Many reports so far have revealed that Apple is working on an even bigger tablet than the 9.7-inch legacy iPad, a 12.9-inch device — the iPad Pro — that would better appeal to professionals. The device is expected to arrive in mid 2015, according to people familiar with the matter that spoke with various publications, although it’s not clear what new differentiating features the device will have to offer. Meanwhile, Digitimes has learned that Apple might be developing two iPad Pro versions and one of them will supposedly offer users the kind of operating system that Apple has vowed not to make.
One of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro prototypes is a regular iOS tablet, the publication says but the other one is reportedly a 2-in-1 device featuring “an operating system that integrates Mac OS and iOS.”
This rumor is particularly questionable because Apple has more than once stated that it doesn’t plan to merge the OS X and iOS. In an interview with Macworld in late January, Apple execs again explained that the company doesn’t plan merging the two operating systems even though the company has a “common vision” for them.
“We don’t waste time thinking, ‘But it should be one [interface]!’ How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?’” Apple’s Phil Schiller said. “What a waste of energy that would be.”
“There is a super-important role [for the Mac] that will always be,” Schiller added. “We don’t see an end to that role. There’s a role for the Mac as far as our eye can see. A role in conjunction with smartphones and tablets, that allows you to make the choice of what you want to use. Our view is, the Mac keeps going forever, because the differences it brings are really valuable.”
“We have a common sense of aesthetics, a common set of principles that drive us, and we’re building the best products we can for their unique purposes,” Craig Federighi added. “So you’ll see them be the same where that makes sense, and you’ll see them be different in those things that are critical to their essence.”
Apple has said “no” to many other ideas in the past, including smaller tablets and big smartphones, but the company eventually released such products.
As crazy as Digitimes’ report currently sounds, especially considering Apple’s stance on OS X and iOS being standalone ecosystems tied only by certain elements, a dual-booting OS X / iOS device might be appealing to some buyers.
Apple is independently working on a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air that’s supposed to be slimmer than any other model and that will launch in 2015 as well. Out of the many reports that provided details about this upcoming MacBook Air model, not a single one said anything about it having iOS-like powers.
For what it's worth, Apple also has patents detailing Macs that feature touchscreen displays and MacBooks making use of touchscreen technology. An iPad Pro as described by Digitimes would need a touchscreen display for iOS functionality.