Here’s an idea whose time has arrived. Put the iPhone’s screen on a Mac-sized display, add a wireless keyboard, and a mouse or trackpad, and you’ve got a mini-Mac. Crazy, right? You can already do that on Windows 10.
What I’m suggesting here is blasphemy and sacrilege because Apple is a hardware company. Apple makes products for us to buy, so if we don’t buy as many products, then Apple makes less money. Think of what you do on your Mac and then compare that to what you do on the iPhone. There are similarities. Mail, Safari, Calendar, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, FaceTime, Photos, even Garageband and iMovie are cross platform. In fact, the iPhone has more applications than the Mac, maybe by an order of magnitude.
As much as I love the power of a Mac, powerful applications, and the much larger screen real estate, the Mac also means extra cost. I pay more for more Apple branded gadgets. Apple makes more money. But is it possible the iPhone could be the only device you need or use?
Samsung wasn’t the first to market a desktop solution from a smartphone, but the DeX Station is a pretty cool idea and one that might catch on in sufficient numbers for Apple to pay attention. DeX Station is short for a desktop experience— DeX–from a Samsung smartphone. Think of it as a small dock (it is). Drop in a smartphone and connect the whole shebang– USB, HDMI, Ethernet– to a screen with a virtual desktop application.
This is what happens when the power and capability of a smartphone begins to encroach on what you can do with a desktop PC or notebook (most of which end up on desktops anyway). Why have both? Apple’s Mac mini is the guts of a Mac without a screen, keyboard, and mouse. An iPhone has similar power and capability but lacks the screen, keyboard, and mouse.
It seems to me that Apple could do this with ease, even if it meant just using AirPlay and a connected display. Drop the iPhone into a dock that connects to AirPlay or a standard HD display, provide the necessary interface for keyboard, mouse, or trackpad, and the iPhone becomes a mini Mac.
HP has something similar in the HP Elite x3 which uses a Windows Phone– in this case a 6-inch, quad-HD display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage– which uses Continuum, a Windows 10 features that lets a Windows smartphone plug into a display and function similarly to a Windows 10 PC.
Apple’s iPhone and Mac are selling in record numbers, so Windows Continuum and Samsung’s DeX haven’t had much impact on the market, but it is an example of how competitors continually marginalize Mac, iPhone, and especially iPad, which has experienced a sales drop for three years. Apple is a hardware company and wants customers to buy Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Watch, and every other gadget the company makes. So, what’s Apple’s incentive to create an iPhone that does what a Mac can do with a simple dock, external standalone display, keyboard, and trackpad?
That’s too bad.