Apple is working on merging its iOS and Mac apps in 2018, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. The company is working on building a unified platform for apps that work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs — just like Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform in Windows 10.
Cupertino is currently targetting the release of iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 for the launch of its new unified platform for apps. While it isn’t clear if the company will be merging the App Store for iOS and Mac apps, the company is expected to release tools required for developers to design a single app that works across all of its devices a bit earlier, possibly at WWDC 2018.
Apple has been rumoured to be unifying iOS and macOS for years now, even though the company’s current CEO Tim Cook isn’t a big fan of the unified experience. Back in 2012, Cook criticised the idea, saying “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.” But a unified platform was bound to happen, especially now that the company continues to invest in mobile computers like the iPad Pro and the modern Macbook.
Apple’s idea behind merging iOS and Mac apps is almost exactly like Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform which allows developers to build a single app that can adapt across computers, laptops, tablets, phones, game consoles, AR headsets, headless hardware, and more. Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform hasn’t been too much of a success, and it fails to attract any of the big names to build UWP apps to this date. iOS developers, on the other hand, are incredibly passionate about Apple and its platforms, so Apple–unlike Microsoft–doesn’t have to worry much about support from third-parties.
<blockquote><a href="#229479"><em>In reply to NoFlames:</em></a></blockquote><p>I don't think this is about bringing iPad apps to the Mac, giving the iPad mouse / trackpad suport or bringing touch to the Mac. Think code convergence at the architectural layer => a single universal app optimized to run on iPad, iPhone, Mac. That's it. Very similar to UWP apps. </p><p>Apple has been telegraphing this move for a couple years => unified language (Swift), unified filesystem (APFS), iOS 11 becoming 64-bit only this year, and macOS becoming 64-bit only next year with 10.14</p>
<blockquote><a href="#229435"><em>In reply to Mark from CO:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think you nailed it. Having a lack of mobile (ie: smartphone) customers is the biggest thing hurting MS.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#229431"><em>In reply to VancouverNinja:</em></a></blockquote><p>As you know, MS is primarily a software company and Apple is primarily a hardware company. There's not many popular Apple-made Mac software applications that would be important for cross platform interoperability and providing them would undermine the sale of Mac hardware which is Apple's goal. MS, on the other hand, is a tiny player in the computer hardware business and makes the bulk of its money through software so it makes sense for them to offer their applications on any significant platform.</p><p><br></p><p>As far as UX design is concerned what great improvements have been made since Windows 7? </p>
<blockquote><a href="#229431"><em>In reply to VancouverNinja:</em></a></blockquote><p>"Macs are falling sorely behind PCs at this point. "</p><p><br></p><p>Huh?? How so? Sale of Mac's just hit their highest quarter ever. Specced out the same the price is no different. There are fewer lost cost options for sure on the Mac side but Apple has never cared about that market.</p><p><br></p><p>"it just feels like OSX is stuck in the 90s and MS is blitzing forward in UX Design"</p><p><br></p><p>You have to be kidding right? OSX is perfect in comparison to Windows 10. You get NO ad's in the OS, ever. You can fully control telemetry and updates. Power management on Mac's is second to NONE. Windows 10 is a UI disaster that keeps getting worse with each update. Example is that stupid people thing which just another thing you need to turn off that no one will ever use. You never really un-install all the garbage. Just add a new user to an existing Windows 10 machine and all that krap comes back. It takes a full 15-30min it rid your PC, or should I say just that user, of all the junk that comes pre-installed.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<p>Paul you need to research this more. It is not like UWP apps. It is more like the old Win 8 approach that combined two different apps into one app package. UWP literally uses one binary for every platform. This does not. Very important distinction that will keep it from becoming popular. </p>
<p>It's hard to tell just how "unified" iOS and macOS will become at this point, but it has the potential to be a big mistake. Such schemes (when they work at all) always compromise the user experience. The design of an application on the desktop will always be constrained if it must also run on a small screen device. </p>