Skip to content


Apple Expands its Ecosystem

We’re sure you’ve seen the Apple campaign for the third-generation iPad Air – you know, the one that tells you your next computer might not be a computer. It takes advantage of Apple’s Universal Control, and it has a catch. But it can be an insight into our tech future.

To see how this can all fit together, it helps to know what Universal Control is – and is not. It’s part of iOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, and it’s designed to allow you to control multiple Macs and iPads with a single trackpad/mouse and keyboard. The result is that it enables you to use the same peripherals across multiple Macs and iPads. You can use your main Mac’s trackpad and keyboard to control additional Macs and/or iPads nearby.

In this case, no configuration is required. If you were able to put a file on your iPad while out of the office, you just need to put the tablet near your Mac and then use the mouse or keypad and trackpad to transfer the file. It also works from a Mac to an iPad. All devices must be signed into the same iCloud account, and two-factor authentication must be enabled. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff must be enabled for wireless use, and the devices must be within 30 feet of one another. The ‌iPad‌ and Mac may not share a cellular and internet connection (so the Mac can’t be tethered to the ‌iPad‌), and over USB, the Mac must be trusted on the ‌iPad‌. All machines must also use the same Wi-Fi network, and a VPN cannot be enabled. If you use a VPN, it needs to be turned off for Universal Control to function.

The catch is that it doesn’t cross operating systems. You can’t combine it with using an iPad with a Windows-based computer or a Microsoft Surface, which is essentially a parallel system to iPad Air.

But the concept is exciting. If you are signed in on an iPad and a Mac – and if they’re physically located next to each other, you can drag and drop images and files. That can be huge. Most of us are more connected through technology than we think, and our work lives blend more with our family obligations (because there are only 24 hours in a day) or our desires to work more remotely. Universal Control makes it easier to receive and use information.

We also are heartened that Apple delivered on a promise. In a time when technology companies make promises and rush to get those promises operational, we don’t see features incorporated on time or completely functional when scheduled.

So, if you’re in on iPads and Macs, be on the lookout for the availability of iOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3. Even if you only have iPhones and iPads, be on the lookout for the new iOS. The updates are likely to include critical security features. You’ll be safer when you apply them.

We hope that Microsoft will soon introduce a similar ecosystem for their version of Universal Control – and that someday soon, there will be true universality between the systems. One thing we’ve seen throughout the development and implementation of new technology is that businesses of all sizes and individual users have strong preferences. That won’t change anytime soon. The big tech giants will need to find ways to coexist and continue to share slices of an ever-growing pie.

If you need help in integrating technologies for your business or family use, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment. We’ll see how what you have will fit with what you’ll need to get your own slices of the bigger technology pie.