Apple plans to merge iOS and macOS apps by 2021


Office Mac App Store
Your favorite apps could soon be available on any Apple device.
Photo: Apple

Apple plans to make it easy for developers to merge iOS and macOS apps into one by 2021, according to a new report.

The project, dubbed “Marzipan,” hopes to encourage development and boost App Store revenue. It will start with a new software development kit that will let developers port their iPad apps to Mac later this year.

Apple has always denied suggestions that it will one day merge iOS and macOS into a do-it-all operating system for both mobile and desktop devices. Instead, it wants developers to build software that is compatible with both platforms.

By 2021, Apple hopes to be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps into one, Bloomberg reports.

Apple wants universal apps for all its devices

Apple has already previewed a new SDK that will allow developers to bring their iPad apps to macOS. They will still need to build and submit two versions of their app for the different devices, but the kit will negate the need to write the underlying code twice.

That SDK could launch at WWDC this June, Bloomberg says, citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans — and it’s just the start of Apple’s much bigger plan to bring streamline software.

Next year, it is believed the SDK will expand to support the porting of iPhone apps. Apple engineers have found this “challenging because iPhone screens are so much smaller” than Mac displays, but it’s thought the kinks will have been worked out by 2020.

By 2021, Apple reportedly plans to give developers the opportunity to merge iOS and macOS apps into one package, or a “single binary.” This will allow just one app to be submitted for use on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Plans could change

This is the roadmap Apple has in mind right now, the sources claim, but Bloomberg notes that “the plans are fluid and could be altered.”

With iOS devices becoming just as powerful as their macOS cousins — even more powerful in some cases — it makes sense for Apple to offer software that’s compatible with both platforms. It hopes that the move will boost development and revenue.

It will also make life a lot easier for developers who build software for multiple Apple platforms, and it will have benefits for the Mac’s rumored transition from Intel to Apple chips by 2020.


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