The M2 iPad Pro models might run a particular iOS variant next year, according to a leaker. That’s not surprising, considering that iPads run a special variant of iOS already. But the crazy part concerns the kind of experience Apple might give the M2 iPad Pro next year: A variant of macOS 14. It’s too early to get excited about the prospect, but it would be a game-changer if the information is factual.
Apple launched the M2 iPad Pro models right on schedule. The new tablets look a lot like their predecessors, but they pack an even more powerful punch. The M2 System-on-Chip is the next-gen silicon for tablets and Macs, the chip that powers the MacBook Air that Apple launched earlier this year. But the M2 iPad Pro still runs iPadOS 16, which isn’t necessarily good news.
The main problem with iPadOS for the iPad Pro is the lack of an authentic multitasking experience. Apple is about to unleash Stage Manager on certain iPads running iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura. As a beta tester of the latter, I’ve used Stage Manager a total of two times, and I just don’t see myself integrating that sort of complication into my multitasking habits.
Stage Manager on iPad is another discussion. The alternative is doing the pre-iPadOS 16 multitasking, which offers up to three apps side-by-side.
Having a macOS-like experience on an iPad would be incredible. You’d get the macOS-powered touchscreen experience Apple said it would never make over the years.
Apple repeatedly told us it doesn’t plan to merge iPadOS and macOS, despite their evident convergence. Similarly, Apple ignored adding a touchscreen to the MacBook, a real one, not the Touch Bar. Then again, the MacBook form factor isn’t necessarily great for touch experiences.
I said a few years ago that Microsoft made the laptop/tablet that I wanted from Apple. That’s the now-discontinued Surface Book, a tablet/laptop that ran the full Windows OS and came with a great keyboard attachment. That’s the kind of MacBook/iPad I’ve wanted for years.
If leaker Majin Bu is correct, Apple is already testing running macOS 14 on the M2 iPad Pro. It’s not going to be the full macOS experience but a “smaller” version.
The leaker said the software’s codename is Mendocino and explained what this macOS experience would look like on an iPad. “I’m currently talking about a 25% larger macOS UI (optimization for touch, I presume),” he said. “The apps will be those of the iPad; the system will be macOS.”
Considering that you can run iPhone/iPad apps on M-series SoCs, the rumor makes absolute sense. Apple could optimize macOS for touchscreens. And it could then run iPad apps on top of it.
Majin Bu also notes that Apple’s purported tests would “explain the arrival of DaVinci Resolve exclusively for M2 and the patent for a future version of iPadOS with the Mac graphics leaked earlier this year.”
That said, we’re only looking at rumors for the time being. Apple will show off macOS 14 at WWDC 2023 next summer. And it’ll be interesting to see whether it’ll demo an M2 iPad Pro port at the time.
More Mac coverage: For more Mac news, visit our MacBook Pro guide.