A Twitter tipster has revealed some interesting news from Apple's camp. According to the tweet, Apple has built Apple Silicon powered iPhone prototypes that run macOS. In theory, this would allow an iPhone user to plug his handset into a dock and a monitor and enjoy a full desktop experience over his or her handset. This can be done now that Apple Silicon is replacing Intel's processors inside the Mac.
The tweet from Mauri QHD (via AppleInsider) makes references to other similar docks such as Razer's Linda and Samsung's DeX. The former was an attempt to turn a Razer phone into an Android-powered laptop. The latter used a dock to plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to give users of high-end Samsung handsets a desktop-like experience. The 2011 Motorola ATRIX had an optional Laptop Dock that was similar to Razer's Linda.
Imagine having a desktop experience on your iPhone display
As far as Apple is concerned, the tipster notes that "It is ready, they keep working on prototypes on the side, and are using this time to make it even better... but have 2 options ready (will go with only 1). They are just waiting for other projects to fall into place. Is 95% sure it's coming, but not 100%. It depends on a lot of factors."
Apple's decision to replace Intel processors used for the Mac with ARM-based Apple Silicon makes this type of thing possible. It also shows how Apple has been moving toward a convergence of its product line. For example, iPhone and iPad apps will be able to run natively on a Mac. Steven Troughton-Smith, an iOS and macOS developer, told Wired that Apple's new chips"will be well capable of emulating the current Mac software library at near-native speeds and enough for heavy 3D gaming and pro software. iOS and iPadOS apps being available on the Mac day one means users will almost certainly have native apps available for every need."
At WWDC 2019, Apple unveiled Catalyst which modifies iPad apps without having to rewrite them from scratch so that they can run on a Mac. And with Universal Purchase, an app purchased on iOS, iPadOS, or macOS will be considered paid for on all three platforms. At the time that Catalyst was introduced, Apple denied that it was bringing iOS and Mac together. But if this news is true, that denial won't ring so true.
As the Twitter thread continues, Mauri QHD says that the goal is for the iPhone to feature a dual boot system that would allow the phone to run either iOS or macOS. The big question is whether we can trust the source. AppleInsider says that he does have a good track record but a limited one as far as Apple is concerned. So we should take this information with a grain of salt.
Last year there were reports that Apple was working to make the iPhone an accessory for the MacBook. A patent filed by Apple back in 2016 showed a MacBook shell that an iPhone would be placed into to create a notebook. The illustration from the patent resembled Razer's Linda system.
Does Apple truly have plans to develop one operating system for all of its devices? Or is this just a Jurassic Park moment where Apple is doing this because it can. The A14 Bionic chipset, built using the 5nm process node by TSMC, has 15 billion transistors and when modified, it can handle the workload to run macOS. For now though, as we said, there is no proof that this is even something on Apple's to-do list. DeX has not been a success and neither was Motorola's Laptop Dock. Razer has never made Linda available to the public.