Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mac and iOS Trajectories

Riccardo Mori:

I have a hard time believing it, but for the sake of argument, let’s say the Mac has reached the end of the line. Let’s say there’s little room left to innovate on the hardware side, and just room for small refinements and life-support maintenance on the software side. Let’s say Apple is not entirely wrong in choosing to neglect the Mac. Let’s say iOS is really the future and the right bet.

How is iOS supposed to evolve to become as mature and versatile a platform as the Mac?


If touch remains the only input method in iOS, how can the user interface and the user interaction be kept ‘simple’ when future iOS devices need to connect and interact with other peripherals?


When I walk down this hypothetical path, what I see in iOS’s trajectory, more than sheer innovation, is a reinvention of the wheel.


A Post-PC era where we should eventually get rid of traditional computers to switch to devices and an operating system that will have to behave more like traditional computers to provide a similar level of versatility. And we will have gone through the effort to reach a similar level of productivity as we have now on the Mac because…? Because iOS is nicer and feels fresher? And for how long will iOS keep feeling nicer and fresher?

Previously: How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists, Understanding Apple’s Marginalization of the Mac, iOS Lacks a Document Filing System.

Update (2016-12-28): Jason Brennan:

Can you imagine doing anything even remotely like that even on a big ass iPad with a keyboard? I’ve waited for years to see something great like this, like “hanging out” and mucking around on an iOS device, but I’m still waiting.

A lie I keep telling myself is multi-touch is so fantastic. It’s amazing, right? You can use all your fingers (and then some!), to uhm, touch your screen. To do what, I still don’t know. Almost ten years of iOS and about the best multitouch app I can think of is Maps: it’s got two-finger-gestures!

After all this time, after all this waiting and lying to myself, I think multi-touch has been a big red herring. I’ve always looked at it and seen potential, like, this is the year of the multitouch desktop but it’s never materialized. iOS has always felt incredibly stunted to me, but I kept telling myself, we just need time to re-imagine software, we’re all just stuck in the desktop mindset, it’ll come.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

It's funny because I think the conflict between so-called power users and other users will just move from the Mac platform to the iOS platform. The power iOS users want one device to rule them all, so they want to add features to iOS to make it more powerful and able to replace the Mac. But it's not clear that the majority of iOS users would want that. One of the appeals of iOS, in comparison with the Mac, is its simplicity. So if Apple adds a lot of power to iOS, and the unavoidable complexity associated with that, in order to placate the power iOS users, won't that reduce the appeal of iOS to the other users? It seems like the sane approach would be to let the Mac do what it does best, and let iOS do what it does best, but instead everyone demands The Future(tm) rather than allowing multiple possible futures.

@Jeff I could not agree more.

So many of these "What if the Mac is on life support?" articles lately. It seems to be the new narrative.

I wonder whether anyone at Apple uses Macs? Do you think the engineers primarily work on Macs or iPhones or iPads? If the engineers do need Macs to get their work done, do you think they'd have a vested interest in keeping them up to date? Maybe something to posit.

Re: Jason Brennan

I have never become comfortable, let alone adept, at selecting or changing text on iOS. Single words: ok. Longer passages, multiple lines, changing a bit in the middle of a long URL? I just don't if I can possibly avoid it.

Kind of a significant problem for an aspiring mac replacement.

Completely agree with Jeff. People are making the divide between Mac and iOS but the bigger divide are causal users with phones and people trying to use the iPad the way they used Macs. What's good for the iPod as pro device isn't good for the phone. Plus since you're typically just reinventing what happens on the Mac you don't gain a whole lot anyway. (You see that with iCloud which is becoming more and more file system like)

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