps than touching the device itself. Microsoft demonstrated yesterday with their Continuum dock solution how far this could go. Transform your phone into a mobile PC. Apple has all the necessary hardware laying around (hdmi dock, bluetooth keyboard/trackpad, powerful A9 processor), but doesn't seem to care about such things.
     
  5. lusheslewis thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Turning your phone (or tablet) into a mobile PC is an interesting idea (and would definitely require a "pointer"). I'm not convinced it is all that useful yet but it seems like something Apple would do.

    Apple have a stylus now which they were seemingly never keen on, maybe with iOS 10 Apple will "reinvent the trackpad". The iPad Pro seems like such an awkward device without it (if it is in fact supposed to be a laptop replacement/productivity machine).
     
  6. Narcaz macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Of course your YMMV. I think that it was a very interesting presentation. The apps scaled nicely. And i liked the dock, because there is still a lot of "old" wired usb keyboard/mouse/stick and hdmi displays around. I guess the upcoming Ubuntu phone is going in the same direction.

    My point is that Apple could at least offer a similar wireless solution, because they are half way there. Connect an iPad mini 4/ Air 2 via Airplay Mirroring or Digital AV Adapter to a 1080p screen, connect a bluetooth keyboard and you have Splitscreen Mode and Keyboard Shortcuts on a big screen. But trackpad/ pointing device support and proper scaling is missing. (Even worse iPhones are artificially excluded from all new features like Split Screen/Pip, despite having the faster processor. I know about the screen size, but at least on the 6(S) Plus that's debatable.)
     
  7. Mivo macrumors regular

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    #7
    Well, that hasn't been working so well for Windows, so far. Windows is sub-par for touch devices (and lacks software support). The iPad is in part as good as it is because iOS, and all the apps, were specifically built for it. I would love a hybrid OSX/iOS solution, for all the obvious reasons, but I think it's hard to pull it off in a smooth way.

    If I had to guess, I think OSX with some kind of iOS emulation and native touch support might be what we'll get. Something like dual-boot would probably too clunky by Apple standards. Well, at least I hope so. I don't think the iOS and OSX separation is a good solution in the long run. Not with devices becoming more hybrid-y every year.
     
  8. lusheslewis thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    With size classes and auto layout they've done a lot of the scaling work already. They probably need an additional "Large" size class for external displays (and the iPad Pro).

    The iPad Pro keyboard has no room for a trackpad though and I doubt they would want to have a separate device. You could use an iPhone but that seems unlikely.
     
  9. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #9
    iOS with support for pointing devices is the most likely of the 3 and the option that fits in best.

    It works beautifully for Android and for older versions of iOS that were jailbroken.


    It doesn't have room for a trackpad because they had already decided that they weren't going to add support. I have keyboard covers for the iPad Air 2 (and older iPads) that certainly had room for a trackpad.
     
  10. lusheslewis thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Mobile devices are now powerful enough to do 95% of tasks for 95% of people but it seems that Apple never intended for them to replace laptops completely (or at least not this quickly).

    I think Apple will keep pushing iOS (and adding features of course). They are a mobile device company now. I'm not sure what the future of OS X is. Could it be sustained as a "professional" only OS? I doubt it.

    My parents have an iMac and it confuses the hell out of them, but an iMac running iOS seems silly.
     
  11. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #11
    I think so too. I believe that Apple can make a few minor tweaks to iOS that will greatly improve it as a platform for more serious/professional work (however one defines that) without turning iOS into OSX.


    In its current state, yes, it would be silly. But with a few tweaks, it would make a terrific option for some people... certainly far more capable than a Chromebook (which I really like) and those Chromebooks are very useful.
     
  12. Narcaz, Oct 7, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015

    Narcaz macrumors 6502

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    #12
    You're right. I forgot about those chromebooks, they are not very popular in Europe, but they are a great example. For some people an iOS device will be enough for their needs. It looks the future will be a lot about convergence. I don't think iOS scaling would ne such a big hurdle if they focus on 1080p. I mean the 6(S) Plus already has this display resolution and downscales its interface to it. So the engineers could certainly figure out a clever way to scale apps. And on bigger screens pointing devices make even more sense.

    But Apple's recent decisions in this area make me scratch my head. We will get an powerful iPad Pro, but no support for trackpad and no proper solution for external displays. The Lightning AV adapter isn't great (upscales 720p due to bandwidth limits) and Airplay Mirroring is still prone to lag/delays. There is no Apple TV Stick, nothing. And we have now 4k recording on the 6S, but the new ATV is still limited to 1080p. Hopefully Apple steps up their game in this area after the Microsoft presentation.
     
  13. lusheslewis thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Looking at the keyboard for the iPad Pro, it's easy to see how a trackpad could be added. The cover and keyboard should also be separable IMO. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1444233665.587909.jpg
     
  14. sracer macrumors 603

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    #14
    Same here. I had been holding out in upgrading my iPad when I first heard about the potential for an iPad Pro. My experience with the Surface RT and Surface 2 (both equipped with Windows RT) whet my appetite for what a "pro" tablet could do. Hard to think of the Surface RT/2 as "pro" tablets but when you look at what hardware options it contains and what it can do, I was practically salivating at the potential to have an iOS tablet with similar options.

