The Eco System War is still raging on and will continue too for many years to come. Even one of Samsung’s senior directors recently referred to Apple’s eco system as ‘sticky’. The way that the devices and software work together are what keeps him using Apple devices for his personal life.
My break down of the major eco systems can be found here and will give a good grounding in what’s coming up in this article.
When it comes to a unified experience, Apple and Microsoft lead the way. Google are hopelessly lost in this regard. The consistency between platforms ( Windows 8 + Windows Phone and OS X + iOS) means that users have interchangeable skills and knowledge between the mobile and desktop devices.
With these companies building the foundations, the next steps of convergence are required and I think I have spotted what will be Apples next move. To create a unified Apple OS experience, they introduced gesture based navigation and actions in OS X with the magic track pads. They can take the same amount of inputs as an iOS screen and many of the things people got used to doing on those screens translated well to the desktops.
Next they introduced an App Store. A walled garden (or Crystal Prison as I read somewhere on the web) environment for purchasing software for your desktop in the same manner people had been for years on their iOS devices. At the same time, Apple enabled these applications the ability to operate in a full screen mode, just like iOS.
Then came the Launch Pad view for applications installed on a computer, just like a home screen. Most recently has come the voice input from the iOS devices and the Notification Centre.
So where next? How does Apple merge the application divide between it’s operating systems? Like this!
Allow iOS apps to run on OS X.
Sounds simple! That’s because it is. It is also some what obvious when you consider the following points:
- iOS and OS X share a core. iPhone OS as it used to be called, was heralded as being a version of OS X rather than a dedicated mobile OS.
- The last few versions of OS X have been able to run iOS apps, as that’s where they are made. The vast majority of iOS apps are made on a Mac, using Xcode which has a built in iOS emulator. Well, it wouldn’t be too far of a step to incorporate this emulation in to the computer at OS level.
As a user there’s some exciting benefits:
- You have access to all of your iOS apps on your Mac through iTunes. You have access to all of your OS X apps on your Mac through the Mac App Store. Both sets of apps are bought using the same Apple ID (in most cases) thus merging the stores would give one giant App Store.
- iCloud already syncs some information. It could seamlessly sync all of your app’s data across all devices.
- Developers can bring their iOS apps straight up to desktop, as they already have retina graphics in them.
- This would open up new features for developers to create even better apps.
- An application could be used on two different devices simultaneously, to enhance the performance and usability. Just like Photoshop and Photoshop Touch and Keynote already do.
How could this get even better?
Apple have a number of patents associated to ‘travelling identities’ where a device like an iPhone can be placed near a Mac and the owner of the iPhone can log in to that Mac as if it were their own home computer. With completely cross platform apps, iCloud syncing and iTunes Match, you could take your Mac with you and use it anywhere!
Everything above here could be done in Windows 8 if Microsoft scrapped Windows 8 RT and just use Windows Phone in their low end tablets. That would be even better as that would enable the ability to add Xbox to the service as well.