Apple has been working on a secret project called ‘Marzipan’ to offer the same user experience across the iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Starting as early as next year, the Marzipan project would allow developers to build a single app for the iOS and Mac devices. Currently, developers need to publish separate apps for the iOS and macOS. It will significantly reduce the workload of developers while offering users the same experience across the iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Marzipan project to help iOS and macOS evolve and grow as one
Sources privy to Apple’s plans told Mark Gurman of Bloomberg that the company was planning to announce the project at the next year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. The Mac App Store isn’t as advanced as the iOS App Store. Unlike the iOS apps, many Mac apps don’t get frequent updates and are considered substandard. Marzipan would strengthen the Mac App Store with a bigger and better library of apps.
Gurman says the apps would work with a touchscreen or a mouse and trackpad depending on whether they are on the iOS or Mac hardware. Noted developer Steven Troughton-Smith told Mark Gurman that the move would allow iOS and macOS to “evolve and grow as one” rather than at the expense of the other. Bloomberg did not detail how it would work, though.
The publication said it was part of a larger push to “make the underpinnings of its hardware and software more similar.” Apple designs its own chips for iOS devices, and is trying to do the same thing with Mac. The tech giant has launched a T2 chip in the iMac Pro that handles power management and security features. It could one day use the same main processor on the iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
There have been rumors that Apple is building its own ARM processors to move away from Intel. Currently, the MacBooks run on a different architecture than the iPhones and iPads. However, you can already use the Simulator tool in the company’s Xcode software to run iOS apps with a mouse and trackpad interface. Apple has said in the past that merger of the iOS and macOS was not worth pursuing.
It is too early to says whether macOS will emulate parts of the iOS or developers will still have to code two different apps. A major risk with the project Marzipan will be that of Mac users getting an interface that feels like it was built for iOS or vice-versa. Apple might be looking to unify the iOS and macOS apps before making the switch from Intel to ARM processors. The tech giant needs to ensure that all the software that users want remains available on both the platforms.
Microsoft, Google have also attempted to unify the mobile, computer experience
Apple will not be the first company to unify its mobile and desktop user experience. Microsoft tried to do the same thing with the Universal Windows Platform that allows developers to create a single app for all its platforms such as Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface Hub, and HoloLens. Microsoft tasted only limited success with the project probably because of the failure of Windows Phone and the fact that there are a few platforms developers don’t care about.
Google has tried something similar by bringing Android apps to its Chrome OS. The Chrome computers can run smartphone apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.
Is Apple planning to kill the MacBook Air?
Last month, Apple released an iPad Pro ad titled “What’s a computer” that highlighted all the things the iPad Pro and iOS 11 could do. The ad shows off the new iPad as a computer replacement. You can chat with friends, take and edit photos, draw with the Apple Pencil, write a paper, and do much more on the go. At the end of the ad, the teen’s mom asks, “What are you doing on your computer?” She responds, “What’s a computer?”
The iPad Pro ad sparked speculations that Apple might be planning to kill the MacBook Air. While the company has consistently updated the iPads, the MacBook Air has received only minor upgrades in recent years. After a gap of two years, Apple upgraded the MacBook Air earlier this year by increasing the RAM from 4GB to 8GB and replacing the 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 chip with a 1.8GHz one. No other improvements.
The iPad Pro comes with a giant 12.9-inch screen. Apple also sells a detachable Smart Keyboard and Bluetooth stylus called Apple Pen to position it as a laptop replacement.