With the impending arrival of macOS Big Sur, it is clear that macOS, iPadOS, and iOS are becoming ever more similar. Apple should fully embrace this, and create an all-encompassing AppleOS.

The iPad Pro is a Touchscreen Mac

Think about the iPad Pro. It is now effectively a touchscreen Mac – redefined cursor and all – or certainly can be used in that way. Apple is even embracing that idea in its marketing materials. With Catalyst, developers can bring an iPad app to the Mac.

I understand that there are some different technological requirements for an iPhone and a Mac. Of course there are. But I’m also pretty confident Apple has the ability to do that ‘under-the-hood’ stuff and present a unified AppleOS in such a way that users would not know the difference and developers would not be inconvenienced.

A key underlining factor is Apple Silicon. As Joanna Stern put it in her latest Wall Street Journal column:

Will it provide the same power as Intel-based systems? MacOS Big Sur, coming this fall, will bring a lot of the styling of iOS and iPadOS. But will the new Macs ever support touchscreens? How about cellular connectivity? What exactly happens when you stick an iPad Pro-like processor into a MacBook running MacOS?

One way to answer a lot of this questions is if everything is running on the same operating system. WWDC 2021, anyone? The only thing really denting my certainty is the fact that we’ve just had a major overhaul of macOS, the biggest in nearly two decades, and I suspect Apple will not want to rebrand its product so profoundly in 12-18 months.

Time to Make AppleOS Official

Apple has a fluent design language running through all its products. While that does already extend across its various operating systems, a unified AppleOS would only enhance this. The truth is, we’re already well along this path. It just needs Apple to make it official.

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xmattingly

I think there’s a lot of benefit to be had by Apple developing all of their OS’ for a single platform. BUT. Merging macOS with iPadOS is an extremely bad move. Apple seems to have lost sight of the pros and cons of both, and distinctions between the two as it is…what I saw with the introduction of Big Sur wasn’t very reassuring. Those fat-as-button sliders look like crap. The new windowing language, with the entire left assigned to sidebars and everything else crammed to the right (including the window’s title) was obviously not thought through, beyond “Let’s make everything… Read more »

I won’t be using anything dumbed down like iOS on my notebook or desktop. It’s either MacOS or Linux, and if it is Linux it won’t be on Apple hardware.   That’s because I do a lot of development work, need to have the full *nix shell and GNU tools at my disposal.   As far as office applications go, including Photoshop or Affinity, in Linux, I can run Windows on Xen or VMWare Workstation. I’m not a Windows fan, but for Excel and photo editing, I couldn’t care less what the base OS is.   So all that said… Read more »

So all that said if Apple wants me to run a mobile-focused OS with less flexibility and user power, sorry, but they will no longer fit my use case and I suspect a great number of power users.”

That’s not what they’re doing though.

John Kheit

I’m with you Charlotte. I said so a few years ago here:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7zWqQVJ7QQ

AdamBerkey

The iPad Pro is NOT a touchscreen Mac. iOS is NOT OS X. Not even close.
Put OS X on the iPad, I can go for that. But for the sake of all things sane, OS X does not need to be dumbed down even more.

geoduck

Not to mention that an iPhone is not an iPad. Trying to make one OS environment to cover everything is what got Microsoft into so much trouble and cost them a decade+. That way lies madness.

geoduck

No.
Having the same bones underneath is fine, but the surface layer we interact with has to be optimized for each environment.

I agree. But what I am for is one development platform to rule them all (ie: SwiftUI and / or Catalyst).