Apple’s first apps ported from iOS get more ‘Mac-like’

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Project Catalyst Twitter
Apple uses Twitter to demo porting iPad software to Mac because its own offerings are... not so good.
Photo: Apple

The first four applications Apple ported from iOS to macOS Mojave last year met with a certain amount of criticism for feeling like they were still iPad software. An Apple executive has promised these will become more “Mac-like.”

News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos started life as iOS applications and made the jump to Mac as the first fruits of Project Catalyst. This is designed to enable any developer, not just Apple, to easily port software designed for iPad to Mac.

However, many people didn’t think Apple tried hard enough to make these feel like macOS software. That’s something Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering, promises to change in macOS Catalina.

“When I read some of the initial reviews of those apps, people were saying, ‘Obviously this technology is causing them to do things that don’t feel Mac-like,’” Federighi told Cnet. “Honestly, 90% of those were just decisions that designers made.”

But he admitted it was time for a facelift. “We’ve looked at the design and features of some of those apps and said we can make this a bit more of a Mac experience,” the executive revealed. “We said we’ve got to co-evolve with our user base around the aesthetics of the Mac experience. And so we made some adjustments to the apps.”

More benefits of Project Catalyst

Bringing these four iOS apps to Mac served as a demonstration of Project Catalyst. The long-term goal of this is a wave of iOS software that’s not currently available for macOS getting ported over.

Apple says “It’s incredibly simple to start building a native Mac app from your current iPad app. Your apps share the same project and source code, so you can efficiently convert your iPad app’s desktop-class features, and add more just for Mac.”

Twitter has become the poster child for Project Catalyst among third-party apps. A native macOS Catalina version has been promised, and it won‘t be just a straight port of the iPad app.