Apple CEO: iOS and OS X aren’t Merging into a Single OS

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Apple CEO Tim Cook says iOS and OS X aren't converging into a single operating system even though they share many similar traits. Speaking with Ireland's The Independent, that's not what customers want, and it isn't the experience Apple wants to create.

The OS X iPad? Tim Cook says nope.The OS X iPad? Tim Cook says nope.

The feature sharing between iOS and OS X, plus the overall power and performance in Apple's own A-series processors, has led to speculation that at some point we'll see Macs and iPads running the same operating system—much like Microsoft has done with Windows on PCs and tablets. According to Mr. Cook, that's not going to happen.

Mr. Cook said,

We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad. Because what that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways.

He went on to say that while the processor architecture for Macs and iPads is more similar than it has ever been, people don't use the devices in the same way. As such, they need their own operating systems and Apple wants the two working together.

"What we've tried to do is to recognize that people use both iOS and Mac devices," he said. "So we've taken certain features and made them more seamless across the devices."

This isn't the first time Mr. Cook has said iOS and OS X won't merge into a single operating system, and it isn't the first time he has commented on customers using Macs and iPads in different ways. Still, we will most likely see more features cross between the two platforms in future OS versions.

Mr. Cook's reassurance was likely at least in part a follow up to a comment he made a few days ago where he questioned why anyone would buy a PC any more. That comment, he said, was about Windows-based PCs, and not Macs. Mr. Cook said Macs aren't seen as the same as PCs by Apple.

As iOS and OS X become more similar, it'll get harder to believe they aren't on a path to become a single unified operating system. Mr. Cook says that isn't happening, so it looks like an iOS laptop or OS X tablet won't be coming any time soon.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

A unified operating system for iPhones, iPads, and Macs sounds like a bad idea. We'd end up with a single OS that best serve any device, and that is exactly what Apple wants to avoid.

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But an iPad Pro, with Magic Keyboard and Mouse/Trackpad, would be able to run OS X just fine. Not at the same time as iOS - of course - just one or the other (i.e. dual boot)


Fair enough, but you have to ask yourself: what’s the point when you can tether an iPad Pro to a Mac that already possesses that functionality and enjoy the benefits of increased screen real estate etc., etc.? I can see where they are coming from on this one, beyond a certain point it all starts to get a little redundant.

Peter Dufosse

Your “Spin” does so to the head… In need of an edit?

“We’d end up with a single OS that best serve any device, and that is exactly what Apple wants to avoid.”



iOS, tvOS, watchOS, & MacOS are already a single operating system: Darwin.

Scott B in DC

If you want a single OS to run on everything, go see Win10. How is that working for MS?


@jbruni, point well made, as I keep reminding people Mac OS X is Unix with eye candy, iOS is Unix with different eye candy, the underpinnings are similar, secure, proven. 
@Scott B agreed, If you want to see an epic fail try running Windows 7 on a tablet, fully powered to dead in 24 hours with practically zero use.  An iPad 2, from fully charged, to nearly dead, 3 weeks, with intermittent use.. even with iOS 9….

One size does not fit all….

James Chastain

The very idea that all the Apple toys, ipad, iphone, ipod MAC computers should and will not be running the same features is absolutely ridiculous.

Cook seems to not use his own products especially say iBooks which is where my main irritation comes with Apple products. He should be actually asking people who USE the products for more than texting, or gaming or whatever what they want products to do. 

Previous iBook version Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard all seemed to have functioning edit features.  Choices for changing a books genre if it is wrong from the iBooks store.  Sorting books my author was a function that is for some of us terribly important. 

But the last two version of iBooks, Maverick and now El Capitan have removed most all the end user functionality for spamming new books.  The jerky people who made these choices obviously do not READ or collect books and have no concept of what it means to sort and identify items in a collection. 

NO controls for sorting books by author anywhere.  Example:  One of my favorite authors has about 10 novels in my collection.  I use the only feature I am offered to sort by author.  Then I look at the authors listings, and there are my authors books, split off into two distinct folders.  I examine each set of books.  Look for variances in the two folders but find virtually nothing different.  Just Apple OS has decided that they are not the same author and wont sort them together!  Sorting books generally is impossible on iPad mini or iPad normal.  I have owned both. 

What is it about Mr. Cook that gives him the balls to say that things are fine with the toy box?  I for one don’t think so.  I was sold my iPhone and my iPads because BECAUSE they were supposedly going to or already used the same features. 

But that is a lie actually.  A merchandising lie.  Very tired of the Apple Merchandising line.  If there were options I for one would make a move.  But to much invested in “this set of toys” for now to switch.

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