Former Windows Chief Explains Why macOS on iPad is Futile Quest

Former Windows Chief Explains Why macOS on iPad is Futile Quest

Tech columnist and venture investor MG Siegler, commenting on the new iPad Pro: I love the iPad for the things it’s good at. And I love the MacBook for the things it’s good at. What I want is less a completely combined device and more a single device that can run both macOS and iPadOS. And this new iPad Pro, again equipped with a chip faster than any MacBook, can do that if Apple allowed it to.

At first, maybe it’s dual boot. That is, just let the iPad Pro load up macOS if it’s attached to the Magic Keyboard and use the screen as a regular (but beautiful) monitor — no touch. Over time, maybe macOS is just a “mode” inside of iPadOS — complete with some elements updated to be touch-friendly, but not touch-first. Steven Sinofsky, the former head of Microsoft’s Windows division, chiming in: It is not unusual for customers to want the best of all worlds. It is why Detroit invented convertibles and el caminos.

But the idea of a “dual boot” device is just nuts. It is guaranteed the only reality is it is running the wrong OS all the time for whatever you want to do. It is a toaster-refrigerator. Only techies like devices that “presto-change” into something else. Regular humans never flocked to El Caminos, and even today SUVs just became station wagons and almost none actually go off road 🙂

Two things that keep going unanswered if you really want macOS on an iPad device:

1. What software on Mac do you want for an iPad device experience? What software will get rewritten for touch? If you want “touch-enabled” check out what happened on the Windows desktop. Nearly everything people say they want isn’t features as much as the mouse interaction model. People want overlapping windows, a desktop of folders, infinitely resizable windows, and so on. These don’t work on touch very well and certainly not for people who don’t want to futz.
2. Will you be happy with battery life? The physics of an iPad mean the battery is 2/3rds the size of a Mac battery. Do you really want that? I don’t. The reason the iPad is the 5.x mm device is because the default doesn’t have a keyboard holding the battery. This is about the realities. The metaphors that people like on a desktop, heck that they love, just don’t work with the blunt instrument of touch. It might be possible to build all new metaphors that use only tough and thus would be great on an iPad but that isn’t what they tried. The device grew out of a phone. It’s only their incredible work on iPhone that led to Mx silicon and their tireless work on the Mac-centric frameworks that delivered a big chunk (but not all) the privacy, reliability, battery life, security, etc. of the phone on Mac. […]

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