What it is: Apple announced that they’re splitting iOS and coming out with a special version of iOS just for the iPad.
Back in the days of laptops, the netbook briefly caught on as a small, lightweight, inexpensive alternative. Netbooks cost a few hundred dollars and ran Windows XP or Linux. The problem was they ran slow processors and the keyboards we’re cramped and tiny.
When Apple introduced the iPad, they killed the netbook market. Today, you can’t find a single manufacturer of netbooks even though Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and other major computer companies once sold netbooks.
Now the iPad is taking on the traditional laptop market. Right now, most laptops are expensive, heavy, and lacking long battery life. The iPad is still more expensive than many laptops, but the iPad is far lighter with a longer battery life.
Even better, the processor in the iPad is getting more powerful, rivaling even Intel’s processors. When the iPad processor consistently runs noticeably faster than Intel’s processors, that’s when the iPad will truly take over the laptop market.
What has held the iPad back for years was its reliance on iOS. Originally, iOS was designed for tablets like the iPad. Then Apple show an opportunity to enter the smartphone market and they created iOS based on OS X, the Macintosh operating system.
When Apple introduced the iPhone, it took over the smartphone market. Later, Apple returned to their tablet designs and released the iPad, which killed the netbook market.
Yet for years, iOS has to be designed for both the iPhone and iPad, despite the larger screen of the iPad. Now Apple has created a version of iOS specifically for the iPad called iPadOS, which means they’ll likely rebrand iOS as iPhoneOS soon just to remain consistent.
By creating a separate iPadOS, Apple can optimize the operating system just for tablets, which they couldn’t do with iOS. That means the iPad will gradually get more unique features to make advantage of its touch screen interface and its larger size. This will likely give the iPad custom features that are unique to the form factor of the larger screen of tablets.
As the iPad grows in capabilities, that means fewer people will rely on laptops just as the iPhone helped reduce people’s dependency on access to a PC at all times to send messages or browse the Internet. Essentially, the iPad will help reshape the mobile computing market.
The world of PCs will always be around, but mobile computing (smartphones and tablets) are taking over. For many people, all they need is a smartphone and a tablet to do all of their computing needs.
iPadOS is just apple’s first step to making the iPad a full-fledged computer. Today’s generation might still cling to the familiar mouse and pull-down menu interface, but tomorrow’s next generation will be comfortable with touch screens. That means computing is shifting to the mobile market.
By creating a special iPadOS, Apple can optimize the operating system for the iPad. That’s good news for everyone, except any computer still trying to sell laptops in a world that’s embraced mobile computing.