Why iPad and Mac Should Never Merge
A lot of people would love to see iPad runs Mac Apps and vice versa. Here's why that's a bad idea.
One of the most talked about things in the Apple community is the potential for the Mac and iOS platforms to merge, After all, they both share the same foundation. It's easy for a Mac developer to port their Apps from the Mac to iOS, and vice versa, so why not make it official?
First, let me make one thing clear. There's absolutely no reason why a Mac shouldn't have the ability to run iOS Apps. After all, every App designed for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and even Apple Watch starts on a Mac. Mac developers create and test every App on a Mac using a simulator that can run every Mac App on the market. If Apple ever gets around to producing a touch screen Mac it would be a piece of cake making the simulator a standard option on the Mac so it can run iOS Apps.
However, I don't think they should ever do the reverse. They will never let an iOS device like the iPad run Mac Apps, and there's a lot of reasons why.
To me, the biggest one is security. iOS is the most secure computing platform on the planet. It was designed from the start with the idea of isolating every App from the file system itself, as well as every other App. This is a radical departure from the way every other operating system before it.
Unlike other operating systems, you can only install Apps from one place, Apple's own App Store, and Apple needs to approve each and every App before it's made available to the public. This virtually guarantees that every App has been checked to insure it's safe, and family friendly. While some people think Apple has too much control, the end result is the absolutely safest computing platform that never requires the use of an Anti-Virus.
In the event that a rogue App makes it past Apple's screening process, they even have the ability to remotely remove the App from every device that downloaded.
In addition to putting heavy restrictions on which Apps get into the iOS App Store, iOS also creates boundaries between the Apps and the files they are allowed to access. This means that each App only has access to the files and folders within the App itself, and a handful of shared locations that you can turn on and off, such as your photo and video libraries. This prevents each App from gaining access to files from other Apps.
By contrast, other operating systems, including MacOS have no such restriction. Although the Mac's default setting is to only allow Apps from trusted developers and the Mac App Store, they do allow you to override this, hence it can never be as safe as iOS.
Allowing the iPad to run Mac Apps would eliminate all these safeguards and that's not something Apple will ever do. Apple knows the next generation of computing is mobile, and they are not going to lose the edge iOS has the premier mobile platform by allowing rogue Mac Apps to have access to the file system.
Joe Crescenzi, Founder
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