    Full-sized USB, microSD card slot, microHDMI port (with true multi-display support), support for pointing devices, really helped these devices somewhat overcome being limited by the lack of software.

    It's pretty funny to walk into a conference room, use my presentation remote, attach my Surface 2 to the large screen HDTV and drive it at full resolution... people will ask about my "Surface Pro" and when I tell them it is the non-Pro version, their jaws drop.


    Yes, it could be added but then they'd need to find another way to have the iPad stand. The offset location that forms the stand would need to be used for the trackpad (if that makes any sense)

    IMO, an ultrathin version of Logitech's Logi Blok keyboard case would be killer for the iPad (Pro and non-Pro). They could produce versions with or without a trackpad (depending upon whether or not iOS supported it)
     
  15. lusheslewis thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Make it double thickness all the way, I believe that would work.
     
  16. Narcaz macrumors 6502

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    #16
    And in a few weeks you could do the same with a Lumina 950 (XL)+ dock. It is ridiculous that these phones are more "pro" in this regard. Honestly i expected the iPad Pro to have at least the connectivity and versatility of the Surface 2 with some USB/C or Lightning Dock, but obviously it doesn't even have that. Apple keeps pushing for a wireless future, but their own equipment like Lightning /lack of USB C and ATV (Stick) is holding this back.
     
  17. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

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    #17
    iOS with a pointer makes the least sense because (1) there's no place for a pointing device and (2) there isn't a single existing app designed for one.

    Adding touch to OS X isn't a lot better. There's still no OS X software designed for touch and a finger isn't precise enough to operate software designed for a pointer. It's hard for me to believe that Apple would subject their customers to such a frustrating experience. It would certainly have to be a convertible, where you could run with a nice keyboard/trackpad most of the time and then flip/stow/fold somehow to a tablet when using one of the rare touch optimized apps. But if you're going to work all this out, why not go all the way:

    A hybrid makes the most sense:
    - runs on a convertible device
    - runs both OS X and iPad software
    - prefers OS X software when the keyboard/trackpad is on.
    - prefers iPad software when in tablet mode
    - if you have both the OS X and iPad version of an app, the hybrid OS could automatically switch you between them as you change modes and use continuity to make it relatively seamless.

    But if I had to bet, Apple won't do any of these.

    If they do, I guess they'd go with a hybrid OS, but they *might* -- as a transitional step -- release a touch version of OS X (with a device) as a way of testing the waters, and add iOS app support later.
     
  18. sracer macrumors 603

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    #18
    It probably doesn't make sense to you because you haven't used an iOS device with pointer support. I have (jailbroken iPad 1, 2, 4). It works just fine and didn't require any apps to be designed to use it.
     
  19. eyeseeyou macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Without a pointer IOS is not ready to realistically compete with the Surface line
     
  20. eyeseeyou macrumors 68000

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    #20
    If it was an option for developers your two concerns would be addressed
     
  21. iSee macrumors 68040

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    #21
    What are you talking about? An API for developers? That does not answer the question of what the pointing device would be. Is this a mouse, a trackpad, what? Where does it go when someone it using it? How does it get there? How does it draw power/get charged/etc. After you work all that out in a way -- and it has to be in a way that actually improves the experience for some important or wide-spread use cases -- then you can add an API and interface guidelines that developers might use.

    The most likely scenario is probably a keyboard case with a trackpad like the surface has. But at around $150, it's going to be pretty scarce, so I'd doubt many developers would design for it. They certainly would very rarely require one, meaning they would always be sure to include a strong touch interface first... which quickly brings you back to "Then what's the point?"

    Meanwhile OS X already has a ton of software designed for a pointer (+ keyboard). It's kind of hard to imagine how it could make sense to chuck all that in favor of starting over.
     
  22. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

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    #22
    What was your pointing device?
     
  23. eyeseeyou macrumors 68000

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    #23
    There already is a "trackpad" mode for ipads and the S phones.

    I wouldn't be surprised if logitech were to come out with a keyboard with a trackpad specifically for that function.

    Also there already is a tweak like this for jailbroken IOS devices that allow the use of bluetooth devices.
     
  24. sracer macrumors 603

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    #24
    I used a bluetooth mouse and alternatively the Motorola bluetooth keyboard w/trackpoint.
     
  25. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

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    #25
    I really don't think that makes sense.

    A pointing device like that isn't a drop-in replacement for touch... Some things are fine, like tapping buttons, but others are not, like anything to do with multi-touch or swipe gestures. There are also aspects of UI design that are subtler but can add frustration... E.g. drag operations with a pointing device can run out of room as you hit the end of the trackpad or mouse area but this isn't an issue with touch, so touch apps tend to rely much more heavily on drag than pointer UIs. Conversely, pointer UIs can make nice use of rollover, while touch can't. So.. You can add a pointer and pointing device to the iPad, but it won't work very well from a UI perspective.

    In addition you have to fiddle around with another device -- getting your mouse/trackpad out when you need it, dealing with connection issues, keeping it charged or plugged in, etc. For this to pay off it needs to make things significantly better, at least for some general use cases, not worse.

    Finally, pointing devices like you mention work best when you have you device set up like a laptop, not held in hand like a tablet.

    So, might as well use a laptop, then, with software actually designed for you UI devices.
     

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