Apple’s going to bring iOS to the Mac

Never mind inventing a slightly shinier battery charger: Apple’s got big plans. I think they include giving Macs the iOS operating system, or something awfully like it.

It’s not just the Mac, either. I’m willing to bet that it’s coming to the Apple TV, too.

Apps would make Steve Jobs’ hobby much more appealing, and it would mean that all of Apple’s consumer products – iPod, iPhone, iMac, iPad and Apple TV – would share the same interface, the same apps and the same data.

14 thoughts on “Apple’s going to bring iOS to the Mac

  1. Squander Two says:

    More seriously, this could be really good. Something with a totally intuitive front-end but the OSX back-end could be incredible — especially if they keep the Unix terminals, which I think they’d have to to keep the techy crowd they’ve won over of late.

    I noticed your idiot commenter on Techradar complaining about the stupid masses who are too thick to learn how to use their computers. I spent much of yesterday cleaning up my in-laws’ laptop, which had got some trojans. They started getting loads of virus warnings the other day, so my brother-in-law clicked on the warnings and went and installed the recommended anti-virus software. Now, cynical bastards like us who spend too much time on the Web might be suspicious that the virus warnings themselves were a virus and the AV software is a scam, and we’d be right, but what he did wasn’t essentially stupid; it was, on the contrary, an entirely reasonable and sensible thing to do for anyone who doesn’t waste their time on learning about computers — which inevitably involves spending rather a lot of time learning about just how many bastards out there want to use your computer to screw you. So I was sitting there thinking that, for all that it pisses devs off to have to jump through Apple’s capricious app approval process, Apple have essentially got it right: if there’s nothing that will run on IOS that Apple themselves haven’t checked, then users will have to spend not a single second of their lives learning about malware. Which is exactly as it should be. My brother-in-law is a bloody good mechanic. If he spent the necessary amount of time learning about computers, he’d have no time left over to learn about cars, and then who’d fix my car? Computers are the only devices that do this, that insist that you know loads about them before you can use them well and safely. And the problem is that most of the industry is run by geeks who think that’s a feature, not a bug.

    I saw a few weeks ago people taking the piss out of Paypal for claiming that one of their own genuine emails was a phishing scam, but, really, who can blame them?

    I increasingly hate computers.

  2. Gary says:

    > I noticed your idiot commenter on Techradar complaining about the stupid masses who are too thick to learn how to use their computers

    You should have seen the first draft of my reply. It hit every single word in Techradar’s swear filter. That attitude *really* fucking annoys me.

    > if there’s nothing that will run on IOS that Apple themselves haven’t checked, then users will have to spend not a single second of their lives learning about malware.

    Yes, that’s true. I think the problem is that certain people – the cory doctorows for example – believe that the only freedom that matters with tech is the freedom to tinker. Whereas many people believe that the freedom to do what you want without having to learn how to use a fucking machine is just as important, if not more so. I think it’s good that Apple apparently can’t legally stop people from jailbreaking their phones; I also think it’s good that Apple doesn’t offer all the features jailbreaking can offer.

    It’s the sheeple argument. I run linux! I am a clever person making productive use of my time! You are sheeple, and your novels and architecture and music and movies and friendships and relationships do not matter because you do not do any of those things on Linux! And you know, that’s great, by all means go and live in the woods eating twigs and making your own computers out of belly button fluff and bits of dead frog or whatever gets you off. But just because it’s what you want to do doesn’t mean what you do is the model everyone should follow. It’s not just in tech you get this argument – there’s smug fuckery in all walks of life from people’s choice of holidays to the school their kids go to or the things they like to eat – but as tech is the area I work in I do see it a lot.

    > Computers are the only devices that do this, that insist that you know loads about them before you can use them well and safely. And the problem is that most of the industry is run by geeks who think that’s a feature, not a bug.

    Absolutely, yes. I’m reminded of the IT trainer I used to work with, who decided that what an introduction to computers training course really needed to start with was a detailed look into the IBM Human Computer Interface Guidelines of nineteen-who-the-fuck-cares. I mean, fuck *off*.

  3. tm says:

    >Computers are the only devices that do this, that insist that you know loads about them before you can use them well and safely.

    Whilst I generally agree with the point that you shouldn’t need to know how to program to use a PC, can I just mention that that statement is utter nonsense.

    Any complex device requires some kind of learning. In general computers (or electronic devices) are the most complex devices we come accross every day (and also the least mature).

    I clearly recal my mother saying that when she used to go on holiday with the family in their first car, the car would break down several times on the trip and my grandad would fix it. Every year.

    My car doesn’t need that level of “user support” and I don’t have even the slightest interest in learning how to fix it even if it did, but it’s had probably 60 years of development put into it since then.

  4. Gary says:

    > Any complex device requires some kind of learning.

    Sure, but in many cases the complexity isn’t there because it’s necessary; it’s that the people who made it don’t think it’s complex. To take your car example, that would be like the car firms of X years ago going “Wow, this is fucking perfect! We’re never going to change a fucking thing!” :-D

    I was using a phone-based sat-nav app the other day and instead of driving me to a place, it drove me to incoherent, spittle-flecked fury. Something that should be simple – and which is elsewhere – was ridiculously unfriendly and complicated. Had it not been a loaner I’d have smashed it to pieces.

