What is Apple iAnywhere? Apple’s new operating system and dock device for the iPhone and iPad could see iOS devices functioning as full-blown computers. The breakthrough iAnywhere device is rumoured to be a converged iOS and computing platform. iAnywhere would enable iOS Devices like the iPhone and iPad to dock into a full-screen display.

Apple iAnywhere is an interesting idea based on a range of Apple patents and the direction taking place in the tech industry. Analyst Mark Moskowitz from JPMorgan said, "While not a new idea, our global tech research team believes Apple could be on the cusp of introducing a new category with iAnywhere a converged MacOS-iOS operating system that allows an iPhone or iPad to dock into a specially configured display to run as a computer”.

Apple iAnywhere

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Will Apple iAnywhere converge iOS and Mac OS X?

The idea has many keen Apple observers raising eyebrows. Apple has repeatedly stated that it has no intention to converge the iOS and Mac OS X operating system. In April 2012 Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed Microsoft’s attempt at converging Windows across mobile and desktop. "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator," said Cook "but those things are not going to be pleasing to the user."

Apple may play down the idea of converging Mac OS X and iOS. That doesn’t mean that it can’t make a device that enables iOS devices to work harder. Apple’s Documents In The Cloud has made iOS and Mac OS X work together. Apple’s iWork suite is as much at home on the iOS platform as it is on the Mac OS X platform.

Apple iAnywhere early patent

Apple iAnywhere and Patent 7,684,185

JP Morgan believes that Apple iAnywhere could be Apple’s next push forward into the Post PC world. Apple has had a patent on an iMac-like device that acts as a dock for an iPad since 2008 and patent 7,684,185 was awarded in 2010.

Patent 7,684,185 originally started out as an extension to the MacBook. It seems to have transformed into a potential extension to the iPad or iPhone. iAnywhere is a dock that transforms the iOS device into large screen working computer. How people would interact with the speculated iAnywhere device is up for grabs. Most people assume that the iAnywhere display would be touch-screen. Apple has several patents that hint towards the iMac with touchscreen. There is also continued rumours of a larger iPad Pro, or some Apple iPad device with a work-oriented slant. It could be that Apple iAnywhere brings these rumoured devices together.

The analysts at JP Morgan claim that the new Apple iAnywhere device would not act as a replacement for Mac OS X. Instead, iAnywhere would act as an extension to the Apple iOS platform. Even so it’s hard not to see Apple iAnywhere eating into the space currently occupied by Apple’s MacBook and iMac range.

Apple iMac Touch patent

Whether Apple sees things this way is another matter. Apple continues to play down the idea of any convergence between the world of Mac OS X and iOS devices. In a recent interview with Macworld Phil Schiller stressed that different devices have particular strengths for particular tasks. “It’s not an either/or,” Schiller said. “It’s a world where you’re going to have a phone, a tablet, a computer, you don’t have to choose. And so what’s more important is how you seamlessly move between them all…. It’s not like this is a laptop person and that’s a tablet person. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering told a Macworld reporter: “You had a bunch of tools, and you pulled out the one that felt right for the job that you were doing. It wasn’t because it had more computing power…. You pulled it out because it was the most natural device to accomplish a task.” Sometimes you want a large display, with many different windows open, and sometimes you just want to lay back on the couch or are standing at the bus stop. “There’s a natural form factor that drives the optimal experience for each of those things. And I think what we are focused on is delivering the tailored, optimal experience for those kinds of ways that you work, without trying to take a one-size-fits-all solution to it.”