Catalyst versions of Messages and Shortcuts on the way to macOS

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iMessage effects
A look at one of the new animations on Messages.
Screenshot: Steve Troughton-Smith

Apple is working to bring new versions of Messages and Shortcuts to Mac, according to code discovered in the latest beta of macOS 10.15 Catalina.

The code was uncovered by developer Steve Troughton-Smith. This would be the first time Shortcuts is available on macOS devices. While Messages is currently on Mac, it looks to be getting a big overhaul.

“There is a whole lot of evidence in Catalina that [Apple is] working on a full, Catalyst version of Messages, much like Shortcuts for Mac,” Troughton-Smith wrote on Twitter. “So, just like Shortcuts, I decided to cut to the chase and do it myself by calling the system frameworks.”

Catalyst (formerly Project Marzipan) refers to the framework Apple unveiled at WWDC. This makes it easier to translate iOS app to Mac. As we noted earlier, work on News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home apps is finished. But this suggests that work on two more apps is also underway.

The ‘halo Catalyst apps we’re waiting for’

“Messages and Shortcuts could be the halo Catalyst apps we’re waiting for, but either they’re not ready, or they’re being left for a later version of macOS,” Troughton-Smith continued. “Let’s hope they arrive by the time Catalina is released!”

Elsewhere, he clarifies, “this isn’t a ‘marzipanified’ version of the Messages app from the iOS Simulator. This is the ‘native’ Catalyst UI coming from the macOS 10.15 system frameworks. Just like Shortcuts, it’s all there, and mostly works if you know how to talk to it”

In terms of look and feel, the Catalyst version of Messages looks far more Mac-like than the iOS 13 version.

While we may have to wait to get to try out the finished product for ourselves, though, Troughton-Smith whets our appetite with a neat look at some of the Messages animations.

You can find out more about Shortcuts in macOS 10.15 Catalina through a blog post recently published by Troughton-Smith.