Should There Be iOS Support for the Mac?

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My daughter loves her iPhone, and recently observed that the iPhone OS reminds her a lot of Mac OS Classic System 6 — the operating system on which we both cut our computing teeth some 18 years ago. I think she has a valid point.

Even on our respective underpowered and memory-challenged 8MHz Motorola 68000 Mac Plus compacts, with their puny 2.5MB of RAM, System 6 was amazingly lively — especially when booted from their external 20MB SCSI hard drives rather than standard, floppy-drive booting. Startup was much faster than with Snow Leopard on a Core 2 Duo, and once it appeared, the System 6 GUI’s tasteful and spare simplicity was charmingly elegant in razor-sharp one-bit black and white, although if you had a “color Mac” you could assign colors to folders. Until displaced by System 7 in 1991, System 6 provided a basic co-operative multitasking function called MultiFinder.

Notwithstanding its limitations by today’s standards, System 6 was in many respects my favorite Mac operating system version ever. It’s not very useful nowadays for anything but the most rudimentary computing tasks on antique hardware, and it never had more than vestigial Internet support, but I’ve fantasized from time to time about how great it would be if Apple were to offer a System 6 UI skin for OS X — especially back in the day when OS X running on my older, slower, Power PC hardware was more than a bit, well…sluggish. Nothing sluggish about System 6, or, back to the main point of this screed — the iPhone OS. Dual-booting the iOS on a Mac along with OS X for power and versatility when you need it would be a super value-added feature for Mac users.

Given that the iOS is a direct derivative of OS X, developed from the same Darwin core, and when you can run Windows and Linux on Macs, it seems silly for it not to be supported by the Mac, opening the vast selection of iOS apps to Mac users.

With multitasking, folder, and Bluetooth keyboard support as well as greater optimization for the iPad’s larger display all coming in iOS 4, the iOS’s appeal as a lean computer operating system will be even more attractive.

Major advantages afforded by running the iOS on the Mac would be faster boot times (perhaps even faster than old System 6) and a “greener” carbon footprint thanks to its economy of power consumption — the latter a potential major advantage for laptop users when running on battery power.

Some are suggesting that Mac OS 11 might well even be merged and integrated with the iOS, which seems plausible and logical. In the meantime, there’s much to be said for adding iOS dual-boot capability to OS 10.7.

Would the ability to run the iOS on your Mac appeal to you?

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