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Apple Silicon makes possible a merger of the Mac and iPad

Columnist John C. Dvorak wrote in a December 2017 column dubbed “Apple is Ready to Ditch the Mac” that Apple was, well, ready to ditch the Mac as iOS is poised to replace macOS. Obviously, that never happened — and won’t happen. And Macworld’s Dan Moren wrote the following in his July 5 column,”The Mac never left, but it’s about to have a comeback”:

After this year’s WWDC, however, the Mac is looking more like the Apple product that’s poised to have a huge impact. As we consider the calendar of the next couple years, there is a tremendous amount for Mac users to get excited about.

Dan is onto something, and you should definitely read the entire article. Especially as a counterpoint to Dvorak’s 2017 prediction that the Mac will be phased out and the whole line will eventually be replaced.

I think there’s likely another scenario: both the Mac and iPad “transform” and merge into one product line. Just as the iPod (only available now as the iPod touch) transformed like a caterpillar into the iPhone, Apple’s desktop, laptop, and tablet line-ups might evolve into a merged form factor (or factors) that take the best elements of each with a user interface based on the best elements of macOS, iPadOS, and iOS — the “Apple OS” I wrote about on July 3.

Apple has said that the two operating systems won’t merge because, among other reasons, no one wants a touch screen interface on a 27-inch iMac display. Maybe, maybe not. But these days lots of folks certainly like touchscreen laptops as evidenced by the myriad such Wintel devices.

My crystal ball says that we’ll see an Apple device powered by Apple chips that can do everything that a Mac and iPad can do, and more. Image an iPad Pro form factor that works with a detachable keyboard, as well as a mouse and trackpad. Imagine such a device plugging into a 21-inch or 27-inch display that has touch control AND gesture control. You could also plug in an external GPU (made by Apple, of course) for even better performance.

You’d have one device to replace your Mac, MacBook, and iPad. Perhaps Apple would entice you to upgrade it annually via a version of the iPhone Upgrade Program. 

This won’t happen overnight, but I think it’s a likely scenario within five years. And it will be possible by “Apple Silicon,” the collective name for system-on-chip (SoC) and system-in-package (SiP) processors designed by Apple using ARM architecture.

The mock-up in this article is courtesy of Killian Bell of “Cult of Mac.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.