Whether through Apple’s long-term vision or the growing realization of an opportunity, iOS has become the OS in Apple’s future. iOS has already shipped on more than one billion devices; where Macintosh unit sales are measured in millions per quarter, iOS devices are multiples of tens of millions. Built to fit the constraints of the first iPhone’s limited processing power, iOS is still much smaller than OS X: 1.3 Gigabytes for the latest release, versus 8.41GB for my MacBook’s System Folder. iOS has a lot of room to grow into a fuller, richer OS, unencumbered by past sins.
If we accept the scenario of an iPad evolution into an iOS-based laptop, or even desktop, what happens to the Mac as we know it today?
Picture (no pun intended) digital cameras. With its ubiquity, connectivity, performance, and photo editing software, the smartphone has swallowed the point-and-shoot market, but it’s not a replacement for the pricey DSLR that’s beloved by the hobbyist and essential for commercial jobs such as sports, product, or food photography.
By analogy, even if an iOS-based laptop comes to serve many needs, there are jobs where a 27” iMac, its 5K display, 4GHz Intel processor, 64 GB of RAM, and terabytes of disk storage is irreplaceable – and will stay so for some time. The two will co-exist just like smartphones and DSLRs.
Sounds right to me.