Tuesday, June 23, 2020

iOS Apps on macOS 11


And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

The apps will be available in the Mac App Store by default, except where developers opt out. There will be lot more apps, but most of them won’t be quality Mac apps.

Peter Ammon:

The shocking part is not the fact, but that Apple chose to pre-announce it today, in such a low key way. Why do that?


The feature might absolutely suck in practice. Android apps on ChromeOS are...not great. But by showing their hand, Apple is committed to this feature. Why?

The reason would be to get someone to do something different. They want users or developers to react, today.


It’s definitely not a media coverage play. If they wanted to build excitement, why slip it in quietly towards the end?

Oluseyi Sonaiya:

If my iOS app will run on macOS unmodified… with careful UI/UX design, why would I build a macOS app at all?


A degraded Mac app, that doesn’t consider all of the unique requirements/opportunities the Mac presents. Not great for building thoughtful desktop-specific experiences, I would argue.


This almost seems designed to sunset macOS in a few more years[…]

Gus Mueller:

What’s going to happen when the Mac is flooded with iOS apps? Are prices for apps on the Mac going to plummet like they did on iOS? Will I still be able to make it as an indie in five years?

Alexis Gallagher:

So can you imagine what the user experience would be like if you just ran an iOS app on a Mac, just because you could? It would be HORRIBLE. Developers don’t even need to imagine it because we can already do this with the Simulator, and it’s not a good experience.…


The way this all makes sense is if the new Macs have not only Apple Silicon (which lets them run iOS apps) but also touch screens (which makes it reasonable to do so).


It’s easy to imagine a lot of ways this could work technically. But what would be a good UX? I don’t know.

It’s hard to see how this doesn’t end up compromising and ending up with a “toaster fridge,” just like Apple accused Microsoft of doing.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Really interesting way of looking at it: the universal Apple ecosystem — built around the iOS SDK — is the future of the Mac, and Catalyst on Intel was a way of extending that support to existing Macs and letting them stay relevant for a few more years


Update (2022-02-08): Saagar Jha:

iOS apps on Mac is codenamed Almond, it looks like. A cute parallel to the Marzipan codename

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

My first reaction to this is that it will be horrible. But then I also think that it *might* be great. There are certainly a few iPad apps that I would love to have on my Mac (great iOS software synthesizers, if they can hook them into AudioMIDI on the Mac). I think however that Apple does need to do some gatekeeping here... some sort of minimum requirements that developers have to do to make an iOS app "Mac Approved". Definitely menubar access to common actions/options, keyboard shortcuts, and an in-app Preferences window.

It definitely shouldn't be an "opt out" free-for-all. It should be opt-in, with Minimum Mac Requirements.

If Apple wants to tell us how much we need them to be gatekeepers of app quality, then do some ACTUAL useful gatekeeping for once!

I think this is pretty cool, and I actually like that it is opt-out. Particularly for things like a cloud-synced grocery list, or maybe a podcasting app, chances are the dev will never create a Mac app, and won't take the time to opt into publishing it on the Mac, but the iOS app will work just fine on the Mac.

I dont think Apple is aiming for Productivity apps from iOS to macOS. They are more of a byproducts. Apple is aiming at Gaming.

There are huge amount of Gaming done on Android right now simply because it is the only solution on PC via emulators. If you want to livestream this is done on emulators. Which means part of the In-App revenue are not going through Apple. And Apple wants that.

Gaming represent 80% of total App Store revenue. It is not too far to say App Store is primarily just a Game Store.

Simona Cardenas

I think Electron tipped the scales for Apple here. Apple sees that the tide of interesting new applications is predominantly Electron-based (the last major new AppKit app was probably Sketch, released in 2010–and even that is facing hard competition from a web-based competitor).

If macOS is increasingly a platform to run non-native applications, Apple would probably prefer that they’re iOS-derived rather than Electron-based.

So AppKit is definitely the new Carbon.

What's the path forward for an AppKit app?

If macOS is increasingly a platform to run non-native applications, Apple would probably prefer that they’re iOS-derived rather than Electron-based.

Exactly. I’m not happy Catalyst essentially launched as an early beta (for which Craig’s “multi-year project” is a euphemism), but it’s clear they wanted to defend against even more Electron apps coming.

So AppKit is definitely the new Carbon.

What’s the path forward for an AppKit app?

I could make the opposite argument that Catalyst is the new Carbon.

The path forward, I would surmise, is to do most UI with SwiftUI, and more complex, special use cases with AppKit.

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