Apple is supposedly working on a way to let developers create apps which work on iPhones, iPads, and Macs — but don’t expect to see it any time soon.
When news of the plan was first leaked in December, it was suggested that the feature may be announced at this year’s WWDC event. However, according to Apple watcher John Gruber, while Apple may still be working on a project like this, it is more likely to arrive with MacOS 10.15 and iOS 13 in 2019.
Marzipan: Not this year
Gruber’s report notes that the project is no longer being known internally as “Marzipan,” the codename that was used for it in the early days. His report admits that it is based on “mostly second-hand” sources, although these are said to be consistent with on another.
“I don’t have extensive details, but basically it sounds like a declarative control API. The general idea is that rather than writing classic procedural code to, say, make a button, then configure the button, then position the button inside a view, you instead declare the button and its attributes using some other form. HTML is probably the most easily understood example. In HTML you don’t procedurally create elements like paragraphs, images, and tables — you declare them with tags and attributes in markup. There’s an industry-wide trend toward declaration, perhaps best exemplified by React, that could be influencing Apple in this direction.”
Gruber’s article paints a very different picture to the original December Bloomberg report. Bloomberg‘s report specifically described cross-platform apps, while Gruber’s report refers to morean approach to programming that, as he notes, is not “inherently cross-platform.”
While there’s still a chance that Apple could surprise us with an announcement at WWDC, this sounds more like an attempt to scale back developer’s expectations.
Following a series of recent criticisms concerning security and quality assurance (some of which were outlined by my colleague Killian Bell here), Apple is supposedly focusing this year on stability instead of updating its big iOS features. Maybe that same attitude is carried over to projects like Marzipan, too.