DESKTOP VS MOBILE: UPCOMING INNOVATIONS CHANGE THE GAME
UPCOMING INNOVATIONS CHANGE THE GAME
Over the past decade, Apple has revolutionized personal technology with the iphone and ipad, but the Mac range has seen stunted growth as a result. As the giant pivots towards its personal computing arm once more with the launch of the M1 chip, it’s time to prepare for innovations that could change the way you work for years to come.
CHANGING TIMES FOR THE MAC
For the fiscal year that ended September 26, 2020, Apple posted a net profit of $57.4 billion on revenue of $274.5 billion, meaning the company managed to maintain an average sales growth of 23 percent over almost two decades. Fueled by the launch and success of the iphone as well as the ipad and more recently Apple Watch, the company has taken a major change in direction in recent years as it chases even greater growth and revenues. From the launch of services such as Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade to new ventures into speakers with the Homepod mini and the upcoming tracking device Airtags, Apple is a company virtually unrecognizable from its heyday with the Macintosh. That’s not to say that the Mac has been abandoned altogether - the firm has rolled out a number of changes to its flagship models over the past ten years, including the launch of the short-lived device the imac Pro, and the introduction of the stunning Pro Display XDR to offer a professional high-end PC experience.
And though Apple’s Mac range has continued to grow in popularity as consumers move away from Windows PCS, few could argue that Apple has paid its computing range dust in recent times. From controversial decisions like the
Touch Bar on the Macbook Pro to the removal of the Magsafe charging port, the introduction of new dongles and adaptors to access basic peripherals, and even the discontinuation of popular models like the Macbook, Apple has failed to connect with professional users or the average consumer market, offering a substandard PC range that simply fails to meet the needs of today’s users. For a long time, the company redirected almost all of its attention and energy into mobile, from the ipad and ipad to Apple Watch, and helped to dominate the landscape, but its desktop-class on the other hand has seen much less innovation. imac, for example, has not received a significant external update in almost a decade, and its last was only to slim down the bezels and reduce the thickness of the all-in-one PC. And though the Mac Pro has been updated in recent years, its technology is prohibitively expensive for many, and it’s soon to become redundant as Apple rolls out its new custom silicon chips, known as M1. That’s where things should change. Keen to maximize growth in revenue in every product sector, Apple appears to have a renewed sense of energy and focus for the desktop Mac range, and this year has promised to overhaul the lot. As well as discontinuing the imac Pro and letting the rest of the imac range sell out ahead of a revamp, the company is reportedly working on an all-new Mac Pro and a more affordable
Pro Display XDR to offer a premium desktop experience, without the near-$10,000 price tag. When Apple launched the ‘Darth Vader cylinder’ style Mac Pro back in 2013, professional users were excited, but soon discovered that the machine was almost impossible to customize
or upgrade. The new Mac Pro, released in 2019, returned to a tower form factor reminiscent of the first-generation model, but with larger air cooling holes, and offers a greater level of flexibility and customization. When the next iteration drops, it will likely be superpowered with M1.
According to reliable Apple leaker L0vetodream, the new 2021 imac will feature a display that’s “really big, bigger than the biggest one” - bear in mind that the current largest imac is 27 inches, and we could be looking at a new model that’s at least 32 inches (typically the next size up for monitors). This would fall in line with previous reports Apple was working on a design reminiscent of Apple’s sleek Pro Display XDR, and offer consumers a new choice. Apple is also reportedly working on a new imac range that would introduce color options, reminiscent of the original plastic imac to capitalize on nostalgia for the original imac, which came in a selection of iconic colors such as lime, strawberry, blueberry, grape, and tangerine. When the new machine is combined with the power of an M1X chip, it could help the imac become the ultimate desktop device for both creatives and everyday users.
Jon Prosser, who has a proven track record when it comes to Apple releases and product launches, has also suggested that the new Mac Pro will feature a design similar to “three to four Mac minis stacked on top of each other,” Internally, he added that the new Mac Pro will be designed with the “compute unit on the bottom” and a “big heat sink on top.” This report backs up a Bloomberg news article that suggested Apple plans to launch the new, smaller Mac Pro
with Apple Silicon by the end of 2022, but they added it could come this year, too.
CHOOSING BETWEEN MOBILE AND DESKTOP
Until Apple can develop new state-of-the-art desktop experiences that appeal to everyday and professional users, most have to settle between a combination of the two. ipados continues to excel in its field, offering cuttingedge touchscreen capabilities that make it easier than ever to express yourself, customize artwork, and access the latest and greatest technology from some of the world’s biggest developers. Combined with the power of AR, which Apple is increasingly keen to exploit, and it’s clear that an ipad is now an essential tool in any professionals’ arsenal. And when you add in the power of the Apple Pencil and indeed Apple’s new floating Magic Keyboard for ipad Air, allowing users to convert their ipad Pro and ipad Air into a Macbook-esque device, there’s now no need for an Apple laptop. Add in the fact that you can use Sidecar to use an ipad as a second imac display, and you’ll soon have the ultimate desktop experience with the added benefit of the ipad’s portability.
Of course, the above assumes that you’re comfortable switching from one piece of software to another, and back again. Although Apple has made great improvements in compatibility with the launch of Project Catalyst, it’s still difficult to find professional software that works on both macos and ipados seamlessly, and therefore many consumers rely on separate IOS and macos software. Apple’s M1 chip hopes to address this. Thanks to the introduction of
Arm-based processors, now common for both mobile and desktop devices, it’s now possible to now run IOS apps on Macs natively, making these apps truly universal. The truth is that there’s still work involved for developers, but it’s often possible for them to press a button and suddenly have their app available on macos as well as ipados and IOS, and the number of developers doing so will continue to rise as the Mac line-up grows in popularity.
It’s also important to note that macos and IOS are already deeply integrated, and there are lots of ways that you can utilize both platforms to your benefit to make life much easier. For example, the Universal Clipboard feature allows you to copy content from your ipad and paste it onto your Mac, and you can resume tasks using Hand-off. For example, you can start typing a note in Notes on your iphone and finish it within Notes on your Mac. Airdrop continues to perform as one of the most convenient file management and file transfer features, and you can also turn your Mac’s internet connection into a Wi-fi hotspot. First, head to System Preferences > Sharing and enable the checkbox for Internet Sharing. Then click on the Start button at the confirmation prompt, and it’s also possible to use your iphone’s internet connection on your Mac. If you enable icloud sync for Safari on your Mac and iphone, you can close tabs open on one device from the other, and you can unlock your Mac using your Apple Watch for uber convenience. If an iphone app you’re typing into has a Mac version and supports icloud sync, anything you type into the app on your desktop shows up in the mobile version soon and viceversa, and for those working from home, you can
receive and make both cellular and Facetime calls on your iphone from your Mac. The above are just a few of the many macos and IOS integrations, and with new releases every year, we’ll see even more convenient, time-saving features and functionality in the months and years ahead.
With WWDC 2021 just around the corner, we’ll soon get to see what the future holds for macos, ipados, and tvos, and based on rumors, we may even get a sneak peek of the next range of Macs to be given the M1 treatment. This year is set to become one of the biggest for the Mac, with Apple revolutionizing the way we work with allnew desktop and portable computers that give us control and help us achieve even more.