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Apple Plans to Let Developers Release Universal Apps That Work Across iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple aims to allow developers to release universal apps that work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac as early as next year, according to Bloomberg News.

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.
Apple tentatively plans to begin rolling out the change in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 next year, and it could announce the news as soon as WWDC 2018 in June, according to the report. The exact timeline is subject to change.

Apple typically previews the next major versions of its iOS and macOS operating systems at WWDC in June, with beta versions of each platform available to developers and public testers until September, so it's possible APIs for universal apps will begin rolling out in the pre-release software.

Apple currently requires developers to design separate apps for iOS and macOS, but iPhone and iPad apps often receive more attention than their Mac counterparts in a mobile-first world. The report said it's unclear if Apple will eventually merge the less-popular Mac App Store with the App Store for iOS.

The project is reportedly codenamed "Marzipan" and is considered to be one of the biggest changes on Apple's roadmap next year. The report speculates that universal apps would make it easier for Apple to one day create a single operating system for all of its devices, should it ever go down that avenue.

Apple would be following in the footsteps of Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform, aimed at helping developers create universal apps that run across Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, the latter of which is being phased out.



Top Rated Comments

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9 weeks ago
My main worry about universal apps is bloat.
Rating: 42 Votes
9 weeks ago
A prerequisite being a shiny new ARM based Mac?
Rating: 35 Votes
9 weeks ago
Mouse support for iPad would actually let it be a true, productive laptop. I know Apple won't do it because it would blur their product lines, but they really should.
Rating: 20 Votes
9 weeks ago
This is brilliant, I don’t think they should create 1 OS, but things like this will make things like handoff more seamless and hopefully be a big step for Mac games too as iOS games become more advanced.
Rating: 20 Votes
9 weeks ago
They should have done this since the beginning.
Rating: 19 Votes
9 weeks ago
Finally....of course though the concern is that this means more Mac apps will get gutted like with iWork during the initial transition (pages is still not fully up to par with the old version).
Rating: 18 Votes
9 weeks ago
I knew it would only be a matter of time before Tim Cook started leading Apple towards one operating system and this is the beginning of the change. And I’m not sure I will like what the future will bring...
Rating: 17 Votes
9 weeks ago
I foresee cheap iOS apps that can be extended to macOS apps with (expensive) in-app purchases.
Rating: 16 Votes
9 weeks ago

My main worry about universal apps is bloat.


As long as devs are using things like Asset Catalogs, App Thinning should mean that only the required resources for that device are downloaded. When you download a universal app on iPhone, it doesn't download the iPad assets as well. I'd expect it to work the same if universal apps worked on Mac too.

This is contingent with developers using the latest APIs etc, but that historically hasn't been a huge issue.
Rating: 13 Votes
9 weeks ago
So similar to UWP on Windows?
Rating: 12 Votes

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