These weeks Unveiling of the new iPad Pro saw something strange on the datasheet … Apples M1 chip. The Apple tablet that was previously used in the new Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro now runs desktop hardware. The iPad and Mac are getting closer together with each product launch.
Did Apple kill the original iPad vision to replace it with something closer to the Mac?
If we follow Better earth law of the headlinesNo Apple hasn’t killed the iPad Pro. Just visit an Apple Store and you will see that it is still for sale. But the M1-powered iPad Pro launch this week at the Spring Loaded event killed the iPad Pro as we know it. There is suddenly a new frontier for iPadOS to explore, potential limits have been lifted, and many macOS developers will take another look at the platform.
The new iPad Pro platform and the new MacOS platform look like two sides of the same digital coin.
Following the event, Apple employees made it clear in interviews that there is no big plan to merge the iPad and the Mac line. Here are John Ternus and Greg Joswiak in conversation with The Independent in the UK::
“Or people say we are merging them into one: that there really is this great conspiracy that we have to eliminate the two categories and make them one. And the reality is not true either. We are quite proud to the fact that we work really, really hard to develop the best products in their respective categories. “
Apple is focused on bringing as many options as possible to both the iPad Pro and the Mac platform. It’s not about beating them up, it’s not about restricting one to improve the other. This is all very classy and correct, but when you look at it from outside of Cupertino and the two platforms, they move closer and closer together.
Previously, Apple worked hard to get iOS and iPadOS applications running on their deskbound computers. It’s not a write done once on all Apple hardware (yet), but it does offer Mac users a viable solution for running mobile apps. With the introduction of ARM-based Apple Silicon, the two platforms ran on the same architecture, which made the process a bit easier.
The architecture between the A-series and M-series chips is undoubtedly very tight, but we are now looking at two platforms with identical low-level hardware, again reducing the barriers between the two platforms and the potential for cross-platform apps in flow the other direction, from macOS to iPadOS.
If both platforms can run the same apps, is it still a different platform? Apple’s argument would be that the platforms are still different. I’m not sure. In a year or two, you could easily get a license for an app called Apple Silicon Compatible and run it on either iPadOS or MacOS (and maybe even iOS, but let’s not get too far ahead).
If iPad and Mac apps can run on Macs and iPads, this is where things get interesting. Apple will explore two different approaches to platform coexistence. The touchscreen device will be available with a panel, probably with a detachable keyboard. and there will be a keyboard-oriented device without a touchscreen.
The form factors will retain their identity as iPads and Macs, there won’t be a brand amalgamation per se, but with so much in common in the cases, each will effectively be Cupertino’s super platform.
And when everyone is great …