Software developers will soon be able to design universal iOS / macOS applications that work with a touchscreen or mouse / trackpad, depending on whether they are running on the iPhone and iPad hardware or on a Mac. The App Merger Initiative, called Project Marzipan, comes as Apple plans to replace Intel chips with its own Mac processors.
Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:
Later this year, Apple plans to let developers submit their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development set that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference.
Developers will still have to send separate versions of the app to Apple's IOS and Mac App Stores, but the new set will mean they don't have to write the underlying software code twice, the people knew about the plan.
WWDC would take place June 3-7 at San Jose's McEnery Convention Center.
The ultimate goal of the multi-step initiative is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and make it work on iPhone, iPads and Mac. But despite the app merger plan, Apple has said it won't combine iOS and macOS into a single operating system, so that's it.
By 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone apps can be converted to Mac apps in the same way. Apple engineers have found this challenging because iPhone monitors are so much smaller than Mac computer monitors.
Hopefully this will not result in inflated apps that would look unnatural on non-smartphone screens such as the non-optimized Android tablet apps.  By 2021, developers will be able to merge iPhone, iPad and Mac applications into an app or what is called a single binary. This means developers do not have to submit work to different Apple App Stores, so iOS apps are downloaded directly from Macs and effectively combine the stores.
I suppose it would be a central store that filtered content based on platform. If I visited it on my iPhone, macOS apps would be hidden and vice versa. We'll also need an option to view all apps (for example, displaying iPad apps while browsing App Store's only iPhone search results) so you can download and install an app on your Mac from your phone or tablet.
Apple's hope is that the new framework will spur the creation of new software and increase the use of the company's gadgets. Some major developers have discontinued native macOS apps for the benefit of their online counterparts, such as Twitter.
The most direct advantage is to make life easier for the millions of developers writing software for Apple devices. For example, later this year, Netflix could more easily offer a Mac app to watch video by converting the iPad app.
In 2021, Twitter, which has mostly left the Mac platform, could publish a single app for all Apple
Project Marzipan, if done right, can solve these miseries.
A worry-free trend among lazy developers against using third-party software frames to build apps once that works across many platforms has resulted in all sorts of junk software. A good example of this: electron-based apps, such as Slack, NordVPN and many others. The biggest problem with such cross-platform applications is that they don't really respect each operating system platform specific feature. As a result, you do not get MacOS features such as spell checking that all native Mac apps become "free".
Bloomberg first broke news about Marzipan Project in December 2017, saying that Apple was working on new tools to help programmers design, construct, and compile a single app binary that would run over the iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. It would not be until 2018 WWDC in June 2018 that the company gave a talk on the new framework.
We are now in phase 1 of Project Marzipan with Apple, testing the new framework by porting stocks, home and other iOS apps to macOS mojave. The Cupertino firm basically took the criminal IOS framework and adapted it to MacOS and the behaviors tailored to desktop computing, such as trackpad, mouse, and window usage.
The first programmed Marzipan programs are quite awful.
Looking more closely at Home, Stocks and News apps on Mac, you will notice all kinds of inconsistencies and illogical user interface layouts. You can clearly tell that there are some intermediate software layers so these iOS apps can run on macOS.
Having said that, I have no doubt that Phase 2, 3 and so on will see great improvements in speed and responsiveness. And when Macs finally hit Intel chips for Apple-designated processors, I have the feeling that these ported apps will run native to macOS.
And for those wondering, the initiative to replace Intel chips in Mac with the Apple design, called Kalamata, is still in the early stages of development.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo listed four benefits for Apple as a result of switching to their own Mac chips. First, Apple can control everything about Mac design and production and be free from the negative consequences of Intel's unreliable roadmap.
Second, Apple will increase its own profits by reducing processor costs. Third, it can gain market share if these savings are translated at lower prices. And the fourth, by using their own chips, would lead to further differentiation of the Mac platform from competing products.
How are you doing with Project Marzipan? Please let us know in the comments!
Top Image: Luna Display Adapter Switches an iPad to a Secondary Display