After the Big Sur reveal, there’s been a surge of articles about how the Mac has turned iOS-y. Here’s one example. But how about the reverse?
- iOS 13 introduced a Files app (ala Finder), that can even browse USB disk drives!
- iOS 14 finally allows customisation of Mail & Browser default apps.
- iOS 13 on the iPad has support for a mouse or trackpad, with a (perhaps better) adaptive cursor!
- iOS 14’s date time pickers are now more Mac-like.
- iOS 14 has a Picture in Picture mode, just like Safari.
- iOS 14 has an App Library, just like Launchpad (well maybe a lot better).
- iOS 14 has widgets, just like… Widgets on the Mac. No these (much older) dashboard widgets on the Mac.
- iOS 14 supports encrypted drives, just like much older Mac versions.
- iOS 13 brings custom font support to the App Store.
- And finally, with iOS 14, iPadOS apps are looking a lot more like Mac apps, and even Universal Search is looking a bit like Spotlight.
I think this list proves 2 things:
- You can make comparisons across Apple’s platforms. There is a lot of cross-pollination and prior art.
- iOS has slowly, but steadily become more akin to a Mac in the past few years.
Here’s 5 more things I wish Apple borrowed from macOS:
- Running iPhone apps windowed on an iPad.
- Running signed apps outside the App Store via Gatekeeper. If it’s a by default turned-off option, perhaps flagged under warnings, only “power users” will turn it on. And it’ll solve the number 1 source of frustration advanced Mac users have about iOS.
- Bring versions of developer focused apps such as Xcode, Terminal, Activity Monitor, et. al. Make the iPad developer friendly.
- Introduce proper multiple audio support.
- Allow some mechanism to run long-running processes, perhaps after adequate warnings. Running long-running downloads on iOS for e.g. is a terrible experience right now since you can’t “switch away” from the app.
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