When Apple announced their new iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the one that also powers the newer Macbooks, Mac Mini, and the recently announced new iMacs, everyone though that the iPad Pro was gonna get some sort of MacOS treatment, but it wasn’t.
Some outlets already have shared some articles about why no MacOS feels like a disappointment, and how awesome would be the idea considering the core internals are the same.
The problem it’s not that MacOS is not prepared for a touch-screen-first device, since everything at hardware else seems ready to receive it, but rather the economics of it.
Protecting the cash cow
One of the things that iPadOS that Apple won’t concede one single inch it’s the App Store. As of today, MacOS is still a core foundation for software both casual and professional, so there is mostly a need to keep MacOS working, so it’s not that Apple can just switch off MacOS, or simply ditch the “liberty” to install any software on your Mac and force developers and publishers to strictly use the App Store. Consider the proportions of the outrage if Apple applied this hard lockdown, and the amount of software lost.
What everyone often forgets is that the App Store generate billions in revenue, which is both for iPad and iPhone apps. The ecosystem is very strong, and adding MacOS to the iPad will weaking this market dominance. If you want software installed in the iPad, you go through the App Store, and you pay the Apple Tax.
Another thing missing out from many articles is that the iPad is the only tablet in the market that has been a broad success since its inception, and unrivaled from it’s announcement a decade ago. It was the final nail in the coffin for netbooks, and even Ultrabooks — mainly an Intel response for the Macbook Air and the iPad — pale in market share.
The only comparable product that could replace the iPad Pro is the base Macbook Air, which uses the same chip, but feels tailored to people who needs MacOS and can’t work on the iPad Pro because it lacks the software or the features.
There is no real challenge for the iPad still, so Apple has no reason to loose the grip on its tablet control. Adding MacOS would be a sign of failure and compromise, and would only come to the iPad or iPad Pro if another tablet comes to the market and kills it by features and price.
Seeing how Apple have done to the their tablets in terms of power, efficiency, longevity and value, and how Macbooks are still alive and kicking, MacOS on the iPad may never come.