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

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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RE: This can't end well.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 21st Dec 2017 23:48 UTC in reply to "This can't end well."
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Absurd. It can end very well. I think tablet/phone/desktop apps make a ton of sense. Just as the UI changes between iphone and ipad, it can be done to include desktop.

Same app, three different user interfaces. When it makes sense to swipe on phones, there is a visible control for achieving the same action that is more logical to the platform.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: This can't end well.
by darknexus on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 17:57 in reply to "RE: This can't end well."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

You're counting on developers not being lazy and coding for the broadest market, i.e. mobile. How well did that work for UWP? I've yet to see a UWP app that works well using a desktop paradigm. We're lucky that most iOS developers even care enough to do a tablet UI in the first place; see Android tablets for an example of what happens when they just blow the phone version up large.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Emphasis should have been on "CAN" end up well. No idea if developers will actually design three good UI's. It just has the possibility of being good.

Reply Parent Score: 3

denis.lafronde Member since:
2016-04-03

UWP works well for the desktop. It's a windows with buttons, controls, content. Just like any other Win32 apps. They are mostly simple apps, but they work well. The mail app, Groove, etc... They are just fine (except being too simple for some advanced users).

You can put keyboard shortcuts on them, make the UI compact or not...

I don't see a problem here.

Reply Parent Score: 1