Intel is developing a tool that will make it easier for developers to port iPhone applications to Intel-based smartphones, tablets and other devices, a company executive said Tuesday, reports the IDG News Service (http://www.macworld.com/article/154632/2010/10/intel_mobile_apps.html). Which makes me wonder: if Intel is doing this, could it and Apple also team up to run the iOS apps on the Intel chips used in Macs?
Most smartphones and tablets today run on Arm-based processors. The new Intel tool will identify changes that need to be made in an iPhone application, making it easier to convert the application to run on Intel-based hardware, says Doug Fisher, vice president of Intel’s Software and Services group and general manager of its Systems Software division, in an interview with IDG.
If Intel could do this, then perhaps it could also develop the technology to make the iDevice operating system run on Intel-based Macs. There have long been rumors that Apple is working on a touchscreen iMac (which I suspect it is). If so, the ability to run iOS apps on a Mac makes sense.
Perhaps the iOS would run "inside" Mac OS X in some sort of emulator. Or -- and this seems more likely -- the two operating systems will meld in some fashion. If that's the case, then perhaps no chip-tweaking or porting tech is needed from Intel.
In a June "ZDNet column" (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/ios-4-on-a-mac/8609), in a , tech writer Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says we may see iOS running alongside Mac OS X proper.
“Pre iPad, it made little sense for Apple to even think of putting the iPhone OS on the Mac, since the apps were specifically designed for a small screen. But with the iPad, Apple is now building quite a repository of apps designed for a far bigger screen,” he writes. “It’s not hard to imagine apps designed for the iPad such as iWorks or Documents to Go working on a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Rather than being driven by a touchscreen, the OS would simply take commands via the keyboard and trackpad. The iOS could be a dual boot OS on a Mac, but what would really integrate the iOS with Mac OS would be if iOS were also accessible via Mac OS.”
I imagine that it will be the latter or else that, as I’ve said, Mac OS X and iOS will trade off features. However, I can’t imagine a Mac that would dual boot into Mac OS X or iOS. They’ll run concurrently.
As Kingsley-Hughes says, “the addition of iOS on a Mac would be a value add to an existing platform, rather than a replacement for an iPhone or iPad.”
-- Dennis Sellers