This is a pure opinion/hope article. I would not take any credit of this idea as there are thousands of people in the past had already thought about what if Apple can have a OS that changes from iOS to OS-X on the fly. More recently with introduction of surface book, the idea surged back to me once again. Furthermore, zdnet today had such type of article talking about the future smart connect technology. Well I don’t think we need future smart connect technology.
What is a compromise of Surface Book?
Microsoft said “no compromise” and perhaps it may be relatively true statement when comes to 13 inch class laptop, but as a 2 in 1 device that many of us are waiting for, there is certainly a compromise on the tablet side. It’s rather a short battery life. Perhaps some may even say touch experience of windows 10 is not quite there to the level of iOS or Android. This is not because of the system level issue, but rather simply from lack of application support due to Windows developer can keep focusing on desktop type interface and touch interface may be just a secondary luxury.
What’s Apple’s belief?
They have consistently said tablet and laptop/desktop devices are separate entity and hence iOS and OS-X won’t merge as such will result in compromise of the best experience for each of those devices. Personally, I am not sure if I’d agree with such statement 100% but I can certainly see the point and as of the moment, it is a true statement.
Tablet device is strong for its portability, touch based application interface. Using iPad or perhaps Android Tablet in bed for reading comic or some articles sitting in couch like reading a book is unachievable experience with even the lightest Macbook, ultraportable windows laptop. This is because I can’t hold neither of them in one hand and hold top of my head in bed.
Surface Pro is also not for this purpose as it gets hot, and still heavy at over 1.5 lbs. Now Surface Book technically can provide this closest than ever as the clipboard is merely 1.6 lbs but comes back to battery life of 3 hours, and relative lack of touch centric application support make incomplete experience.
The opposite is also true. I can use bluetooth keyboard with iPad. In fact, I had Transformer Infinity ASUS Android tablet when it was originally released. Despite keyboard presence, the keyboard quality was never same as expensive laptop. The major issue comes back to Operating system. Touch friendly OS are too restrictive for what typical computer user wants to do. Even with new iOS split view, it is far from unlimited window/application running or perhaps as simple as having two microsoft word document side by side.
So yes. I agree with current technology and state of where big 3 (Apple, Google, Microsoft), there is no perfect 2 in 1 experience compared to focused iOS/Android + Windows/Mac OS-X approach.
Apple is perhaps closer than other two
Apple undoubtedly dominates the tablet market with iOS. OS-X is sort of personal preference of the individual. I still like Windows, and I really like Windows 10 especially compared to Windows 8.1. But OS-X is something I don’t mind. So Apple has two good OS for both.
Microsoft Surface Book has already shown a part. They had discrete GPU in the keyboard and connect to the monitor which is actual PC. Smart Connector is a new connecting interface introduced for iPad Pro so it can attached to its propriety keyboard so no connecting each time like in bluetooth device. Article by zdnet had idea of what if next generation of Smart Connector is capable of sending video output. As far as I know, I don’t think anyone knows other than Logitech who already made a keyboard that uses interface what potential the connector has, and perhaps it may already have such power. Remember lightening cable does have some video output ability as Duet Display shows its potential.
But we may not even need to rely on such technology or invention. There is what’s called WiGig. It is a short distance wireless connection technology that allows video output connection without a lag. In Skylake, this is one of the emphasis along with other wireless technology such as wireless charge. So all they need is to have a Wigig receiver or perhaps even Apple TV receiver on the iPad and build a Mac laptop base that’s capable of transmitting video output wireless, again WiGig protocol perhaps may be utilized with the use of Skylake. With this, we can now have full iPad with full OS-X. Since rebooting iPad takes a while and one of the advantage of tablet device is instant power on, I prefer here we just switch iPad into some listening application where it becomes monitor but iOS is technically still running. The weight here is no more than iPad + Macbook (base). You can imagine the potential combination provides large flexiblity. One can use iPad mini as monitor with very light keyboard with Macbook class internal or iPad Pro as monitor with Macbook Pro dedicated GPU class keyboard.
Perhaps I may confuse some reader here. How is above different from Surface Book.
The key difference is tablet part is truly a full blown tablet with dedicated OS and full battery life without a compromise. Laptop portion is also a full laptop as it has every laptop component and only thing missing is screen, which it uses iPad but that screen is already gorgeous anyways i.e. no compromise.
Technologically, each year power consumption and performance of CPU are improving so Surface Clipboard soon have the full tablet battery life and weight, but it will probably take couple more generation at least. Then what Microsoft in addition need to build is a full touch friendly environment. With a popularity of the Windows, I thought this was easy task to achieve when original Surface series was introduced, and Microsoft really tried to push this by making Windows 8 touch emphasized interface. But even such attempt, it did not take off. So this may be a biggest hurdle for Microsoft. Unless Windows phone sells so well to the point developers feel obligated to support that interface, it will take a while to have the ecosystem build up.
Google unfortunately doesn’t have good desktop/laptop OS period. So Apple is actually the one that has the biggest advantage here if they do it right.
Whether through Wireless video output, through smart connector or other unimaginable way, I hope Apple to release true 2 in 1 device while keeping their motto of leaving iOS and OS-X separate because I personally believe it is necessary to have them separate until someone can make a magical OS. So I hope introduction of device like Surface Book made Apple to seriously consider this option as I am sure they have already device like this running in their lab.
What’s your dream device?