Analyst: Future Mac, iPhone on unified platform

Analyst at Jefferies & Company spells out his vision of Apple's future in a research note that touches on all of the marquee issues for Apple in 2012 and beyond.

An analyst at Jefferies & Company has offered his take on the prospect of an Apple future that merges operating environments and taps more into Apple's in-house chip technology.

"We believe Apple is looking to merge iOS (iPhones/iPads) with OS X (Macs) into a single platform for apps and cloud services starting in 2012-13," Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek wrote in an August 2 research note entitled "One to Rule Them All: iOS and OS X Roadmaps to Merge."

Highlights of Misek's research note:

  • OS merger: OS merger to start in 2012 or 2013 and be complete in 2016. Apple can use a 32-bit ARM chip design "to address the vast majority of the OS X ecosystem's needs in 2012-13 except for high-end professional devices." Then, when a 64-bit ARM chip arrives in 2016, Apple will have a single OS and hardware architecture.
  • 32-bit vs. 64-bit: Advantage of 64-bit is only with computationally-intensive programs like Adobe's Creative Suite. These types of programs are mainly used by professionals and prosumers on MacBook Pro notebooks and Mac Pro desktops.
  • Apple A6 processor: Apple is ready to start sampling the A6 quad-core processor and this chip will be capable of "PC-like strength" and be cross-platform, running both OS X and iOS.
  • iPad 3, iPhone 5: The iPad 3 will use the A6 and launch in the first quarter of 2012. The iPhone 5 to launch next summer with the A6. The iPhone 4S will launch this September with the A5 processor that currently powers the iPad 2.
  • MacBook Air with A6: MacBook Air laptop to launch with the A6 in second half of 2012 or 2013. MacBook Pro line and Mac desktops line will "remain on Intel 64-bit chips until 2016."
  • iCloud: The cloud will be the center of Apple's strategy, allowing users to keep their identity and content profiles in the cloud. "Users will log on to a device where the profile, content, and apps will be customized and optimized for the device."
  • HTML 5: HTML 5 is "hugely disruptive and effectively turns everything into an app." And with local storage, HTML 5 will allow users to interact with content while offline.

This report was first reported by Barron's.

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