I’ve been following the news coming out of WWDC and it had me wondering how long it’s going to take until we move toward a one-OS system. By that, I don’t mean ‘Apple Wins!’ or ‘Microsoft Wins!’ Rather, I mean: ‘mobile wins!’
Let me explain. A lot of the ‘features’ Apple is introducing this time seem to be less brand new things and more a porting-over of stuff that exists in one platform and onto the other. So, the desktop OS gets Siri. The mobile OS gets facial recognition on photos. It’s the same rationale behind the cross-device synchronization features all the e-book programs have. It’s so handy to be able to read on my phone when I’m on the bus, then get home and resume where I left off on my tablet or book-sized device. So I can see why they would want to achieve this same effect with other aspects of their OS.
But…what’s the point? If I can download Pages on my phone or my iPad or my desktop and get right to work, why have separate versions in the first place? Why not just make the ‘mobile’ OS a little more robust, treat the real computers like iPads with keyboards and just have the one system? Would it be any different than what we have now?
Same with Windows—the Beloved just got a new Windows phone, and they have taken some pains to make it look just like the interface on our Windows laptop. So why not go beyond just looks and actually make them functionally equivalent? Why not have Chrome notebooks which run on just plain old Android? Why not have Windows notebooks which run a mobile OS?
There are so few things I do these days—reading included—which need to be tied to a computer. I long-ago ditched iTunes and put my teaching music straight into a Dropbox folder so I could access it on the fly while in class. I am contemplating doing the same with my books, liberating them from the tightly managed world of Calibre and just having Dropbox directories. Then when I get a new device, be it phone or computer or tablet, I can just install Evernote, a web browser and Dropbox, and have immediate access to all my stuff. That’s a much better system than the way I used to do things. So why do I need multiple operating systems for it?