Will Apple’s tablet run both Mac OS X and iPhone OS apps?

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac “With all the crystal-ball-watching over the seemingly imminent Apple tablet, one issue hotly debated around the CNET offices, but infrequently mentioned elsewhere, is the hypothetical device’s status as a mobile computer,” Dan Ackerman writes for CNET.

“There are two schools of thought on this: either the Apple tablet (or iSlate, or whatever it ends up being called) will be a 10-or-so-inch tablet PC with a full Mac OS X operating system; or it will merely be a larger-screen version of the current iPod Touch, which has a closed, limited phone-like OS,” Ackerman writes.

“The former would mean it could very likely run any software you’d run on a MacBook, from Firefox to Photoshop, and maybe even install Windows 7 via Boot Camp or Parallels,” Ackerman writes. “The later points to a hermetically sealed ecosystem, where apps would have to be approved and sold through an official app store (as in iTunes).”

“While the recent rumors all seem to point towards a device without a full PC-style operating system, the purported 10-inch screen of the Apple tablet may create a different set of psychological expectations from consumers,” Ackerman writes. “Would a 10-inch device without that added flexibility feel unduly crippled or underpowered? Is an OSX-powered tablet the right way for Apple to go?”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]


  1. I’d guess (and like everyone else, I know no more than what I’ve read) that it will be a coffee table type device. Similar to the iPhone (and Touch), able to run iPhone apps, hopefully somewhat better than an iPhone for reading, capable of web browsing, and capable of controlling your AppleTV and/or your media computer. With logmein, MobileMe and other similar apps it could access your desktop computer’s desktop for extended home ‘cloud’ computing, and also use your home computer as a media server (thus not having to carry around your whole library).

    There hasn’t been much focus on using your home computer as the ‘cloud’ for your mobile computing, but that’s a direction we’ll logically head as the cellphone networks continue to improve (as well as the more traditional cloud computing concept).

    I would expect basic computer functions (word processing, say), but not heavy-duty stuff like iMovie. With the time interval since the previous iLife and iWork updates (and the relative paucity of new features demanded for those apps) there’s a good chance that the new versions will have tablet compatibility or down-scaling capability.

    Probably will leverage the new funcionalities of MobileMe, as well.

    mini USB ports, miniDisplayPort, touch screen, NO DVD drive, and no Firewire, of course. This is not a replacement for anything you already own (or need to own). It is just an enhancement and niche product. It would not be very helpful as the only computing device you’d own. I think it may use a cellphone data plan as well as wifi, but not necessarily have cell phone talk capability.

  2. @ Nick Mac

    And that would be fun, how?

    Then don’t come on a site like this. There’s nothing wrong with some friendly speculating among friends. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  3. This speculation is absurd. Why would this thing run normal desktop apps? Regular Mac OS X is *not* designed for a touch interface. Look at how tiny the mouse click points are in apps like Photoshop. There’s is no way a big fat finger is going to click on those!

    Get real, folks. There are only two choices here:

    1) It’s not a touch-based device, it’s more like a tablet-based MacBook.

    1) It’s a touch-based device like a larger iPod touch.

    That’s it, one or the other. A hybrid device would be a non-starter for Apple. Too confusing, too difficult to use, and the tablet hardware too limited for desktop app use.

    Besides, what would this tablet be used for? It would be used as a netbook: we’re talking email, web browsing, movie watching, etc. The most “desktop”-like app used would be some light word processing.

    I predict this thing will *only* run OS X mobile apps (i.e. App Store apps) but those apps will become more powerful than currently available for iPod or iPhone. They’ll take advantage of the new hardware and larger screen real estate to give us new capabilities (like a Photoshop Mobile app).

    There is no way in hell Apple will allow this thing to run regular Mac desktop apps. (Though perhaps it could be hacked, just like AppleTVs are hacked to run other apps.)

  4. Maybe there are really two devices being prepped.

    One is the 7″ iSlate with just the touch GUI over OS X with apps delivered via the App Store. It would have a preinstalled iSlate version of iWork. It would use PA Semi designed ARM chips and cost would be in the $599-799 range.

    The other is a 10″ MacBook Touch, which would be a MacBook Air sibling without a keyboard and with the additional touch GUI. Since it has the touch GUI, it can run all the App Store apps as well as Mac apps. It would use Intel Core Duos and cost over $1000.

  5. several of them. why would they cut into that market with a full Mac OS tablet.

    what they are missing is a better ipod touch. many apps would do well with a bigger screen, reading emails and web browsing would be better on a larger than 3 by 2 screen, reading ebooks would be easier etc.

    a 7 inch screen (remember they measure on the diagonal) is roughly an old school mass market paperback and a 10 inch is a trade paperback. that larger size is basically a Kindle/Nook and they are selling well. add in Apple’s refined battery tech and all the features of an ipod touch and folks will buy it.

  6. I’m not sure why people think it’s one or the other? Apple is not in the habit of gluing interfaces designed for one type of device onto a completely different device. The iPod, AppleTV, Mac, and iPhone all have interfaces specifically designed for each need and each type of device.

    The tablet will be ARM-based, probably multiple core, which means it will definitely not run current Mac applications. I believe it will have an iPhone layer for running iPhone apps, but will have its own unique interface outside of that and its own app store, separate from the iPhone AppStore.

    It will generally be gesture, finger-based input, but will also support a real stylus as well as have hand-writing recognition.

  7. It better be more than just a larger iPod touch/iPhone. I already have an iPhone. The larger screen wouldn’t be much of a draw in that case, especially if the price is in the 600 to 1,000 range. And if it’s mostly geared toward a media viewing device, that, too, wouldn’t be much of a draw since I already have an iMac for that. The mobility aspect of it isn’t enough to want it since, as noted, I already have an iPhone and I have no desire to carry around two devices that do the same thing. It has to provide value and function I don’t already have.

  8. Mark is on the right track, though I have a slightly different take:
    10″ runs productivity apps such as a slimmed down iWork
    7″ is basically a larger iPod Touch, with a few additions
    Both download their apps through the App Store

  9. Personally I would like to see a tablet with iPhone built in that uses an earpiece for connectivity. The tablet would run Snow Leopard (or a lite version) and be fully iPhone capable. Actually, I do not understand why cellphone capability has not been integrated into notebooks. Juggling two pieces of gear is a nuisance.

  10. the OS on the iPhone is not that different from Leopard, it’s not that hard to make a version of mac os that runs both type of apps, it’s just a matter of recompiling them (either the iPhone apps, or mac apps, depending on the processor used)

    the iPhone OS is not a different OS, it is Mac OS with some additional, and missing frameworks.

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