The Case For The Touchscreen Mac

Next week, Apple will be running its annual developer shindig, the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). This is the event we get to see the next versions of Apple’s operating systems.

Apple now has four distinct hardware platforms, each running its own OS. Traditional computers get macOS, phones and tablets get iOS, watches get watchOS and tvOS looks after the company’s set-top box hobby. But what if this year’s WWDC is the start of a consolidation, with iOS and macOS pulling back together?

When the first iPhone was released, its software was a new set of modifications to the Darwin Unix distribution that OS X (later renamed macOS) came from. In that sense, iOS is really a fork from macOS. The two computing platforms share a common foundation.

This week, according to French site Consomac, Apple registered some new product numbers that fit into the Mac and iPad product lines. apple is usually very coy about making announcements or commenting on unreleased products (their “Apple doesn’t comment…” response to media is well known). But given the success of 2-in-1 computers with business and consumer users, and how Windows 10 has filled the breach between tablet and traditional computer devices, it would not be surprising to see Apple push back into that space.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen both macOS and iOS lose some of their 3D styling with buttons, window design and other UI elements becoming flatter. macOS also has Launchpad, which looks a lot like an iOS home-screen lending further support to the potential for a touchscreen Mac.

Whether that starts with portable of desktop systems is anyone’s guess. The Surface Studio is a sensational device and I’m sure there are a few designers in Cupertino smarting over how Microsoft has kicked their arses with that design.

My gut feeling is Apple is going to release a new platform next week, one that brings touchscreen capability to macOS. What do you think?

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