Craig Federighi predicts macOS Catalina’s Project Catalyst will benefit iPad too

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Craig Federighi Apple SVP of Software Engineering
Apple’s software chief expects those who develop apps for Mac or iPad to start creating software for both.
Photo: Apple

Project Catalyst enables developers to easily port their iPad applications to Mac. It’s an important part of macOS Catalina, and is expected to bring a rush of new software to Apple’s laptops and desktops. But the company’s head of Software Engineering says the iPad will gain as well.

Rather than developers specializing in Mac or iPad, as is typical now, Craig Federighi sees devs using Catalyst to create great new software for both platforms.

Project Catalyst will catalyze macOS and iPadOS development

Federighi laid out his views in an interview with MacStories, startling with the basic problem:

We see so many apps that are really fantastic on the iPad that I’ve wanted on the Mac, you know, and instead, sometimes I end up using a website, or sometimes I don’t have that functionality available at all.

So the company created what was originally dubbed Project Marzipan but was recently renamed Project Catalyst. The benefit for Mac users is obvious: they’re expected to see software not currently available for macOS ported from iPad. Apple primed the pump by converting some of its iPad software: News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home.

But the flow will go both ways, according to Federighi. The Apple executive said:

“We also want to create a greater reason for a developer to go deep on iPad. You know, if they say, hey, I’ve got an opportunity here, if I really make my iPad app deep — I support … multiple documents open at once, all the kind of extended power functionality for iPad — that’s also going to make it a great Mac app.

“So now we’re going to get better iPad apps, we’re going to get more Mac apps, better Mac apps, that seems great for developers and great for Mac users.”