The iPad Pro 2022 arrives in stores next Wednesday, October 26th running iPadOS 16, but owners may at some point have the opportunity to equip it with a slimmed-down version of macOS instead — if a new leak proves true.
Of course, you should take this report with a grain of salt and not count on anything until we hear Apple confirm the details. That said, the leaker in question (who goes by Majin Bu) has been right in the past when leaking details about Apple products.
According to a source trusted by Bu, Apple is currently working on a "smaller version of macOS exclusively for the new iPad Pro M2" that would run iPad apps but sport a macOS-like UI that's larger (Bu estimates 25% larger) and hopefully optimized for touch input.
According with my source Apple would be testing a smaller version of macOS exclusively for the new iPad Pro M2!"Mendocino" should be the codename for macOS 14. A simplified version should be planned for the M2. pic.twitter.com/f4RrainlZ1October 20, 2022
The source reports that this is effectively the next version of macOS, codenamed "Mendocino", which would suggest that if macOS 14 comes out next year it would come to both Macs and iPads (or at least, the iPad Pro).
This makes some sense, as one of the key upgrades in the new 2022 iPad Pros is Apple's M2 chip. The M2 already powers the MacBook Air 2022 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022, and new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with M2 Pro are tipped to launch in November of this year.
The fact that the iPad Pro 2022 is the only iPad to get the M2 chip (so far) lends this leak some credence, as having it on the same chip architecture as the latest MacBooks makes the prospect of a cross-platform macOS seem a lot more feasible.
macOS on iPad outlook
Of course, the fact that this report is believable doesn't make it true. And even if it does prove true, Apple has a lot of work to do to make its desktop operating system make sense on a tablet. Making macOS play nice with touch input seems like a massive headache, and it would open Apple up to a question I've been pondering for quite some time: Why no MacBooks with touchscreens?
That said, if this does come to pass and iPads get a version of macOS it would make them that much compelling laptop alternatives. One of the big stumbling blocks in using an iPad to get work done is the confusing rat's nest of app compatibility between iPadOS and macOS (and if you work with Windows users, that's a whole new level of hassle) so unifying them could make life easier for a lot of people.
And, hey, it would be great to see Apple give touchscreen MacBooks a go -- they've certainly been a common feature among the best Windows laptops for well over a decade now.
Next: The new iPad 2022 has a major flaw that has us scratching our heads.