iOS + Mac OS X: Will Apple allow iOS apps to run on Macs?

“Pre iPad, it made little sense for Apple to even think of putting the iPhone OS on the Mac, since the apps were specifically designed for a small screen,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “But with the iPad, Apple is now building quite a repository of apps designed for a far bigger screen. It’s not hard to imagine apps designed for the iPad such as iWorks [sic] or Documents to Go working on a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Rather than being driven by a touchscreen, the OS would simply take commands via the keyboard and trackpad.”

“The iOS could be a dual boot OS on a Mac, but what would really integrate the iOS with Mac OS would be if iOS were also accessible via Mac OS. This leads to all sorts of possibilities,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Think this is far fetched? Maybe, but wasn’t the idea that Apple would make it possible for users to install Windows on their Macs also once far-fetched?”

Kingsley-Hughes writes, “I also doubt that it would cannibalize iPhone and iPad sales either, the addition of iOS on a Mac would be a value add to an existing platform, rather than a replacement for an iPhone or iPad.”

Full article here.


  1. Why? Because they changed the name?

    Seems to me if they intended to do that they could have a long time ago.

    If I could suddenly run the hundreds of thousands of apps available for iOS on my Mac, there’s be quite a bit less reason to purchase an iOS device.

  2. Considering an emulator is already built in to the dev tools, this should not be hard to do. The question is, does it make business sense to? I don’t see any major objection, one is already allowed to use a purchased app on multiple devices.

  3. This is quite a dumb idea. Who will want to dual boot or a touch interface on a keyboard/mouse environment. The much better idea would be an easy export option from native iOS Apps to HTML 5 / javasript Webclient Apps with the help/integration of SproutCore in XCode 4. Then adjust the interface to bigger desktop screens and enjoy all your programs and data on every modern browser including on all Windows machines. This would be huge and XCode will become the new center for software developement.

    1. I’ve got Snow Leopard on my MacBook. There are some programs I’d like, but they’re written only as iPhone or iPad apps. They have no Mac OS X equivalent. What do I do? Can I install iOS on a virtual machine using VirtualBox or Parallels?

  4. I’m with theloniousMac on this one.

    Steve Jobs clearly stated Apple’s view that putting an OS designed with a tiny interaction point requiring a stylus/mouse/keyboard onto a mobile device was a failure out of the gate. So they built the “Multi-Touch Interface” for the iPhone et al. Now we have Kingsley-Hughes positing that Apple should put a “Multi-Touch Interface” on hardware designed to be used with a stylus/mouse/keyboard. Many here might think it’s a good idea to try that. I’m betting a tightly focused Apple won’t take any time to consider it.

  5. I’ve always been a bit of a fan of “dual-screen” laptops, and I think adding a touchscreen instead of a keyboard & trackpad to MacBooks, etc., would allow iOS 4 apps to be used on a built-in iPad, essentially, and then when a Mac app is needed, the conventional screen would be used as the keyboard & trackpad. This idea has been floating around in my head for ages and you may have noticed mentions of this from other people and myself.

    Other benefits of a touchscreen keyboard/iPad app touchscreen would be a more accessible and adaptable keyboard which would be completely silent, media controls, power saving for the main screen, a very elegant design and a trackpad that Mac apps could adapt to unique uses, including a customised controller for games or industrial applications.

    I know this is similar to what the Nintendo DS and DSi do but they aren’t laptops or iOS devices and will never compete. Also, the form factor and usability would be vastly different.

  6. Ehh? I’ll have some of what he’s smoking! My MacBook Pro doesn’t have an accelerometer, it only has a drop sensor for the harddisk. I’d be mad to try to control a touch interface with my tiny trackpad. Talk about frustrating. The different OSs are designed around the different hardware capabilities and I’m happy for that to be so. I might just buy an iPad, but if and when do, I won’t expect it to replace all my keyboard tasks.

    Shesh, we all have brains – just don’t know why some people leave them switched off.

  7. This article is stupid, but only because it completely ignores the fact that iPad and iPhone apps are created on Macs! If they can run in simulation on a Mac for testing, there is absolutely no need to boot into another OS, or even use virtualization solutions. Just create a “yellow box” that the apps run in, or a special widgets layer in the OS.

    Are all bloggers this poorly informed about the topics they write about?

    I don’t know that it would have any effect on iOS device sales, but it would significantly increase app sales. There are several iPad apps that I would love to run on my MacBook Pro.

  8. Guys, you just don’t get it.

    iOS IS Apples new consumer computer line. They are going to start killing off the consumer level computers. By WWDC 2011, their line up will be iOS for their consumer level computers and OSX for their professional computers. Soon if you want a Mac, you’ll have to pay at least $2000 for it.

    If you can’t see that is where Apple is going, then you are blind.

  9. PocketRocket:

    Macbooks and MacBook Pros have had accellerometers (a.k.a. Sudden Motion Sensors) for years. There are several Mac applications out there that utilise them (BubbleGym, Carpenter’s Level widget, MacSaber, SkipChecker…).

    That doesn’t detract from the fact that you have a valid point regarding purpose of different OSs.

    We will have to wait just a little bit longer (perhaps next year), until Apple releases a 12-14″ iPad. That will be the turning point for the quality of apps, which will then precipitate transformation of the Mac line from OS X to iOS. Keyboards and mice will soon become optional accessories sold under build-to-order option. And I have no doubt, both Microsoft, as well as Adobe will grudgingly port their flagship Mac software over to the new multi-touch paradigm.

    In five years, most of us will ask ourselves how did we ever get anything done working with a mouse and keyboard.

  10. And no, Dallasm, I don’t think they’ll continue supporting OS X for too much longer. Mac Pros may be the last ones to give it up and migrate to iOS, but they will get there too. Apple has developed by far the most intuitive user interface paradigm in the history of computing. There is doubt that they will consolidate their entire hardware product line on the iOS. For Mac Pros, the Studio Display will become multi-touch. I’m also sure that very soon after the completion of that migration, third-party multi-touch monitors will begin to appear (for the Mini and the Pro).

    It lasted for almost three decades, but its life is very near its end. Mouse (and all its derivatives: trackball, trackpad, etc) as a pointing device has served its purpose in the history of computing.

    1. This man has obviously never seen a projector in a 3D design office, or a large lcd screen in a recording studio. Mouse is precision without the necessity of human error. OSX will never replace it with touch, they may supplement it but it will never be replaced.

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