WTF?! iPad Pro M2 just tipped to get macOS next year

iPad Pro 2022 with keyboard
(Image credit: Apple)

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.

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. 

iPad Pro 2022 11-inch and 12.9-inch models

The new iPad Pro 2022 models are powered by Apple's M2 chip, which also drives the new 2022 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. If they share a chip, could they also share an OS? (Image credit: Apple)

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. 

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.