The Unofficial Apple Weblog sometimes combines a poll with comments, which, given the nature of their readership, can produce interesting results. Earlier today, Erica Sadun began one such combination, titled You're the Pundit: Will iOS and OS X merge?. Now she has followed that with another, titled You're the Pundit: Are we going to see a touch iMac? Since my AIM password seems not to be working, here is what I'd intended to post there.
By the time the iPhone SDK was released, I had an idea for an app, but it wasn't until the iPad came along, with it's larger screen, that I was able to produce something publishable, and I still felt hemmed in. The full-blown app I have in mind really needs at least a 20-inch screen, and 27 inches would be better, but that screen still needs to be responsive to touch. At such screen sizes, a touch-based operating system that doesn't make allowance for moving on-screen objects around arbitrarily, as on a desktop, and by doing so cause them to perform actions, interact, or be acted upon, will probably seem quaint and hamstrung. Since I fully expect Apple will eventually produce larger touch screen devices, it seems likely that we haven't yet seen all of what they have planned for such an environment, much less all of what they have in mind for gestural computing in general. There may even be a place for windows on larger touch screen devices, but OS X's windowing system would need significant reworking, and I'd expect any window-related APIs to bear the "UI" prefix, so the OS is likely to be called "iOS", even though it will have drawn further inspiration from Mac OS and provide a user experience that's closer to Mac OS than what other iOS devices do. Hopefully, they will come with front-facing stereo cameras, for tracking gestures not involving touching the screen.