Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Dec 2017 23:04 UTC

Mark Gurman:

Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it's running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.

Developers currently must design two different apps - one for iOS, the operating system of Apple's mobile devices, and one for macOS, the system that runs Macs. That's a lot more work. What's more, Apple customers have long complained that some Mac apps get short shrift. For example, while the iPhone and iPad Twitter app is regularly updated with the social network's latest features, the Mac version hasn't been refreshed recently and is widely considered substandard. With a single app for all machines, Mac, iPad and iPhone users will get new features and updates at the same time.

Apple currently plans to begin rolling out the change as part of next fall's major iOS and macOS updates, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter. The secret project, codenamed "Marzipan", is one of the tentpole additions for next year's Apple software road map. Theoretically, the plan could be announced as early as the summer at the company's annual developers conference if the late 2018 release plan remains on track. Apple's plans are still fluid, the people said, so the implementation could change or the project could still be canceled.

This is a massive change in Apple's direction. The company and its supporters have always held fast to the concept that there should be two distinct and different operating systems with two distinct and different user interfaces, very much the opposite of what Microsoft is still trying to do with Windows Metro applications and their Surface line-up. This change is basically a complete embrace of Microsoft's vision for the future of computing.

This will have tremendous consequences for both iOS and macOS. For iOS, it probably means we get more advanced, fuller-featured applications, and I think this also pretty much confirms we're going to see a mouse pointer and trackpad/mouse support on iOS in the very near future - just as I predicted earlier this year. For macOS, it might mean a broader base of applications to choose from, but also possibly a dumbing-down of existing applications. A number of Apple applications already work very much like the article states, and they certainly lost functionality on the macOS side of things.

On the more speculative side, this could be the next step in deprecating macOS, which is, in my unfounded opinion, still Apple's ultimate goal here. Note how Apple isn't bringing macOS applications to iOS, but vice versa. Make of that what you will, but I wouldn't have too much faith in the long term viability of macOS as a platform distinct and separate from iOS.

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maybe final straw
by rgs3542 on Thu 21st Dec 2017 20:28 UTC
Member since:

If Apple deprecates macOS for iOS, then that might be the final straw. I have an olde and ancient (2009) Lenovo ThinkPad which outperforms my MacBook Pro hands down. The only thing I can't do running Linux on the T500 is iMessage. The way Apple is stripping all the functionality out of the hardware is not helping, either. I think my next computer will be a Lenovo TP running some form of Linux. This from an old Apple hand with his original 128K Mac in basement and working. We'll see how this all plays out.

Reply Score: 3

RE: maybe final straw
by bryanv on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 16:36 in reply to "maybe final straw"
bryanv Member since:

I agree.

(Posted from my Dell Precision 2250 that I purchased instead of those toy MBPs with the touchyflashything at the top and a terrible keyboard.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: maybe final straw
by Moochman on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 23:49 in reply to "maybe final straw"
Moochman Member since:

Me too. I've been on Mac for about 10 years now and am seriously thinking my next laptop will be Linux (or maybe even Windows if only for the touchscreen).

Thing is, I don't even feel like Mac has gotten worse software-wise. For the most part it's gotten better, it at times in fits and starts. But the hardware and the company politics as a whole have become less and less appealing IMHO. Microsoft on the other hand almost seems cool these days.

Edited 2017-12-22 23:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3