MacOS Catalina’s Best New Feature is Off to a Rough Start

Posted on October 8, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in iPadOS, Mac and macOS with 28 Comments

Apple began delivering macOS Catalina to all compatible Macs yesterday, but upgraders are already noticing a major problem: That Catalyst functionality that was supposed to bring iPad apps to the Mac hasn’t delivered a single compelling app yet. Worse, it appears that paid apps will need to be purchased again on the Mac, angering some users.

I noticed the problems with Catalyst last night when I booted up the initial shipping version of macOS Catalina last night and headed into the Mac App Store to see what was new. The answer is, not much.

Apple is highlighting the first wave of Catalyst apps right at the top of the Mac App Store’s main view, called Discover, in a section called “Apps You Love, Now on Mac.” But I recognized just one app in this collection, for the Rosetta Stone language learning service. And there are fewer than 25 apps in the collection so far.

According to a Bloomberg report this morning, the issue is that Catalyst is “frustrating to developers” because of the amount of work it requires to actually port an app from iPad to Mac. Apple has claimed earlier that this was an incredibly easy process, and could be as simple as checking a box in Xcode, Apple’s developer environment. It’s not.

Apple has declined to comment on the problems. But it says that more iPad apps are coming to Mac in the near future.

That said, some heavy hitters have already publicly denounced the technology. Netflix, for example, says that it will not bring its iPad app to the Mac. And two games, DC Universe and Asphalt 9, had previously been promised on Catalyst but are now no longer featured on Apple’s website.

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