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Apple WWDC19: MacOS Wish List

We're just a few days out of Apple's 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) now, and that means we're going to end an Apple world dominated by talk about IOS 12 and MacOS Mojave, and enter a focused on the next version of both. Last week I explained my dreams for iOS 13. Now it's Mac's turn.

Marzipan done right

  wwdc 2018 IOS Mac Apps icons IDG

Project Marzipan, which Apple talked about last year's WWDC, will be the highlight of this year's conference.

I will bet that Apple this year's WWDC will spend more time focusing on macOS than at any time this decade. But for those who see the WWDC as a blow between Mac and IOS for Apple's attention, it will feel a bit bittersweet. The renewed focus on the Mac site will largely be about Apple, giving the iOS app developers the ability to quickly bring their apps to the Mac. This system, which Apple did not mention when giving a "sneak peek" to the plans last year, is generally referred to in the press as "Maripan" after a code name reported by Mark Gurman from Bloomberg early last year. [1

9659007] Whether Apple ends up calling it (if it even gives it a formal name, instead of just calling it "UIKit on macOS"), it will be the center of attention at WWDC. Here are the core terms.

  • How easy is it to make marzipan papers? Most of the WWDC participants are iOS developers. I'm sure many of them will be intrigued by reaching Mac users with their apps. I expect that on stage, Apple will show how easy it can be to bring iOS apps to macOS. The devil will be in the details – which will probably be found in later sessions of the conference. With some luck, Apple will provide tools to make it easy for app developers to improve their apps, so they don't feel that iOS apps are plopped on macOS, but like real native Mac apps. I would like to see an iOS app demo in the main note showing how good the marzipan apps look on macOS, along with a testimony of how little work it was to make the switch.

  • How much access will "classic" Mac apps have new features in MacOS? The flip to bring IOS technologies and apps to the Mac is that there are a number of existing programs like not built with these technologies that Mac users rely on. Will the developers of these programs make some modifications this summer that will allow them to also benefit from new technology? Here's an example: It's a rumor that Apple will add Siri Shortcuts to macOS. I suppose the marzipanapps will be able to relate to the technology that they do on iOS. But what about existing Mac apps? If they are boxed out of technologies like this, create a sketch of two different generations of Mac apps, it will be painful for the users of those apps.

  • How strange will Marzipan apps be for users? This is the big one, and while we get some clues next week, it can take the fall (and the release of the first marzipan notes) until we really know it. It's almost certain that, with the influx of iOS apps for Mac, how we judge an app like "Mac-like" is changing. But that being said, consistency is important. The users don't even care about the development APIs used to build their apps, but if Mac App A looks and behaves differently than Mac App B, it's bad. Mac apps have all sorts of features that are either not on iOS or not prioritized by the menu bar, hotkeys, and multiple windows, to name three. How seamless a transition will this be?

Synchronize with iOS

Beyond the details of the Maripan itself, this is a possibility that Apple can find more device between iOS and macOS. I'm not saying that the two platforms have to look the same way and behave in the same way – although a little more synergy between the iPad and Mac will be appreciated – but there are still a number of small areas that differ in ways that seem unnecessary.

  ios12 screen time report Apple

Screen time for iOS debuted last year. Could a Mac version be in the works?

Last year, Apple added screen time to iOS, and while I hope it's improved this year, it was a great start. Parental controls on MacOS, on the other hand, are quite rudimentary and completely disconnected from Screen Time. As parents with children who have both iOS and macOS devices, I'd prefer to manage them all.

Messages is an app that has been behind its iOS counterpart for many years, probably because of its much older code base, remember I chat? If the marzipan is the method Apple chooses to let me send messages with iMessage effects or Memoji stickers, take it on. I'm tired of having to mentally chart what behavior I'm allowed on Mac and what I'm allowed on IOS.

There are still a few places where MacOS and IOS terminology still differ. The System Preferences app, for example, should only rename settings. I'm sure there are many other terminological examples. The app platforms come together – let's take this as an opportunity to reach the rest of these things.

Boost Mac App Store

Last year, Apple presented a redesign of the Mac App Store and spied the return of some key developers to the store. Behind the scenes, the company has added a bunch of new technologies that allow App Store apps to request more power than they were previously allowed to use. I want to see Apple make more progress in this direction, so the Mac App Store becomes a place that makes sense to the developers of all Mac software, rather than a home for a few tools and a flood of apps transferred from iOS.

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