The future: the Mac and iPad will merge and run Apple OS

The always entertaining columnist, John C. Dvorak, writes in a new column dubbed “Apple is Ready to Ditch the Mac” that Apple is, well, ready to ditch the Mac as iOS is poised to replace macOS. However, the Sellers Research Group (that’s me) says he’s missing the big picture.

As he’s said before, Dvorak feels the Mac will be phased out and the whole line will be replaced by iPads. He admits that the Mac “is not dead tomorrow,” though he doesn’t say when we can read the obit. 

A more likely scenario: both the Mac and iPad will “die.” Actually, that’s not the correct term; “transform” is more like it. Just as the iPod (only available now as the iPod touch) transformed like a caterpillar into the iPhone, Apple’s desktop, laptop, and tablet line-ups will evolve into a merged form factor (or factors) that take the best elements of each with a user interface based on the best elements of macOS and iOS.

Apple Pad.jpg

Apple has said that the two operating systems won’t merge because, among other reasons, no one wants a touch screen interface on a 27-inch iMac display. It’s probably true that most folks don’t, but Microsoft’s Surface Studio — though hardly a big hit — shows that some people like the idea. 

My crystal ball says that we’ll see an Apple device powered by Apple A.x chips that can do everything that a Mac and iPad can do, and more. Image an iPad Pro form factor that works with a detachable keyboard, as well as a mouse and trackpad. Imagine such a device plugging into a 21-inch or 27-inch display that has touch control AND gesture control. You could also plug in an external GPU (made by Apple, of course) for even better performance.

You’d have one device to replace your Mac, MacBook, and iPad. Perhaps Apple would entice you to upgrade it annually via a version of the iPhone Upgrade Program. 

This won’t happen overnight, but I think it’s a likely scenario within five years. And we won’t have macOS or iOS at that point. Just Apple OS. 

The mock-up in this article is courtesy of Killian Bell of “Cult of Mac.”