One of the most interesting but at the same time most confusing points about the transition from Macs to Apple Silicon chips is the inter-operability of the applications on the other platforms. Macs will be able to natively run iOS and iPadOS apps, although it’s not yet clear what that will entail. Can we install Instagram, which is still exclusive to iPhone, on a Mac?
These are questions whose answers will be unraveled throughout this summer, when the developers discover what can be done with the successive betas. However, there is another question that arises thanks to this change: How about running macOS apps on iPhone or iPad? No, I am not referring to a Finder window as is on an iPhone. The key word here is execution.
One device, two systems
I recently told my colleague Jesús Quesada about the future situation in which I dream: something similar to what Samsung Dex is now, but applied to Apple and optimized. Mobile devices from Apple that, conveniently placed in a base or Dock, connect to a monitor and run macOS. And now, after WWDC20, we can already consider it a possible future. I will not say probable, but possible.
Let’s think: the chip A14 (or whatever Apple wants to call it) will be present in the next iPhone, the next iPad and the next Mac. At least, in the form of variants. All Apple operating systems will be able to boot on those chips. Therefore, it would only take a decision from Apple and a little more time to see a macOS running inside a mobile device that is already running iOS. Or we can twist the concept further and have a single core run classic touchscreen interfaces on the phone and classic on an external desktop display.
Around this there is a huge debate. Obviously this would harm the Macs, whose sales would end up cannibalized and would be reduced only to those truly demanding users. Either it is unfeasible for temperature reasons, or simply because an iPhone capable of running macOS on a partition and displaying it on an external display would be too expensive. But that dream, the dream in which you can have a complete Mac in your pocket, is now a little less unreal. Because before you needed an Intel Core inside that iPhone, and that is impossible. But not anymore.
That said, you also have to be realistic. Maybe running macOS on a mobile device is now a less crazy project, but I also think that some trend that we cannot imagine now can be put above of that project. Five years ago I never believed that I would use an iPad as my laptop for my work, and today that is what has happened.
It is, of course, one of many possibilities now that Apple’s hardware will be truly unified. Thinking about how all Apple platforms will evolve at this point is very interesting, and surely Apple has already thought of how. Prosser, Kuo, L0vetodream, Gurman … you have a lot of work.
Sharing macOS within iOS: the ability to view a mobile device running both systems in the future