Apple Looks to Release New SDK That Lets iPad Apps Run on the Mac

Apple is going to build on its plan on merging iOS and macOS apps this year. The company first announced its plans, codenamed Marzipan internally, at last year’s WWDC developer conference. It even shipped a couple of native iOS apps as part of macOS Mojave to give users a taste of what’s to come.

And at WWDC this year, the company is taking things further.

According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to release a new SDK for developers that will allow them to convert iPad apps to run on the Mac. The new kit will mean that iPad app developers like Netflix will be able to convert their existing iPad app to run on a Mac. The only limitation, however, is that developers will continue to have to release separate versions of their apps on the iOS and Mac App Stores for the time being.

Apple plans to expand the SDK to support iOS apps in 2020, though the company is currently struggling with problems surrounding the fact that iPhone apps are much harder to scale for the bigger screen of the Mac. And if the company really is planning to release a 16-inch MacBook Pro this year, that’s definitely going to be a problem.

Apple’s ultimate goal, however, is to combine all the different platforms and turn it into a single, universal App Store — much like Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform in Windows 10. Cupertino plans to achieve this by 2021, allowing developers to make apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac with a single code base, and submit them through a single, combined App Store.

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  • codymesh

    20 February, 2019 - 7:12 am

    <p>can't wait to see MacOS users freak out about this like Windows users back in 2015</p>

    • locust infested orchard inc

      20 February, 2019 - 10:12 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406042">In reply to codymesh:</a></em></blockquote><p>The iSheeple embrace everything their masters at Cupertino feed them. There shall be no backlash.</p>

    • provision l-3

      20 February, 2019 - 11:30 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406042">In reply to codymesh:</a></em></blockquote><p>Considering Apple announced this last June and there was no freakout I'm guessing you are probably going to be waiting awhile. </p>

      • codymesh

        20 February, 2019 - 8:56 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#406110">In reply to provision l-3:</a></em></blockquote><p>there has already been quite a bit of freakout. Go read what Daring Fireball or 9to5mac have been saying about these new apps on the mac</p>

        • provision l-3

          21 February, 2019 - 1:49 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#406245">In reply to codymesh:</a></em></blockquote><p>I actually read both and while both and 9to5mac's most recent article was positive about the idea and Gruber was skeptical of the relevance of doing it. We might use the word freakout differently but I wouldn't characterize either as a freakout. </p>

  • nbplopes

    20 February, 2019 - 7:19 am

    <p>It makes sense, now that their engeneers have a clear grasp of the problem domain</p>

    • dontbe evil

      20 February, 2019 - 8:09 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406043">In reply to nbplopes:</a></em></blockquote><p>yeah apple fans can't wait to play with animoji and AR toys</p>

  • dontbe evil

    20 February, 2019 - 8:08 am

    <p>but but nobody wants apps on a pc … oh no that's about windows, this is about apple: this is so cool, apple is the best!!!</p>

    • spacein_vader

      Premium Member
      20 February, 2019 - 9:58 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406046">In reply to dontbe_evil:</a></em></blockquote><p>Your pc isn't much use without apps, word, excel, Firefox, chrome etc are all apps. </p>

      • skane2600

        20 February, 2019 - 1:36 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#406071">In reply to spacein_vader:</a></em></blockquote><p>You were downvoted most likely because many people make a distinction between "apps" and "programs". </p>

        • locust infested orchard inc

          20 February, 2019 - 10:07 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#406145">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Except if one is either an iSheep Millennial or Blandroid Millennial, where the distinction between 'apps' and 'software applications' / 'programs' is met with a lost face look, thereby suggesting an utter indifference to lexical semantics.</p>

          • dontbe evil

            20 February, 2019 - 11:50 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#406263">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>just read comments about windows 10 UWP apps, and most of people clearly make a distintcion with the word "apps", I was mocking them</p>

          • skane2600

            21 February, 2019 - 2:08 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#406263">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>I would imagine anyone like that would find Apple's "What's a computer?" campaign to be perfectly logical. </p>

  • jdjan

    Premium Member
    20 February, 2019 - 9:36 am

    <p>Seems kind of pointless without touchscreen Macs. Come on Apple. You can do it. </p>

  • locust infested orchard inc

    20 February, 2019 - 10:10 am

    <p>Whilst Apple needs an SDK to get iØS apps running on macØS (as a temporary stop gap), UWP apps can run natively on both W10M/WP and on Windows 10/8.</p><p><br></p><p>And whoever said UWP is a flawed/silly idea. Apple showing their technological superiority by imitating that which was done four years prior by Microsoft.</p><p><br></p><p>iSheeple will herald this as a World's first. Whatever.</p>

    • dontbe evil

      20 February, 2019 - 11:48 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406075">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>butthurt applefans didn't like your comment, have an upvote from me</p>

    • irfaanwahid

      21 February, 2019 - 1:02 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406075">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>The only and biggest difference will be, Apple's developer community are going to support this single base or Universal App Platform/Store whatever.</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft developers for some reason shows no love to Microsoft anymore. The MS Store is still a lackluster, albeit it is better than few years back.</p><p><br></p><p>If developers really supported Microsoft UWP vision, then we wouldn't have seen slow demise of Windows Phone and maybe, Windows Desktop would still be relevant (outside Enterprise).</p>

      • skane2600

        21 February, 2019 - 2:03 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#406294">In reply to irfaanwahid:</a></em></blockquote><p>It was a chicken and the egg problem. MS didn't do all they could have to promote the Windows Phone and thus there was no viable business opportunity for UWP apps and their Windows 8/8.1 predecessors. Not to mention that MS essentially turned up its nose to its legacy developers in favor of chasing a mobile future that was never going to arrive.</p>

    • skane2600

      21 February, 2019 - 1:57 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406075">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>The fate of the Windows Phone had already been determined before Windows 10 came along. One can only speculate how much faster MS could have delivered a touch-oriented OS for smartphones if they hadn't got distracted by coupling it with a desktop version of Windows. </p><p><br></p><p>I'm not an Apple fan but you have to admit there's a big difference between integrating mobile apps with your desktop when the mobile platform has proven itself viable in the market for years vs combing an unproven mobile platform with your desktop OS.</p>

    • curtisspendlove

      21 February, 2019 - 3:36 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406075">In reply to locust infested orchard inc:</a></em></blockquote><p>Heh. I wish I could still find a supported Windows Phone to run an app on. </p><p><br></p><p>And no, “Marzipan” apps aren’t the first time anyone has done a fat binary bundle…in fact, it won’t even be Apple’s first universal binary format. </p><p><br></p><p>Although this time they have a significantly better tool chain in what they can do with the LLVM. </p><p><br></p><p>From what I can tell it is starting out as a macOS implementation of UIKit that XCode can statically link to (instead of the iOS specific UIKit runtimes). So I don’t even think these first couple years are going to be universal binaries…they will be separate binaries built and linked to their specific targets. Though I expect it will eventually be some sort of API conversion / compatibility layer over time. </p><p><br></p><p>Fat binaries have been used during the NeXTSTEP times, for quite a few Linux applications, and even back in the DOS days when DOS ran on a few different architectures. </p><p><br></p><p>Regardless, Apple learned a lot during both the PowerPC to Intel transition and the classic Macintosh OS to Mach-O (Darwin) transition. These things might start as fat binaries, but they will eventually be fully based on bitcode. </p><p><br></p><p>In fact, having followed how Apple plans things out years in advance, I expect bitcode was built to solve at least 3 near-term problems. </p><p><br></p><p>1 – aggressive Apple Watch hardware rampup (particularly the nearly seamless 32-bit to 64-bit transition)</p><p>2 – the bigger brother of Marzipan</p><p>3 – the offering of Intel and ARM Macs (or full transition thereof)</p><p><br></p><p>Ultimately, you’ll be able to build, bundle, and submit a single “application” deliverable to the App Store, and the store will be able to download and build the proper executable binary for whatever device the store is running on. </p>

      • skane2600

        21 February, 2019 - 3:54 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#406311">In reply to curtisspendlove:</a></em></blockquote><p>Interesting speculation but I'm a skeptic with regard to the final scenario you described. Unless one creates programs with a more limited "multi-platform friendly" feature set, they are not going to be the same on all devices.</p><p><br></p><p>I don't see this as an Apple problem, I see it as an universal problem. In the general case, form-factor issues can't be abstracted away. </p>

        • curtisspendlove

          21 February, 2019 - 4:25 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#406324">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Didn’t say it would be the same on all devices. I said the device would pull the appropriate Bitcode for itself and run its version of the App. </p><p><br></p><p>The App would be running different UI code depending on what it is while maintaining common core libraries. Granted, if the developer didn’t want to go to that much work, they could use the common library ports for any given device. But then you end up with weird crap like the iOS “date spinner” running on macOS. Which is…less than ideal. </p>

          • skane2600

            21 February, 2019 - 12:45 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#406329">In reply to curtisspendlove:</a></em></blockquote><p>Of course common libraries have been SOP for many decades, so there's nothing new there. If all it is is multiple binaries combined into a single file, it doesn't seem to provide much improvement in programmer productivity over a more traditional approach. I guess uploading a single file to a store rather than n files would save a few minutes.</p>

  • locust infested orchard inc

    20 February, 2019 - 10:19 am

    <p>Since iPharce apps don't scale well on larger displays, no doubt the clever clowns at Apple will come up with CShell for the Mac.</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft has been there, done that, and even got the T-shirt, and soon we'll be rewarded for our patience and Microsoft's perseverance with the launch of Andromeda (with CShell), albeit pushed back till after the launch of Centaurus.</p><p><br></p><p>Since the untimely departure of Steve Jobs (RIP), Apple have been a continuous source of hilarity, rich in satirical fodder. But this news simply takes the almond (because Apple's UWP is codenaned Marzipan).</p><p><br></p><p>:ROTFLMFAO:</p>

  • provision l-3

    20 February, 2019 - 11:29 am

    <p>Mehedi, you are almost a year late on this. Apple announced last WWDC that they were going to roll this out to iOS developers this year. </p>

    • MikeGalos

      20 February, 2019 - 8:52 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#406109">In reply to provision l-3:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>With Apple you really do need to have a separate story on their "we're going to ship this" and "we shipped this" announcements since sometimes the preemptive "we're going to ship this" vaporware announcements are years before the produce. Think of their wireless charger or the Mac Pro which STILL haven't shipped but were hyped like crazy at their "announcement" to make sure loyal users weren't tempted to switch.</p>

      • dontbe evil

        20 February, 2019 - 11:47 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#406244">In reply to MikeGalos:</a></em></blockquote><p>and don't forget "it's your fault" (you're holding it wrong) and "it's not a bug, it's a feature"</p>

      • provision l-3

        21 February, 2019 - 12:17 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#406244">In reply to MikeGalos:</a></em></blockquote><p>Credit where credit is due, this is far better criticism than that time you made up an Apple product demo and then accused Apple of faking the demo that you made up. This is at least based in reality. </p>

  • skane2600

    20 February, 2019 - 1:34 pm

    <p>As described, it doesn't actually allow iOS apps to run on MacOS, it provides a more convenient method for porting an iOS app to MacOS than what currently exists. </p>

  • garrygbain

    20 February, 2019 - 2:21 pm

    <p>MS so need to bring back Mobile OS.</p>


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