Its no secret that the iPad is a huge success. Its now being sold at Target and Walmart in addition to Best Buy locations across the country and of course at each and every Apple retail location. Apple themselves was a bit caught off guard about the success of the tablet device but seems to have caught up in its ability to produce significant quantities of the iPad. Given Apple’s significant market share in the emerging mobile product lines its somewhat unexpected to see Apple focusing back on their Mac line of computers.
Like many other media outlets we don’t expect the entire focus of the media announcement to be about the Mac. In fact, I believe that it will be more of an announcement of how Apple sees Mobile and Desktop platforms and operating systems merging. Apple has made it clear through the introduction of the Magic Mouse and the Magic TrackPad that they believe the future interface for computing will be through touch interaction. No doubt Mac OS X 10.7 will also include improved touch gestures and interactions built into the Operating System. Many of these touch gestures and interactions won’t be identical to those we already use daily on our iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.
An iMac Touch
Patents that have been awarded to Apple also give significant information into what Apple is planning on doing with their desktop line of computers. The iMac will feature a touch interface and screen that will take advantage of the new OS 10.7. I’d bet that like the Dashboard, there will be a keyboard or touch shortcut to allow users to quickly jump from the standard OS desktop to the App Filled iOS interface we’ve become familiar with on our iPhones and iPads. If Apple wants to bring iPhone and iPad owners to their desktop computer line then there is no better way to do it then allow them to easily use their iOS Apps on their desktop computers.
Docking your iPad into an iMac or Cinema Display
Another patent awarded to Apple in 2008 gives additional insight into what Apple may be planning on doing with their product line. Steve Jobs believes in reduction of devices and I imagine that one of the main reasons Apple hasn’t invested significant time in providing wireless syncing capabilities between iOS and OS X devices is because they plan on eliminating the desktop as we know it.
I originally thought the patent pictured here was showing the Macbook Air easily fitting into a monitor docking station but now I believe that the patent shows the iPad fitting into an iMac frame. If the iPad is powerful enough to provide desktop computing power and at the same time allow you to easily take your entire computer with you anywhere you go you quickly have the best of both worlds. There would be no need to sync your documents because they’d always be with you. Of course the iPad would need some substantial hardware improvements but the concept seems very promising to me.
Next weeks media announcement may not include all of the details we and other media outlets are speculating about but I have a good feeling that OS X 10.7 Lion will include improved touch interactions, additional iOS like functionality, and a clear path to the direction Apple plans on taking their desktop and mobile products over the next 5 years.