Merging macOS and iOS at the app level

“Sal Soghoian, former Automation lead at Apple, writing for MacStories: ‘Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form app teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications,'” Rene Ritchie writes for iMore. “This, based on my understanding, is exactly what’s been happening in the software engineering division recently.”

“Getting the original iPhone and iPad to ship required enormous efforts, dedicated teams, and a ton of resource reallocation. Over the years, that resulted in some disparities. A few years ago Apple brought all if it back together under Craig Federighi, and now that same strategy is being applied to apps,” Ritchie writes. “Safari will be Safari at the code level. Mail will be Mail, Messages will be Messages, Calendar to be Calendar… you get the idea.”

“Having one team responsible for Safari, Mail, Messages, etc. on both platforms is great and hopefully means that, going forward, ‘Sent with Fireworks’ is something I’ll never have to see on my Mac again,” Ritchie writes. “But it’s also something I hope, eventually, elevates the built-in apps on both platforms in a way disparate teams never could.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014


    1. and for the minority of Mac apps where it is appropriate, fine, just don’t throw in a bunch of touch UI code that wastes space and resources on my work computer.

      On the dozen or so Mac apps that I use to make my living, touch has no function or value, just more system overhead.

      1. “On the dozen or so Mac apps that I use to make my living”

        BTW: of the apps that I use to make my living, only 2 are Apple apps; Mail and Safari, although I now use Firefox more these days due to system overhead and compatibility with Safari. And I am looking for a replacement for Mail, increasingly buggy with each release. Havent even opened Pages etc for a year or two. There is just no reason to do it.

        1. That shouldn’t be a problem. Apple now uses App Thinning. Here’s the explanation from their website:

          “The store and operating system optimize the installation of iOS, tvOS, and watchOS apps by tailoring app delivery to the capabilities of the user’s particular device, with minimal footprint. This optimization, called app thinning, lets you create apps that use the most device features, occupy minimum disk space, and accommodate future updates that can be applied by Apple. Faster downloads and more space for other apps and content provides a better user experience.”

          Presumably, they would extend this to apps delivered to MacOS.

    1. Why do you think iWork lost so many features? So that, macOS, iOS and iCloud could all have feature parity and enable collabortion across all platforms. They had no choice but to scrap what they had and start over. You can’t just keep developing the apps completely separate from each other and hope it all just works. Consolidating development means core technologies get pushed to all platforms at the same time. It means apps can remain the same across all platforms.

      1. Which, unfortunately, means dumbing down the Mac versions.

        No thanks. I’ve got Macs, iPads and an iPhone. But most of the work I do can only be done on a Mac. I need the more robust hardware and memory space and features of MacOS that are not supported in iOS.

        Don’t care whether or not Macs are called trucks. I want Macs to be Macs, not weakened to be on parity with iPhones or iPads. I love my iPhone and iPad Pro. Every morning at breakfast I read the Wall Street Journal on the iPad Pro, a good experience. But after the second cup of coffee, it’s time to move to the Mac for work.

        Have you noticed that Mac apps by third party developers are in some cases having to be dumbed down for acceptance on the Mac App Store? Fortunately, the ones I use for most of my work are still available as ‘free world’ versions from their developer. They are designed to work well with a number of other applications. Ironically, they do that better in the free world version than in the App Store version.

      2. “Why do you think iWork lost so many features? So that, macOS, iOS and iCloud could all have feature parity and enable collabortion across all platforms. ”

        You made my point for me. Lose features to make them compatible.

        Losing features = less capability = bye bye.

  1. Unfortunately, forcing two platforms into one App invariably MUST mean that the unique advantages of each can’t be exploited as effectively, which means a ‘Dumbing Down’ to the lowest common denominators – –

    – – which results in a race to the bottom.

    As such, I fail to see how this can be considered to be ‘Good News’, unless what’s been not said is that each App team has two branches … a Mac one and an iOS one.


  2. Last month Microsoft announced that full blown windows 10 apps would run on arm without tweaking the apps through emulation. MS knows that intel has given up on X86 for greener pastures. I’m sure Apple has the same plan, but c’mon already. Let’s ship ARM Mackbooks already.

    1. I think that Apple could release an ARM powered MacBook very suddenly. When new housings, screens and other parts go into pre-production, workers notice that they look different to what has come before and the the rumours start.

      If Apple were to produce an ARM powered MacBook which looked like the Intel MacBooks, the PCB board could look similar to previous ones and might not attract attention. They could wait pretty well until the last minute to put the finished PCBs into what would otherwise look like a standard MacBook housing and then suddenly ship them in quantity.

      It’s much easier for Apple to maintain secrecy when changes do not involve significant new parts. Every new hardware component gets surreptitiously photographed early on, but things like 64 bit processors and the Swift language all arrived fully formed without anybody outside of Apple noticing that they were on their way.

    2. Yes I commented back then that that is actually good news for Apple along as revealing a lot about the possibilities, as long as Apple is ahead or at least on the curve. This is an opportunity made in heaven which the dual Intel/Arm approach in products will always involve problems, complexity and thus costs and inconvenience when trying to integrate products and software across the range. If the future is truly Arm in the mainstream (on whatever platform) then Apple has a rather straighter road ahead than Microsoft will find in its attempt to re engage in mobile yet retain teh concept of Windows everywhere which simply doesn’t work in the present market place.

  3. That was my hope when the negatively angled reports of the combining of the two teams came to light. It makes a lot of sense as the disadvantages of combing the two, as technology improves increasingly lessons. Lets hope however that it doesn’t lead to delays and mis-steps that have become far too common of late.

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