Imag­in­ing fu­ture iOS de­vices

Soon iOS will be ev­ery­where from your watch to your key­board to AR glasses and a car. Ja­son Snell re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

What is now known as iOS first de­buted as iPhone Soft­ware 1.0 al­most 10 years ago. Given how huge the iPhone has be­come over the past decade, it’s pretty fun to go back to the way Ap­ple ex­plained the soft­ware that drove the iPhone way back then.

“It runs Mac OS X,” our col­leagues at Mac­world wrote. Ap­ple was show­ing that the iPhone was a real com­puter at its core, with the same un­der­pin­nings that ran the Mac. Of course, we

know now that Ap­ple’s two pri­mary op­er­at­ing sys­tems are pretty dif­fer­ent, though they share a com­mon core.

In the in­ter­ven­ing years, iOS – as it was re­named when it be­came clear that this plat­form was go­ing to ex­tend be­yond the iPhone – has grown and ex­panded. If we de­fine the iOS fam­ily broadly, Ap­ple cur­rently sells five dif­fer­ent classes of de­vice with iOS in­side: iPhones (and the iPod touch), iPads, the fourth-gen­er­a­tion Ap­ple TV (tvOS is a vari­ant of iOS), Ap­ple Watch (watchOS, like­wise), and MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (the soft­ware that runs the Touch Bar is de­rived from iOS and watchOS).

It got us think­ing. What will Ap­ple’s next de­vices be that run iOS, or a deriva­tion thereof?

Com­ing soon

Ru­mours abound that a new 10.5in iPad Pro is on the hori­zon. We as­sume this is the iOS de­vice that is clos­est to re­al­ity. Let’s also grant the ex­is­tence of an Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3 this year or next. Those are the easy ones.

We’ve been ad­vo­cat­ing for a Siri Speaker for some time now, and there are ru­mours that Ap­ple is work­ing on an Ama­zon Echo-style de­vice that would be con­trolled by voice us­ing Siri, play mu­sic and pod­casts, and per­haps even serve as a HomeKit hub. Such a de­vice would al­most cer­tainly run a de­riv­a­tive of iOS, just as the Ap­ple TV does.

We also want to be­lieve that Ap­ple will make a Magic Key­board with Touch Bar. If you’ve got a Touch Bar, you’ve got a de­vice with an Ap­ple-de­signed ARM pro­ces­sor and a vari­ant of watchOS, just like on the cur­rent MacBook Pro.

It’s not com­ing in the next year, but even­tu­ally there will have to be a MacBook with Touch Bar, be­cause Ap­ple will want to ex­tend the Touch Bar across the en­tire lap­top line. Still, that’s go­ing to take some time. Touch Bars aren’t cheap. Is it pos­si­ble that the MacBook would gain a Touch ID sen­sor, but no Touch Bar? If Ap­ple deems the Touch Bar a suc­cess, it’s hard to imag­ine it not even­tu­ally go­ing ev­ery­where.

Com­ing later

Now we en­ter the realms of wilder spec­u­la­tion. We’ve got to think that a set of next-gen­er­a­tion AirPods will add to their ex­ist­ing in­tel­li­gence by in­te­grat­ing touch con­trols, net­work con­nec­tiv­ity, and Siri con­trol – without the need of at­tach­ing to a sep­a­rate de­vice.

Tim Cook has spo­ken sev­eral times that aug­mented re­al­ity is an area of in­ter­est for Ap­ple. It’s pos­si­ble that Ap­ple AR glasses would need to be teth­ered to an iPhone or other de­vice, but our gut feel­ing is that Ap­ple would pre­fer such a de­vice

to stand alone as much as pos­si­ble, just as the Ap­ple Watch and AirPods as­pire to do.

Where does stan­dard iOS go from here? First, we wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a larger iPad for artists, per­haps a 15in iPad Pro, be­cause there’s al­ways some­one out there who wants more screen real es­tate. But at some point, the screen size in­creases so much that the de­vice be­comes im­pos­si­ble to hold without sup­port.

That’s when the iPad goes to the desk­top with the iPad Stu­dio line. This would be a se­ries of iOS-driven de­vices op­ti­mized for sta­tion­ary use, at large sizes. 24 inches may be the sweet spot, but there could be 17- or 27in mod­els, too. This prod­uct would let peo­ple who can do real work on iOS do real work at the rev­o­lu­tion­ary lo­ca­tion of a desk.

We’d imag­ine an iPad Stu­dio would fea­ture some in­ter­est­ing er­gonomic fea­tures to let peo­ple po­si­tion it in any num­ber of ori­en­ta­tions, from con­ven­tional to un­con­ven­tional, just like Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Stu­dio. We ad­mit, we’re try­ing to imag­ine an iPad that doesn’t need a bat­tery and doesn’t need to keep all of its in­tel­li­gence right be­hind the screen – Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Stu­dio keeps its brains in its base. It’s a big leap, but we do think that it’s in­evitable. If iOS is go­ing to be a plat­form for se­ri­ous work, even­tu­ally iOS is go­ing to need a de­vice that fits com­fort­ably on a desk and of­fers a large amount of screen space.

And then there’s the Ap­ple Car, or at least the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in­side of it. How could an Ap­ple Car not run a vari­ant of iOS some­where? It’s al­most as in­con­ceiv­able as the idea that Ap­ple would make a car at all.

We have to as­sume the Touch Bar is go­ing places

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.