The Short-Term Future of Apple Lies in a Unified Operating System

The Short-Term Future of Apple Lies in a Unified Operating System

I recently wrote an article entitled Apple's Post-PC Conundrum. In it I discuss what I consider to be the inevitable merging of Apple's OS and iOS operating systems and their corresponding user experience. For the record, I wholeheartedly believe, (despite Apple's protestations to the contrary) that I'm not far off in my assessment. Lending credence to my not-so-outlandish theory, newly uncovered patent applications from the tech giant shed some light on Apple's current areas of technological exploration and possible plans for future development.

First of all, before we proceed, it's worth mentioning that the youngest children of today—the generation of kids that have only barely been introduced to computing—will demand more viable computing options than what they will no doubt view as the bulky and clunky devices of old. It's actually a rather normal phenomenon, to view the technology of our parents' or grandparents' generations as archaic and outdated, a novelty at best. Every generation does this when it comes to the technology of previous generations. In the same way that we adults look back at silent movies or even those grainy, low-tech, 70s movies, so too will our children and grandchildren look back on the "advanced" technology of today. To them a laptop or desktop computer will likely seem as antiquated as an eight-track cassette or a vinyl LP.

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Apple's patent demonstrates scenarios in which a laptop-type device could be powered and/or controlled by your iPhone or iPad. Granted, since these are only patents we are discussing, that doesn't mean that these devices will ever see the light of day, but it does indicate what Apple is imagining and what it may well be exploring under lock and key as prototypes. If we entertain the possibility that Apple may create a laptop-iOS device mash-up, then it would follow that iOS will have to evolve to support most, if not all laptop (and desktop) functions. Otherwise such a device would be more novelty than disruptive innovation, and in my estimation, the Apple brand could benefit from a healthy dose of disruptive innovation

Truth be told, let's forget about the laptop for now, and the iPad and iPhone too. I have a feeling that in 100 years they will all be considered archaic and unwieldy. Consider this: human/computer hybrid minds, where our intelligence is augmented by AI and OS. Like the notion or not, a human-computer "neuralink" (as billionaire innovator Elon Musk would have us call it) may be just around the corner, relatively speaking. I envision a potential human future where, with the flick of a switch, or by thinking of a mental passcode, we could unlock a neural cybernetic link whereby a human could conceivably go into a self-contained VR mental environment or have instant access to a quantum computer's vast database of information.

So if anyone thinks I am being outlandish in suggesting that iOS and macOS may eventually be compelled to merge, all I can say is that it's all relative. While computer/human hybrids might still sound like far-fetched science fiction to many people, the idea that the more popular, more portable and more intuitive iOS operating system might continue to supplant laptops and desktops, forcing macOS to merge or die, simply doesn't seem that outlandish or farfetched. At least not to me. In fact, it seems an inevitable evolutionary trajectory of Apple's operating systems.

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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech