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

Posted on February 20, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, Hardware, iOS, Mac and macOS with 30 Comments

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.

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (30)

30 responses to “Apple Looks to Release New SDK That Lets iPad Apps Run on the Mac”

  1. Avatar

    codymesh

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

  2. Avatar

    skane2600

    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.

  3. Avatar

    provision l-3

    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.

  4. Avatar

    locust infested orchard inc

    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.


    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.


    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).


    :ROTFLMFAO:

  5. Avatar

    locust infested orchard inc

    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.


    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.


    iSheeple will herald this as a World's first. Whatever.

    • Avatar

      irfaanwahid

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      The only and biggest difference will be, Apple's developer community are going to support this single base or Universal App Platform/Store whatever.


      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.


      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).

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to irfaanwahid:

        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.

    • Avatar

      curtisspendlove

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      Heh. I wish I could still find a supported Windows Phone to run an app on.


      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.


      Although this time they have a significantly better tool chain in what they can do with the LLVM.


      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.


      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.


      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.


      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.


      1 - aggressive Apple Watch hardware rampup (particularly the nearly seamless 32-bit to 64-bit transition)

      2 - the bigger brother of Marzipan

      3 - the offering of Intel and ARM Macs (or full transition thereof)


      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.

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        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.


        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.

        • Avatar

          curtisspendlove

          In reply to skane2600:

          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.


          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.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to curtisspendlove:

            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.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      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.


      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.

    • Avatar

      dontbe evil

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      butthurt applefans didn't like your comment, have an upvote from me

  6. Avatar

    jdjan

    Seems kind of pointless without touchscreen Macs. Come on Apple. You can do it.

  7. Avatar

    dontbe evil

    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!!!

  8. Avatar

    nbplopes

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

  9. Avatar

    garrygbain

    MS so need to bring back Mobile OS.

Leave a Reply