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Apple wants to combine iOS and macOS apps by 2021

By David Matthews ยท 10 replies
Feb 20, 2019
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  1. Last year at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2018, the company previewed a framework that allows developers to port iOS apps to macOS. Apple itself ported the Stocks, News, Home, and Voice Memo apps to macOS Mojave. Now, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple intends to combine iOS (both iPhone and iPad) and macOS apps into a single app framework.

    Codenamed "Project Marizpan," this initiative aims to make it easier for developers to make apps once and have it work across all of Apple's platforms. Apple will probably reveal more specifics later this year at WWDC 2019.

    In the meantime, the company reportedly plans to first release an SDK for developers to port iPad apps to the Mac this year. Next year, Apple will expand the SDK to include iPhone apps. Finally, by 2021, developers will hopefully be able to merge iOS and macOS apps into one application called a "single binary" that works across platforms.

    Initially, the developers will have to submit two applications for both the iOS App Store and Mac App Store with the underlying code being the same. If the full merge is accomplished successfully, developers would ideally be able to submit one application that appears in each app store automatically. That could also pave the way for Apple to combine all of their App Stores into one giant app storefront.

    If all of this sounds familiar, it's because Microsoft attempted a similar functionality with its Universal Windows Platform a few years ago. The goal was for developers to write once and deploy to all Windows platforms including Xbox and HoloLens. Unfortunately, Microsoft's efforts weren't as fruitful with the company eventually killing off Windows Phone entirely.

    WWDC 2019 is still a ways off and while it's normally focused on software, Bloomberg also reports that Apple may unveil a new Mac Pro. In a rare apology, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller admitted the sad state of the Mac Pro and promised a new modular Mac Pro for 2019.

    It remains to be seen whether Apple can succeed where Microsoft failed. Although iPhone and iPad sales have slumped, Apple still has the benefit of having one of the most popular mobile platforms in the world. Consolidating everything under one App Store would not only make it easier for developers but also help Apple's bottom line, especially with Apple looking to rely increasingly on services for additional revenue.

    Permalink to story.


    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,683   +775

    Nope, will never completely work. Maybe their Apple apps, but not every third party app in the store.

    Honestly, Apple lost the desktop OS market years ago. It is so underwhelming compared to Windows in terms of capabilities, so I say just dump MacOS and make a desktop mode for iOS. In the end, users won't be losing that much and Apple can make up for it with some new desktop mode apps to replace some things. Big players like Adobe will need to make a desktop version of their apps for iOS but they are already sort of doing that anyway.

    MacOS is pretty much just a closed source purchasable Linux distro now as far as I'm concerned. Only real advantage over free Linux distros now that I can think of other than being free is native Microsoft Office apps, but in the end that doesn't mean much anyway with Office 365. Plus with the right tools you can install Office 2016 or 2019 in Linux.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  3. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +297

    Microsoft succeeded in seeing the concept come to life, but the success of such a concept relied to heavily on something they didn't have...a significant mobile platform. In Apple's case, it's the exact opposite...why would developers won't to target MacOS when all of the users are on iOS? It turns into wasted effort.
  4. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 714   +266

    Too early to tell. Stay tuned.
  5. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 549   +370

    I for one hope this works great - except they're going in the wrong direction. Just give iOS to the Mac users. Let them suffer with Photoshop Express and other mobile apps. It's not like anyone still uses the Macs anyway; they have almost no presence in CC or CGI. Maybe some holdouts in the audio world, but they are a tiny minority and it's high time they upgraded anyway. All my buddies in that field still work on the old tower Macs; they never even upgraded to the garbage-can Macs. I'm sure those things have outlived their usefulness, especially compared to modern computers.
  6. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 549   +370

    Microsoft had an awesome mobile platform. The Lumias were really sweet, and there were many other phones that ran WinPhone too. Microsoft simply didn't market them. They even had an article on this site way back when, when Verizon reported they'd never even received testbed phones from the 950/WinPhone 10 series. So Microsoft just threw their own product away. They had all their phones on Verizon, before that (WinPhone 7 and 8). Not that Verizon is the only carrier you need, but without it you simply can't make that paper.
    Dosahka likes this.
  7. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 413   +287

    There's still a rather overwhelming consensus in the audio world that "Macs are just better". It's ridiculous at this point. Apple hasn't put out a proper desktop computer in almost 5 years now. They abandoned their power users. No matter how I splain this to some of my audio centric friends I can't get through to them. A $1,500 PC outperforms every mac on the market right now in audio production but they simply don't see it this way.

    Apple plans on releasing a new desktop sometime in the future. I think you'll see a lot of people jump back on the Mac desktop at this point. They'll pay out the nose for it, and it'll probably have really stupid quirks but the Mac cult is strong.
  8. Dosahka

    Dosahka TS Booster Posts: 120   +44

    the biggest fail was that Microsoft wanted Windows 10 on phones, what should've MS do is to use the core code of windows and build a separate windows for phones, then then make universal apps to work on both platforms, but apple has both, only thing Apple has to do is slowly bring them close to each other year by year.
    I can imagine that, sort of working now as the article detailed it and from developers side the coding got easier so they have build it once and it will work on both iPad/iPhones with no or little change, mac should be same if and ever Apple start producing their own SoC/CPU. I think that would be the last step.
    This all IMHO!

    p.s I loved my Lumia 1520, it was amazing, fluent and smooth user experience (like Apple iPhones now), big screen, nice UI (IMHO), nice camera and it was NOKIA.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  9. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +297

    Windows 10 Mobile was never the exact same OS as Windows 10. What you said they should have done is exactly what Microsoft did with Windows 10 Mobile & Windows 10, through the Universal Windows Platform.
    Dosahka and JaredTheDragon like this.
  10. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 549   +370

    Indeed, and this was very evident by the stifled and truncated desktop-version of WinPhone that they offered through their dock. It worked fine but you were stuck with UWP apps and that was it. No real programs, just a handful of MS apps that weren't great on mobile to begin with.

    For awhile the apps on WinPhone 8 were pretty sweet, when they were still being updated and whatnot. Facebook Black was slick. UC Browser wasn't bad (much better now, on Android). And you had far more control on the WinPhone than Android or iOS offered at the time. But Microsoft tanked it, on purpose, for whatever stupid reason (probably ROI). So as much as I loved the platform, it wasn't meant to be. WinDroid is an acceptable replacement, but it still cracks me up that Android has ADS. Even the anti-adware apps have ads! Hah haa!
    Dosahka likes this.
  11. ypsylon

    ypsylon TS Booster Posts: 153   +40

    About bloody time. Take software like Affinity Designer.

    On desktop (Mac or PC) its great piece of kit. On iPad all my murderous instincts come to the fore and I'm really calm person. For me AD is unusable on iP.

    Give people a choice, stop pushing this stupid touch only (that's aimed at Affinity programmers) interface when Apple pen can function perfectly as a mouse replacement while you can hold the device without need for 2 more hands. Don't believe me: take Celsys' Clip Studio for Mac/PC desktop and iPad. It has exactly the same desktop interface on iPad and it freaking works brilliant! One hand holds device other via-pen do everything else interface-wise. Sketching on the move - no problemo.

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