Apple's next big thing could be a combination Mac OS-iOS platform that would let iDevices function as full-blown computers. At least, that's the latest forecast from the folks at JP Morgan.
In an investors note released Wednesday, analyst Mark Moskowitz said that Apple may be hit by a weaker smartphone market suffering from customers delaying their upgrades and from more vendors joining forces. But two items in the analyst's crystal ball would give Apple a shot in the arm. One is an iPhone with a 5-inch display. The other is a platform that Morgan Stanley has dubbed iAnywhere.
"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," Moskowitz said. "In our view, this category would be a leapfrog event, potentially jumpstarting iPhone and iPad growth as well as peripherals and cloud-based software and services sales."
The JP Morgan team said it believes Apple could introduce iAnywhere within the next 12 to 18 months. Apple would still maintain its core Mac OS platform for traditional Macs.
Other vendors already offer docking stations and peripherals that allow mobile devices to function more like full computers. But, in Moskowitz's concept, it sounds like Apple would go a few steps further by cooking up a dual operating system -- something that Intel has been talking up on the Windows-Android side, and made manifest in the Samsung Ativ Q and the new Asus Transformer Book Duet.
Consumers and investors have been waiting for the company to unveil its next big thing. Assuming Apple is going down this route, iAnywhere would fill that niche quite nicely.