New iOS/Mac Hybrid Device Coming Soon?

iTunes has been listing a completely new device with a placeholder name under “requirements” for some apps in the App Store. Where iTunes lists which devices an app is compatible with, a few apps have been appearing as being compatible with “iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and ix.Mac.MarketingName.” Since only iTunes has control over this section, Apple is likely testing something new.

A MacRumors reader had stumbled across the placeholder name last night. There are a ton of ways to interpret why the name was showing up, including it being a simple, odd glitch. However I am going to go much further than call it a glitch entirely – sure, the name’s appearance was obviously an error, but there is a good chance that that particular name was there for an entirely new device.

My own theory after analyzing the name is that it is for an iOS/Mac hybrid device. The ix is for iOS or the “i” product lineup, Mac is for Mac OS, and MarketingName is a placeholder for the real name that Apple will have to decide on to bring it to market. While there is no indication whether a hybrid will actually be released, it seems like this theory carries a decent amount of weight.

Such a device would certainly have a design that is quite unique and difficult to correctly speculate about. Would it be an iPad variant, a MacBook Pro/Air variant, a combination of both or something entirely new? It seems for Apple to justify bringing an iOS/Mac hybrid to fruition that it would have to be different from all Mac devices; not just a MacBook Air with a flippable hinge design or an iPad able to boot into iOS and Mac OS. The best design I could come up with that would make it a stand-out product would be for the device to feature two screens and an ability to quickly switch between operating systems. (Illustrated in the anonymous Mac tablet mock-up I had found and edited.) Right now both operating systems are distinct enough that each runs significantly better and is much more intuitive on the systems that they were designed for so a hybrid would call for an exceptional new design in order to adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of both operating systems.

Most users are already happy having iOS and Mac OS exist on separate, considerably diverse devices. How could a hybrid device possibly encapsulate the contrasting experiences in a way that works as well as having a device fine-tuned for each OS? Would it have to provide a unique experience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Written by Michael DeLisi