Bloomberg: ‘Time for Apple to pull off the Band Aid…

“and merge the iPad and Mac—at least their operating systems.”

From Mark Gurman’s Fully Charged, posted Wednesday to subscribers of Bloomberg Technology:

The company seems to have done everything it can to delay the inevitable. Over the past few years, it has danced around the idea of combining the Mac and iPad software ecosystems—to a confusing degree…

For years, Apple has said it won’t combine the two platforms as doing so would dilute the best parts of each. A more cynical perspective (and one certainly discussed at the highest levels of Apple) is that combining the products would dilute sales rather than functionality. The concern here is that consumers might just buy a single iPad or Mac, instead of both.

We’ve now reached the point though that not combining the platforms could do more harm than good. Managing two distinct operating systems and software ecosystems for devices with increasingly similar hardware underpinnings is far more work than necessary for Apple, developers and consumers.

 My take: There’s some merit to the more cynical perspective.

17 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    The day Apple turns the Mac into an overgrown iPad will be the day I stop buying both. I demand a fully fledged file system and a set of peripherals for my computer. The changes Apple has made to the Mac’s “open file” dialog in its own applications really frustrate me, as it tries to enforce a very narrow view of file organization, one that after more than 40 years owning a computer that I do not find particularly useful.

    And I’m disappointed that PED would give credence to this stupid idea as a ‘cynical ploy’.

    16
    April 21, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    “….. The concern here is that consumers might just buy a single iPad or Mac, instead of both.”

    “…. My take: There’s some merit to the more cynical perspective.”

    Possibly, there’s some merit. It has absolutely no bearing on my owning both hardware devices. I crave a large desktop machine to do work and have supplemental writing materials and notes spread around me. The iPad is what I retrieve to relax with on the couch, back patio or working in bed. I love the mobility of the iPad AND I love the hard-at-work mode of my desktop. My biggest disappointment yesterday with the presentation was Apple not having a 27 inch iMac ready. These are two different devices for two different purposes in my life no matter if they run the same OS, which I hope they do soon.

    14
    April 21, 2021
  3. Timothy Smith said:
    If you can run MacOS on an iPad, you can run Windows on an iPad.

    12
    April 21, 2021
  4. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    “ Managing two distinct operating systems and software ecosystems for devices with increasingly similar hardware underpinnings is far more work than necessary for Apple, developers and consumers “

    Did Apple say this? I would guess it’s not far more work. Apple is awesome at making complexity easy so managing two distinct systems with multiple variants of each is not a problemo for them.

    18
    April 21, 2021
  5. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    As a consumer, I’m not impacted by multiple OS’s, whether it’s any of Apple’s, Google’s, Microsoft’s, Lockheed’s CADAM system (ok, this isn’t consumer level LOL), etc.

    If anything, a Consumer would be attracted by Apple’s multiple offerings of OS’s that work appropriate to the device in hand (sorry for that pun). Because of the low learning curve and “what’s an OS, I just need this thing to work beautifully for me”

    17
    April 21, 2021
  6. Fred Stein said:
    Strongly disagree w/ Gurman.

    Has Apple delayed? This transition takes time, first for the chip, then Apple’s software OS and tools, and more most importantly, 3rd party SW.

    Maybe in a year to two, 3rd party software will complete the migration.

    Maybe they could have released a an M1 power Mac a bit earlier.

    7
    April 21, 2021
  7. Horace Dediu said:
    If Mac and iPad ran the same OS there would be no change in sales. The products are not bought for their operating systems but for the outcomes and circumstances of their use.

    18
    April 21, 2021
    • John Konopka said:
      We can harken back to Steve’s trucks and cars analogy. The two are built for different purposes. In a pinch I can put the back seats down and carry some large items in my Prius, but I’m never going to haul a trailer or a load of bricks or transport a large piece of furniture. For that I’d use my son’s old pickup truck.

      I can do lots of content creation on my iPad; take notes, make sketches, modify a Keynote, add a few numbers to a spreadsheet. But for the heavy lifting I have a 27″ iMac on the desk with extended storage options, a scanner, external monitor, nice keyboard and such.

      iPad has the main benefit of portability and touch. iMac with Mac OS is for tackling different jobs. When I make a training video I probably use almost a dozen programs, often with several on screen at once. I’m accessing lots of files. I use proxy icons and AppleScript. These are not coming to the iPad.

      I wonder if Gurman even uses a Mac?

      8
      April 21, 2021
  8. Lalit Jagtap said:
    I think Bloomberg team still has work to do about “understanding user experience”. It’s editorial team definitely has its work cut out based on such articles.

    12
    April 21, 2021
  9. Frank Cioffi said:
    Enhanced consistency between the two? Yes.
    Merging the two? Big mistake.

    14
    April 21, 2021
  10. David Baraff said:
    As a tech person, this is just a stupidly bad idea.

    Bloomberg reveals the depth of its technical ignorance with this article.

    Perhaps Bloomberg should rip off the bandaid and no longer make a distinction between its writers and its editors, which would make sense because both demonstrate similar levels of incompetence. This would save the company money without affecting its journalistic quality in the slightest.

    15
    April 21, 2021
  11. Larger iPhone screens were going to cannibalize the iPad. iPad Air was sure to undercut MacBook sales. iPhone was certain to kill the iPod. Besides the quandary of proving it, why worry? Apple supports a healthy, growing ecosystem, no surprise parts of it consume each other.

    8
    April 21, 2021
  12. Thomas Larkin said:
    Maybe Mr. Gurman should go check out the Microsoft store, for one of those hybrid, “Surface-y things?” Hmm, wonder why those haven’t taken off yet?

    8
    April 21, 2021
  13. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Is the glass half full or half empty?

    With Gurman, Hall, and Sacconaghi do you have the: “Three Musketeers” or the “Three Stooges?”

    8
    April 21, 2021
  14. Dan Pallotta said:
    It’s April vacation for our kids, but we have a complex mailer to get out for our clients, so yesterday after an hour of trying to deal with side-by-side comparisons and edits on my iPhone and iPad I finally had to go into the office where I have my 27 inch iMac and a 27 inch display connected to it. There’s a line beyond which you need the bigger visual real estate and the precision of the peripherals that go with the desktop. Beyond that line, the mobile devices feel like trying to paddle a canoe with a dinner fork.

    6
    April 22, 2021
  15. Dan Pallotta said:
    Also, when this subject comes up for me it is helpful to think about Apple employees. Never in a million years would Apple ask all of those people to try and do all of their work on a mobile OS. That puts the lie to the idea that there’s no difference and no need for separate operating systems.

    7
    April 22, 2021

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