Monday, March 16, 2015

"iPad Pro" rumored to run Mac App Store apps

According to reliable sources, Apple is testing "iPad Pro" with apps in the Mac App Store. Yes, you read that right – “Mac App Store”. As early as February 2012, a paper released by the Delft University of Technology in Holland indicates that Apple is testing laptops with Mac OS X running on ARM based hardware. Traditionally since 2005, Apple's Mac OS X runs on Intel based hardware. A source close to Apple revealed that Apple actually does not plan to run Mac OS X on ARM. Instead Apple is testing a special version of iOS running on a MacBook based on ARM chips. This special version of iOS is customized and setup to test apps developed for the Mac App Store, to determine whether it is feasible to run Mac App Store apps on an iPad.

The question is how can a touch device run apps that require a mouse and a keyboard. Recent leaks has claimed that the "iPad Pro" is rumored to come with a keyboard and a mouse. The main aim is to increase productivity of mobile tablets and target business and enterprise users. The enterprise sector is an area where iPad can greatly benefit to further grow its market share. Potentially, "iPad Pro" can allow at least 25,000 apps (estimation as of July 2014) in Mac App Store to be used with a mouse and keyboard. This will definitely make "iPad Pro” an extremely productive mobile device from day one.

This revolutionary move from Apple will greatly increase the interest of developers targeting the Mac App Store again as they can deploy on more devices. The growth of the Mac App Store ecosystem will in turn drive more sales of Mac OS X/"iPad Pro" devices. Apple will also, yet again, be the first company to introduce a REAL PRODUCTIVE mobile device.

From a strategic point of view, the rumor is credible. Microsoft is leveraging its Windows Desktop (Windows 8 Store) in the Tablet and Mobile market. In Windows 10, developers will be able to use the same code base with changes on the user interface for Desktop and Mobile devices. Apple come from the reverse direction and will instead leverage its iOS in the Desktop market. The further growth for iPad will be bridging the gap of mobile and desktop devices.

From a technical perspective, Apple will need to release an update of Xcode (Apple’s developer tool) and offer Mac App Store developers a compilation option to ARM devices. Most, if not all, of the Mac App Store developers will only need to recompile their apps and resubmit their apps to the app store without changes to their applications. This is similar to Microsoft's Visual Studio ability to compile to specific platforms such as x86, x64 and/or ARM. It has also been rumored that Apple has been testing with many of its own internal Mac App Store apps such as Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Logic Pro X, iBooks Author and Final Cut Pro X on the “iPad Pro”.

There will definitely be people who argued that this is something Apple will never do. On April 24 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked by an analyst from Sanford Bernstein on whether Apple would come up with some kind of tablet-laptop hybrid, so consumers would only need to carry one device. Tim Cook's reply is "You can merge a toaster and a refrigerator, but that's probably not going to be pleasing to anyone."

But Apple is also famous for saying that they will never do something until they did it. On October 2010, Steve Job discussed his disdain for a new wave of smaller tablets coming to market. He said iPad’s 10-inch screen was “the minimum size required to create great tablet apps”. The release of iPad mini served as a reminder that Apple is never afraid to do something that they initially said they would never do.

From the far end of the stage, I can now hear “One more thing! The iPad runs Mac App Store apps”.

(on behalf of a reliable source)

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