Gruber: Apple's Cross-Platform App Support to Debut in 2019, Not 2018

Rumored cross-platform functionality that will allow Macs to run iPhone and iPad apps is planned for macOS 10.15 and iOS 13 rather than macOS 10.14 and iOS 12, according to well-known Apple journalist John Gruber.

Gruber shared the tidbit in a blog post covering "scuttlebutt" he's heard about the cross-platform UI project, which he says is indeed in the works at Apple.

ios app store mac app store
News of support for universal apps able to run on iPhone, iPad, and Mac was first shared by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in December. At the time, Gurman said Apple would introduce the functionality in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, with an announcement likely to happen at the Worldwide Developer's Conference in June.

Gurman and Axios' Ina Fried later confirmed in January that the combined app framework was on the table for 2018 despite other planned iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 features being pushed back, but Gruber says he's "nearly certain" it's a 2019 project for macOS 10.15 and iOS 13, which could also be part of an updated UI for iOS said to be coming next year. "I would set your expectations accordingly for this year's WWDC," he writes.

According to Gruber, from what he's heard through first and second-hand sources, Apple appears to be working on declarative control APIs for iOS and macOS, which suggests Apple wants to make it easy for developers to create modern cross-platform user interfaces. Gruber's info is not as definitive as outright support for cross-platform iOS and macOS apps as has been previously reported, but it is an indication that Apple is working towards that goal.

There's nothing inherently cross-platform about a declarative control API. But it makes sense that if Apple believes that (a) iOS and MacOS should have declarative control APIs, and (b) they should address the problem of abstracting the API differences between UIKit (iOS) and AppKit (MacOS), that they would tackle them at the same time. Or perhaps the logic is simply that if they're going to create a cross-platform UI framework, the basis for that framework should be a declarative user interface.

It's not clear who is correct on the timing of the universal app project given the conflicting information, but we don't have long to wait to find out. macOS 10.14 and iOS 12 will be introduced at the keynote event of the Worldwide Developers Conference, which is set to take place on June 4.

Gruber's full writeup with additional details on the project can be found over at Daring Fireball.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2022

Top Rated Comments

wildpod Avatar
49 months ago
The new Apple: no new Mac Pro, no updated Macbook Air, no new unified UI framework...watch bands it is then.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
49 months ago
Coming from Gruber, this is obviously a planned "fake leak" blessed by Apple. Apple giving us the heads up that cross platform apps are still a ways away.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TiggrToo Avatar
49 months ago
Not looking good for iOS 12 or Mac OS 10.14. Only speed, performance and emojis.
Aka system stability. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
martyjmclean Avatar
49 months ago
Not looking good for iOS 12 or Mac OS 10.14. Only speed, performance and emojis.
How is speed, performance and emojis not good?

This makes sense, given the comments that iOS 12 scraped the homescreen redesign to focus on stability.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bryan Bowler Avatar
49 months ago
All I want in the next operating systems is stability. I'm mega-fed up with problems that are constantly introduced!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bacillus Avatar
49 months ago
So...because it’s a difficult problem to solve, that means it can’t be solved?

Sounds to me like the sort of thing that is ripe for innovative thinking. Because that’s what innovation actually is. Problem solving with clever solutions. This is exactly the sort of challenge the Mac has needed to get some creative problem solving flowing in the macOS team.
Except that there is no macOS team anymore (only ad-hoc redressed teams that either do some macOS work, and then some iOS work)
Currently, that lack of core competencies/product specialists coincides with many of either platform‘s quality problems in the Cook era.
If Launchpad and Siri for macOS are amongst the “creative problem solving” that you mention, I’d consider that as solutions waiting for a problem. “Inspired” by some Board-level pipedream to bring iOS profitability into macOS, or a Cookette panacea to save a starving (mismanaged) Mac Appstore.
I can’t think of any iOS functionality to enrich Mac users (beyond what iDevices already bring) other than touch - which is exactly what Apple does not want.
Most iOS apps are an insult to Mac users both in terms of functionality and UX.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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