infoTECH Feature

September 11, 2013

Wozniak: Don't Merge Mac and iPad

This reporter has long wondered why Apple (News - Alert) hasn’t been more serious about the Mac in the last two decades. In that entire time, Microsoft Windows proved to be a flawed system, and Apple had the perfect opportunity to steal market share in the enterprise.

Not much has happened of late with the trusty old Mac. It is languishing with miniscule market share and dwindling software support.

Meanwhile all Apple seems to care about are the iPhone and iPad.

Why not steal a page from the Microsoft (News - Alert) playbook and gussy up the Mac by blending in the best of the iPad’s interface and apps support with the full power of the Mac?

Image via Shutterstock

We asked Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak about that idea at TMC’s (News - Alert) recent ITEXPO, and he wasn’t too hot on the concept.

The Woz was kind enough to rephrase and amplify the question. “Would I keep the iPad and the Macintosh separate and different as they are now, the Mac being more of a real computer from the old days. Anyone can write software for it, anyone can sell software for it – not much is happening now – you could run multiple programs on the screen at the same time,” the Woz explained.

Then he looked at both sides of the issue and came down on one. “There are a lot of things I like about [the Mac] that I would like in the iPad. But number one is to keep that technical side of things; things like files have been kept totally out of the iPad. You never see a file. Yeah, it’s hard to give a file to somebody on a flash key like we do with computers, you know the limitations,” Wozniak said.

While his later argument may point to the value of blending the two tools, the Woz has a distinctly different perspective. “It’s probably better for the masses and I would keep the two products separate and distinct as Apple does. I think it’s a good decision to limit the product, limit its ability, which is a huge benefit to the majority of people. Those who want more still can find computers. And thank heavens for the MacBook Pro.”

My Take

I agree with the Woz that the iPad should remain pure. But despite his vastly greater intellect, I still think the Mac would gain from blending in iPad features. Let’s face it. The Mac is going nowhere. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft Surface today is blending a tablet with full-on PC capabilities. While the product is still rough, Microsoft will eventually get it right, and will have a polished tablet with far more capabilities than the iPad. And the Mac isn’t undergoing any sort of user interface or functional revolution. Adding iPad functions to a full featured Mac could be a killer machine.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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