Apple’s Project Marzipan targeted to combine iPhone, iPad and Mac apps by 2021

“Apple Inc. wants to make it easier for software coders to create tools, games and other applications for its main devices in one fell swoop — an overhaul designed to encourage app development and, ultimately, boost revenue,” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg. “The ultimate goal of the multistep initiative, code-named ‘Marzipan,’ is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, said people familiar with the effort. ”

“Each new app is another revenue opportunity for Apple because it takes a cut of many app-related purchases and subscriptions. The company has positioned its services division as a major growth area,” Gurman reports. “”

“Later this year, Apple plans to let developers port their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple’s iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don’t have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan,” Gurman reports. “In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. Apple engineers have found this challenging because iPhone screens are so much smaller than Mac computer displays. By 2021, developers will be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac applications into one app or what is known as a “single binary.” This means developers won’t have to submit their work to different Apple App Stores, allowing iOS apps to be downloaded directly from Mac computers — effectively combining the stores.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully the quality of “Marzipan” apps is poised to drastically improve.

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

Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform. — Steve Jobs, April 2010

An enterprise take on Apple’s ‘Project Marzipan’ – January 11, 2019
Apple’s initial macOS Mojave Marzipan apps are ugly ducklings – September 25, 2018
Marzipan in Mojave: Porting developer iOS apps to macOS – June 13, 2018
iOS  –  macOS: What Apple’s ‘No’ actually means – June 11, 2018
Craig Federighi doesn’t see a touchscreen Mac in the future – June 6, 2018
Apple’s Craig Federighi details how iOS apps will run on Macs – June 5, 2018
How Apple might approach an ARM-based Mac – May 30, 2018
Will the 2019 Mac Pro be powered by an Apple ARM-based chip? – April 6, 2018
Project Marzipan: Can Apple succeed where Microsoft failed? – December 21, 2017
Apple is working to unite iOS and macOS; will they standardize their chip platform next? – December 21, 2017
Why Apple would want to unify iOS and Mac apps in 2018 – December 20, 2017
Apple to provide tool for developers build cross-platform apps that run on iOS and macOS in 2018 – December 20, 2017
The once and future OS for Apple – December 8, 2017
Apple, a semiconductor superpower in the making, looks to build their own ARM-based processors for Macs – September 29, 2017
On the future of Apple’s Macintosh – February 6, 2017
Apple’s Craig Federighi explains why there is no touchscreen Mac – November 1, 2016


  1. What?! Apple are now copying Google’s Android naming convention, i.e. lollies, sweets, etc.?!

    Apart from that, I wonder if this’ll lead to the dumbing down of Mac apps?

        1. Agree 1,000% percent! Microsoft at one time sold four levels of its OS from basic to Pro. I don’t understand why Apple is moving to one size fits all, but then I am not a socialist snowflake. Offer MacOS (lighter dumbed down version features removed) and offer MacOS PRO. But then again the snowflakes might protest PRO, so call it Deluxe, Prime, anything I could not care less. Bottom line: if they follow past software efforts under Cook, this is the scariest scenario for PROs and NOT trending positive in the future…

    1. Why wonder when it’s already happening. Creative design by Apple for the Mac OS has been on the decline for 3 years and running. Add to this the dumbing of apps such as Disk Utility, Photos, iTunes etc. and voila 🤮

    2. Stick to death of “Des”, “Shawnn”, “XeroDumqwat” and other phaque phoools pharqing up this message stream with utter nonsense.

      Efffffe Offffe. Thanqs.

  2. This is so far in the future that it doesn’t mean anything to me. I too hope that the desktop doesn’t get hurt by this. Quite frankly, I’m more concerned about the next versions of the operating systems than something will be lucky to see in 2021 or beyond.

  3. Lots of predictable moaning but surely the “Ring that binds them all” single binary codebase could also facilitate adding some missing features from iOS Say I/o mouse options, file system etc Ax series MacBook anyone?

    1. Ooooer….I have a stalker! Childish troll behaviour from the likes of @ripcity is my guess, who used pathetic ad hominems in reply to my pointing out he has no clue and followed up by a fake post in my name.
      Yes, whoever you are, you’ve posted many such fake posts to other names I notice.
      MDN…you have their IP address, action needed unless total forum anarchy is your desire. Become registered I hear you say, except WordPress logins have never worked for me.

      1. Unfortunately, Tennersworth, registration with MDN solves nothing, even when WordPress login works. That is because anyone can post under any handle. If necessary, they just add a space or two to the end. The little blue dot means practically nothing.

        1. I had always assumed it was otherwise since it’s not exactly rocket science to include security. Add that to the litany of weird WordPress behaviours on this site.
          Safari/MacBookPro/fully updated – weird ad behaviour/crashes occasionally/no star ratings and occasional missing reply box.
          Firefox – no star ratings/ads don’t load so nothing else does.
          Safari/iPad Pro- weird ad stuff/no star ratings
          Safari/Firefox/iPhone – slow/no star ratings/no reply box

          MDNapp/iPhone/iPad – reply box and star ratings present but single letter line length for nested replies means ~10 scrolls to get past a four word post!…amazing implementation. Turn from portrait to landscape auto reloads to the page bottom/back to portrait it reloads the header!

  4. I suppose this means Apple computers will cost that much more because consumers will be asked to pay for devices that are able to run applications meant for two different OSes. I’m all for the capability but not necessarily the additional cost of hundreds of dollars. I’m just stating my opinion as I know Apple doesn’t care what I think. Whatever Apple has decided, I’ll just quietly go along. Things always change in time and I don’t expect things to stay the same. I can only hope things work out well for users of both platforms.

    1. I am not sure why you assume that hardware/device costs will significantly increase as a result of app convergence/coexistence as a unified binary. While it will likely increase the size of the app code and, therefore, the storage required, I don’t think that built in storage is going to be a major cost driver going forward. iOS devices will likely grow beyond 256GB and 512GB to 1TB and beyond by 2021.

      That said, I am concerned about the rising prices of Apple devices – iPhones and Macs. For a number of years Apple was delivering better and faster MBs and MBPs for the same price. Sometimes Apple even dropped items into lower price brackets. The iPhone worked the same way for years. I can understand price increases due to inflation. I can understand price increases due to design/performance enhancements (e.g., larger displays, OLED displays) that drive component costs. But there are price points at which “good value” and “lower total cost of ownership” are overcome by the sheer upfront cost.

      I always admired Steve Jobs’ commitment to avoid making “junk.” But Apple needs to find a way to offer affordable, midrange products at reasonable prices along with the premium products at premium prices. When the luster wears off, price often becomes more important than the brand.

      1. I can see your reasoning for price increases. I think also that components that become relatively standard across models may have a higher price early on but with later models should become cheaper due to higher production volumes which would help lower BOM costs and work to stabilize or lower overall price. Perhaps one reason for costs rising predictably on iOS devices may be due to changing the data/power port so often relative to old standbys like the audio plug or more recently the microUSB port used by practically every other device maker.

  5. The article mentions that developers must submit 2 binaries, one for each store till integrated in 2021+. Does that mean for the time being you have to make 2 purchases to run the App on both iOS and Mac platforms and when integrated only need to pay once also getting reimbursed for one when integrated binaries become the norm?

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