One of my colleagues picked up a new Samsung Galaxy S8 and he uses it as his desktop PC. Uh huh. That’s right. No more Windows. So far, he seems to like the Galaxy S8 better as a phone than as his desktop PC, but he doesn’t exactly hate that, either.
The way it works is simple. Samsung has this new thing called the DeX platform which lets a Galaxy S8 plugged into a dock show up on a PC screen and it uses a keyboard and mouse. In other words, he has a single device that fits into his pocket, but it can also be– and, for now, is– his desktop PC. And it doesn’t run Windows.
As a bona fide certified Apple watcher I’m somewhat obligated to engage the entire breadth of Apple’s ecosystem; hardware and software, but as much as this idea of a single device that does everything can be appealing, I don’t see Apple hopping onto the bandwagon any time soon. After all, Apple is a hardware company, and many of us already have a Mac or two, a couple of iPads, and an iPhone each, so what’s Apple’s incentive to build a DeX-like platform so we only need to use a single device? None.
What about Samsung? Same old same old. Samsung throws technology mud up against the customer wall to see what sticks. In this case, Samsung doesn’t have much of a PC business to cannibalize, and the company would love to sell more Galaxy S8 models and the DeX platform at Microsoft Windows’ expense.
Still, the idea of using an iPhone as my Mac has some due consideration. Instead of buying a Mac to use on the desktop– and most of us use even our Mac notebooks while sitting at a desk– the iPhone would suffice. Just add keyboard, mouse, and screen. Hey, that’s like a Mac mini that fits into your pocket and goes anywhere.
Think about the advantages of using the iPhone on a large screen, much as you would a Mac. Many of the applications are exactly the same. Safari, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes. Even better, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are built-in, too. Even iPhone screen resolution is HD, which means it’s almost the same as the MacBook on a large display. Almost.
As attractive as that sounds, there are some issues.
The phone rings. No problemo for Mac users because we can answer the iPhone on the Mac. Apps are not the same. Generally speaking, Mac apps are more powerful. But Office on iPhone is a decent package and Microsoft seems to have as many iOS apps as Apple. But no Photoshop.
The way this newfound Mac-in-your-pocket could work is simple. Sit down at the desk, drop your iPhone into a little dock that connects to the standalone display; Bluetooth takes care of the keyboard and mouse. Fire it up and you’re good to go. It would be somewhat like a Mac in your pocket.
Apple would need to make adjustments in iOS, but those would be trivial. Mouse support, better external Bluetooth keyboard support, and provide a dock to do the deed; I’m thinking USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 with an Apple branded display.
Macs may be at record sales, but look at the mix. MacBook Air, MacBook, MacBook Pro models constitute over 80-percent of all Macs sold. A Mac-like device in your pocket is a logical extension. But Apple wouldn’t make as much money.