Craig Federighi on iPad's Long-Awaited External Drive Support: 'We're Willing to Acknowledge the 1990s'

On the latest episode of the AppStories podcast, MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci sat down with Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi to discuss WWDC 2019 announcements, including Project Catalyst, SwiftUI, and iPadOS.

hair force one wwdc 2019

Craig Federighi at WWDC 2019

Project Catalyst will make it much easier for developers to extend iPad apps to the Mac. In many cases, adding macOS support to an iPad app is as easy as opening an Xcode project and clicking the Mac checkbox, although Apple encourages developers to further optimize their apps to offer a true Mac experience.

Federighi believes Project Catalyst will allow many developers to bring their ‌iPad‌ apps to the Mac, as Apple has bridged the gap between its UIKit framework for iOS apps and its AppKit framework for Mac apps:

UIKit and AppKit always remained these two separate worlds, and depending on what a developer did, they could build an app that was sort of factored in a way that they shared a lot of cross-platform code, but they had to always take that extra step of having people on the team that knew AppKit, people on the team that knew UIKit, and make the decision to specialize for those two. And for many developers, they chose one or the other and not both, because that was a real effort to get the expertise and to make the investment.

project catalyst

Project Catalyst

Federighi expressed excitement about Project Catalyst, noting that he has seen many apps that look fantastic on the ‌iPad‌ that he has wanted on the Mac. With macOS Catalina and Xcode 11, that is now a possibility, with Twitter being one of several companies that plans to extend their ‌iPad‌ app to the Mac.

He added that Project Catalyst gives Apple the "same kind of benefits of being able to have a single team that can focus on making one thing the best and release it across all of our platforms," which makes "a ton of sense" to the company.

swiftui framework

SwiftUI

As for Apple's new SwiftUI framework, which enables developers to use easy-to-understand declarative code to create full-featured user interfaces, Federighi said giving developers a tool that is "that expressive and that interactive" is going to result in better ideas and thereby better apps moving forward:

SwiftUI will make development of UI more accessible to many people who maybe weren't approaching it before, and that's exciting, because we're already seeing some of that with Swift and Swift Playgrounds. But even for the most experienced of developers, giving them a tool that is that expressive and that interactive is going to mean they're going to build better things, they're going to try out better ideas, and that's going to result in better apps.

Turning to the new iPadOS platform, Federighi said that the ‌iPad‌ has "become something really distinct from the phone" over the years and, accordingly, was deserving of an operating system that provides a "distinct experience":

Things like Drag and Drop, Split View, Slide Over, Apple Pencil… these are things that really define a different way of working with the device. When I work on my ‌iPad‌, I don't feel like I'm working on a big phone… or like I'm working on a Mac. I feel like I'm working on an ‌iPad‌. What we mean when we say macOS, or when we say tvOS, which is an iOS-based platform, or when we say watchOS, which at its core is iOS, these things to us are definitions of experiences. There's a watchOS experience that's tailored for apps that make sense on your wrist. tvOS, a 10-foot UI that makes sense in that context. iPadOS has become a distinct experience. We've been working our way there steadily over time. With the work we did this year, we felt like we were at a place where this truly was a distinct thing.

ipad pro usb drive

iPads now fully support external drives

Humorously, Federighi also poked fun at the ‌iPad‌'s newly added support for external storage such as USB drives and SD cards:

External drives. We're willing to acknowledge the 1990s and go all the way back. You know, people still use them sometimes. I'm an AirDrop fan myself, but I understand there are other uses… we know with photographers, the ability to import their photos directly into an app like Lightroom is so important.

The full interview can be listened to on the AppStories podcast over at MacStories.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Top Rated Comments

radio893fm Avatar
23 months ago
This arrogant attitude is what turns off so many people to the point that they don't even want to touch such many great Apple products.
Score: 135 Votes (Like | Disagree)
btrach144 Avatar
23 months ago
AKA, “We tried to scam users to purchase our ridiculously priced storage upgrade options for years.”
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
23 months ago
He's willing to acknowledge consumers don't want to pay Apple's $0.78/GB of flash storage on iPhone and iPad.

Nobody wants to pay 1990s prices for internal storage.
Score: 84 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomtendo Avatar
23 months ago
Sadly, I think he is too arrogant to understand why people wanted it... AirDrop? LOL...That's not the point!
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stiss Avatar
23 months ago
Hair Force One is a master troll.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
v0lume4 Avatar
23 months ago
Wow. This guy.

And I say that as a fan of Craig.

At least he did acknowledge this:
but I understand there are other uses... we know with photographers, the ability to import their photos directly into an app like Lightroom is so important.
I just don't like the arrogance. I've seen it from many folks at Apple, going back to Steve. Just because a use case doesn't work for one person doesn't invalidate it for all others.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
apple store macarthur center

Apple Store at MacArthur Center in Virginia Permanently Closing Following Years of Safety Issues at Shopping Mall

Thursday February 25, 2021 4:45 pm PST by
Apple today indicated that its retail store at the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia will be permanently closing after over 14 years of business, although an exact closure date has yet to be announced by the company. Apple has assured that it will be offering all employees at the store other positions within Apple, and said that it looks forward to continuing to serve...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
apple refurbished m1 mac mini

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished M1 Mac Mini

Thursday February 25, 2021 6:42 pm PST by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished Mac mini models with the M1 chip for the first time in the United States and Canada, with prices discounted by approximately 15 percent compared to brand new models as usual. For example, a refurbished Mac mini with the M1 chip, 256GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of unified memory is available for $759, compared to $899 brand new. Other custom...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...