Ben Brooks and Michael Rockwell both brought up the topic of going iOS only, and the maintenance that goes into tuning and running MacOS (née OS X). Brooks:
I lost 30 minutes to just managing my Mac that morning.
Yet my iPad was just there, did it’s job and stayed the hell out of my way, and never once demanded I do housekeeping on it. The apps update in the background. The devices backs up each night automatically. It’s just always ready to go. That’s simply not the case with my Mac.
Managing a Mac requires a lot of overhead and I’m doing almost everything in my power to minimize the chore associated with them.
Within Apple circles, going iOS only is a fairly common topic. There are enough apps, workarounds, and community involvement that if the Mac disappeared tomorrow, most people could get their jobs done with iOS.
However, iOS isn’t there yet for a lot of people. Namely, developers.
Writing code, managing servers, and deploying builds — i.e. building the things that make the iOS-only world possible — is just not something that we can get done on iOS yet. Arguably, iOS may never support some of these things. Root access, installing command-line tools, piping terminal commands into a local output file all fly in the face of security and ease-of-use, both of which are iOS cornerstones.
And yes, I could hack together a solution for some of these things by setting up a remote server, SSH, and VNC, but the switching cost in terms or productivity is just too high. Additionally, why should I need to buy or rent another machine just to do all these things that MacOS can do out-of-the-box.
iOS can be powerful and simple because MacOS is powerful and complex.
Yes, MacOS takes more maintenance than iOS (to which I say “duh”), but those are tradeoffs that give me access to the full machine in front of me.
iOS does an excellent job at abstracting the messy details and maintenance of running an operating system, leaving us with an experience that’s simple and safe. But we still need folks who build the things that everyone else is using, and to build a lot of those things, iOS doesn’t make the cut yet.