Apple is clear: they won’t bring iPadOS and macOS together. Craig Federighi said so in a WWDC pass with three-meter-tall letters. This does not mean, however, that there is no symbiosis between the two operating systems which increases each time. We’ve seen it in the macOS Big Sur design language and we can see at WWDC21 with the arrival of certain functions on iPadOS and features until today only typical of the Mac.
Borrowed functions more than a total symbiosis
There are many features of the Mac that could make the jump to the iPad and vice versa. It is important to be clear that in this article we are making assumptions. Some of them backed up by rumors we’ve seen in recent months, but assumptions after all. The truth is, for years we have seen greater convergence between iPadOS and macOS, which maintains the independence of the two systems, but harmonizes them in certain workflows and capabilities.
A major turning point in this approach between the Mac and the iPad has been the deployment of iOS in iOS and iPadOS. The truth is that the two systems are now very intertwined, but the differentiation goes beyond the name. From mouse support to Thunderbolt compatibility which now comes thanks to the M1 of the new iPad Pro (2021). The proof that this was an important turning point can be found in the Catalyst framework, which allows adapt iPad applications, not the iPhone, al Mac.
Now that macOS has the same numbers as iOS, does it make sense that they still have place names?
It could just be “macOS 12”, next year’s macOS 13, etc.
I imagine Craig making a joke on the marketing team to announce the change. pic.twitter.com/MHmEkY7KOr
– David Bernal Raspall (@ david_br8) May 6, 2021
Following this line, one wonders what features could continue to flow from Mac to iPad to make the latter a more versatile tool. One option, for example, is the arrival of App preview on iPad. I’m not sure if as a dedicated app it would make a lot of sense or if it could be integrated with the Files app, what I do know is that we are dealing with more and more PDF documents and something as simple as rearranging a page or rotating the orientation requires third-party applications.
Another feature that, without a doubt, would be welcome on the iPad is the possibility of using external screens like extended screens. Something that has been present in Macs for years and would greatly extend the versatility of the iPad in certain tasks.
Finder, I mean Files, could actually be renamed Finder. An app that could also take advantage of some additional Mac details beyond the preview we mentioned. From the ability to format external storage, to a process indicator for when we copy or move files, to the ability to rename multiple files at once
The possibility of making a iPad offline backup, using something similar to Time Machine, it would also be a feature that many 1TB iPad users might appreciate. Here I personally think the path will be the exact opposite, the Mac will receive backup copies in iCloud, but definitely offering a local option would be a good idea.
Another point of interest, although it seems like a minor detail, is the ability to manage certificates and more items in the keychain. The Keychain Access application on Mac could bring new features to the iPad. We use more and more certificates, for example to do business with treasury and other agencies, their secure sync via iCloud and minimal management (adding and removing certificates) on the iPad would be welcome.
And the list of “loans” from Mac to iPad could follow on several other points. The important thing here, what I wanted to reflect with this article beyond this wish list, is that it is not necessary to put the two systems together to enjoy more services and options. . Actually, I don’t see anything clear that macOS and iPadOS are merging, it wouldn’t be a good OS for the Mac or a good OS for the iPad. What I see and hope is that in this next WWDC we will see more Macs on the iPad.