  5. Squander Two says:

    > that statement is utter nonsense.

    Damn right, ’cause I missed a word and maybe a little bit of extra explanation.

    First of all, I should have said:

    Computers are the only everyday devices that do this, that insist that you know loads about them before you can use them well and safely.

    Obviously, a whole bunch of other not-so-everyday devices demand high levels of expertise, like fighter jets and the tools used in keyhole surgery.

    Apart from that, Gary’s right about the fact that car manufacturers don’t think that fixing your own engine is all part of the fun and something they don’t need to try to help their customers avoid, whilst software developers do. So usability design on cars and most other objects goes in the right direction. I’m reminded of my dad telling me a story from the Sixties, when a lot of his mates were into motorbikes. They all had British bikes — Triumphs etc — and they all thought that pulling over and tinkering with the engine to get it to work again in the pissing rain was all part of the biking experience. And they had one friend who was an early adopter of Japanese makes, and they all took the piss out of him remorselessly for buying some silly cheap Jap bike instead of a proper well-made British one. And he didn’t give a damn about their piss-taking, because his bike never broke down. We all know what happened to the British and Japanese motorbike industries.

    And I might add that your mother’s family could have used that car well and safely without knowing how to fix it — they just couldn’t have fixed it when it broke. Anything can break. The trouble with computer interfaces is that, without a load of crappy knowledge, you can’t use them well and safely when they’re working.

    And on top of that, sticking with the same analogy, using a computer is like having to learn not only how to fix the engine but also — the moment you connect to the damn Net — get a degree in town planning and train as a traffic cop.

  6. Squander Two says:

    > Any complex device requires some kind of learning.

    No, any complex mechanical device requires some sort of learning. The beauty of software is that it gives us the potential to build all the necessary layers of translation between whatever it is some machine’s doing and human intuition, precisely so that we can use stuff without having to learn it. As Gary’s two-year-old has been busy proving on the Ipad.

    I always say that one of the greatest pieces of industrial design is the modern ring-pull. The reason for this is that it is a totally different mechanism from the old ring-pull but requires exactly the same action from users. When they were introduced, no-one had to learn how to make the switch. You didn’t even need to know whether the ring-pull you were pulling was an old or new type — it worked the same either way. That is great OS design.

  7. Squander Two says:

    > It’s not just in tech you get this argument – there’s smug fuckery in all walks of life from people’s choice of holidays to the school their kids go to or the things they like to eat

    The two that really piss me off are:

    . men who wet-shave who try to stop you using an electric razor for God alone knows what reason;

    . and people who prefer showers to baths who discover that you prefer baths and try to convert you — they always end up using the phrase “wallowing in your own filth” at some point.

  8. tm says:

    >And I might add that your mother’s family could have used that car well and safely without knowing how to fix it — they just couldn’t have fixed it when it broke

    Well, now that assumes that the rate of failure is low enough that you can get “normal use” out of it without hitting a failure – and it didn’t sound to me like it was (but I’ll excuse for not knowing that – on the assumption you didn’t get to hear my mother anecdotes).

    Apart from that I basically agree with everything else you said anyway – and the addition of “everyday” would probably make me agree with you completely. I do think that to a certain extent you are all taking for granted how complex and potentially difficult to learn a lot of other devices we use now are simply because we all happen to come from a generation where we began learning how to use automatically as children.

    Cars are also a bad example of course, because in many ways driving a car is just an extension of something that you have literally been learning right from the start – i.e. moving around and not bashing into things.

    The other thing about computers is that of course, they are also the only everyday day device that you try to do so many disparate and un-related things with – so there is a complexity thing that that I don’t think we are anywhere near to solving.

    That old thing about “computer programming is the hardest task that humans have ever attempted” sounds arrogant sometimes until you sit down and think that at sometime or other we seem to have tried to get a computer program to do basically *everything* else we have ever managed – right from saving people through making people laugh to killing people.

  9. tm says:

    >Well, now that assumes that the rate of failure is low enough that you can get “normal use” out of it without hitting a failure

    Oh, and *this* is a test that computers from all manufacturers continue to fail miserably BTW.

  10. Squander Two says:

    It does sound rather as if your grandfather had a crap car. Which I suppose is the point.

    I don’t take it for granted how easy it is to learn to use things, especially cars. My driving test was the toughest exam I ever did. I still remember thinking during lessons “How the hell do people do this while having a conversation?” But then you pick up the knack with practice and it’s OK. But computers, you get the knack and you practice for years and you still routinely spend hours trying to get them to do something simple which should take a minute.

    > “computer programming is the hardest task that humans have ever attempted”

    You know, I’d never even heard that one before. It’s probably the mentally toughest thing we’ve ever done, but I would totally sympathise with any hollow laughter emanating from Ranulph Fiennes as he chiselled off his own fingertips.

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