Relax, iOS Isn’t Going to Replace OS X


A prediction has been going around the blogosphere for a few months saying that Apple (s aapl) will eventually replace OS X with iOS, and a lot of people seem to agree. I don’t. That prediction has never sounded to me like something Apple would do, but it’s more than instinct: Steve Jobs has said himself that it’s false.

Back in June, Dan Lyons wrote an article for Newsweek that claimed that OS X was dead and that Apple was ignoring it in favor of iOS. Later, Dennis Sellers of Macsimum News emailed Steve Jobs himself about the article, and his response, in his characteristically concise form, was: “Completely wrong. Just wait.”

Another email sent to Jobs a month before WWDC 2010 from Matthias Gansrigler asked him about the lack of Apple design awards for Mac applications at the event. Jobs response was: “We are focusing primarily (though not exclusively) on iPhone OS this year. Maybe next year we will focus primarily on the Mac. Just the normal cycle of things. No hidden meaning here.”

Of course, you can argue that those emails were faked. I’m sure people have faked emails from Jobs before. However, the cycle described in the second email certainly fits with how Apple does things, as related by Sachin Agarwal, who used to work for Apple on Final Cut Pro. He states that Apple has engineers who work in small teams, and may not be working on the same thing all the time:

Apple doesn’t build large teams to work on every product they make. Instead, they hire very few, but very intelligent people who can work on different projects and move around as needed. One day you might be working on the Remote app, and the next day you might get pulled on to another project that needs your help. The engineers on the Mac OS and iOS teams move back and forth between the two projects based on release cycles and what needs to ship next.

If that weren’t enough to convince you, Apple posted a job listing for someone to develop a “new and revolutionary” feature for OS X. Doesn’t sound like something Apple would do for a dead OS, does it? (Though I’m sure someone will argue that this new feature is iOS on a Mac, which I doubt, based on the emails mentioned above.)

From this evidence it looks like people are making a big deal out of nothing. But what do you think? Would you want to see iOS on a Mac?

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Mobile OSes Are No Longer Just About Mobile



iOS on a full sized Mac – Hmm, it would be nice to be able to run some of the apps I have as a desktop widget, but the issue is they are all designed really for touch. Unless Apple ship a touch screen soon, I dont think that will happen.
Now if the magic track pad had an LCD display as well, then it might have been nice to have some apps just output display to the trackpad, a little like Windows sideshow.
I often have calendar up on my iPhone docked next to my mac just so can keep a track of my schedule without having to minimise windows and bring up iCal when I’m busy.


It is here to stay. Apple does it right by developing a system for the mobile space and one for the PC space. Everyone who tried to unify the two spaces failed.


What no one has said is the money factor. The iStuff is now bringing in 2/3’s of the money and that is before we see the real impact of the iPad.

If the iPad starts to eat into Mac sales that could go to 3/4 of the money. (Please dont try to say the iPad is not eating into Mac sales, there is not enough data yet).

After 3 years iOS rules its market (iTouch, iPhone, iPad). After 20+ years 92% of computers run Windows. The Mac lost the battle.

What Apple would love is to milk the Mac until iOS devices, think iPad 3 or 4 have evolved enough that the Mac is not used anymore.

Imagine iPad 4.0 with some dual/quad core A5 that is still small but way more powerful, 512gig’s of space, that has a docking station with a 27inch LCD, keyboard and magic pad. At that point WHY would you need a Mac?

James Murphy

I think it’s looking highly likely that Apple will release a version of iOS to run alongside OS X. iOS on the Apple TV seems like a sure thing now, so iOS running on a Mac would be the next logical step.


I think that people seem to forget that iOS is OSX, just a simplified version of it, so while they are tweaked for two different types of environments, they are based on the same underlying code. It’s possible that Apple may incorporate more of the simplicity of iOS into Mac OSX for specific situations (for example maybe as a new version of the Simple Finder that can be set in Parental Controls), but it will never replace the Desktop version of OSX on Macs.


And Steve Jobs has never made contradictory statements before… ;)


How, if not with Mac OS X, would you develop iOS applications? Sorry, but I think this rumor, like most regarding Apple, is absurd.


Since iOS doesn’t support anything the Mac laptops/minis/pros bring to the table (ports, drives, monitors, etc., etc., etc.) nor would it benefit from doing so (it’s made for content consumption on the go after all), what would be the point?!?


Consider the source … Dan Lyons, who, as far as I can tell, is shill for Microsoft.


No way.

However, I can see changes made to OSX that are based on lessons learned from iOS. For example, we could see a version of OSX, or perhaps a mode of operation, that involves a lot more “protection” of the user (for example, no installation of apps that aren’t from an app store, no exposure to unix AT ALL, etc). But I don’t see that becoming the *only* version (or mode of operation). I’m sure that the full OS with and all will always be available to those who want/need it.

Alex Layne

Apple would never have two versions of OS X, though I agree that we’ll start seeing stuff from iOS being integrated into it.


Exactly. Why would people agree IOS on a Mac? OSX and IOS are completely different, starting with the way you experience it: touch. But on top of that IOS is mainly for smaller devices like iPhone, iPod and iPad. That brings to the next thing most people make a big deal about. Why they put IOS on the iPad?. I’m sure that in most Apple customers eyes it’s completely obvious. I never worried about Apple putting IOS on all they’re products. OSX belongs on a Mac and IOS belongs on an iPhone,iPod & iPad. There would be no sense in flipping OS for they’re products.

On top of all thats not what Apple is like.


I am not afraid of iOS taking over Mac OS. As another article on this site states, iOS NEEDS Mac OS (or Windows) in order to sync. It would be pointless to sync an iOS device to an iOS computer. Yes, I can IMAGINE it being done, but I just don’t see it happening. That said, I would openly WELCOME having iOS WITHIN Mac OS X. It would be nice to have a go at some of my apps when not on my iDevice.


Ever tried to develop an App on iOS? …right! And that’s only one of many reasons why these predictions are stupid.

Cold Water

iOS would make a good replacement for Dashboard. Without Deep Sleep, I don’t think I would even run it.

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