Apple disclosed on Wednesday, as part of their latest Xcode app development tool, that developers could build unified Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps and only charge users once.
In the release notes for the tools, Apple said the new software “supports building and distributing macOS apps as a universal purchase.” The company also said this will be “enabled by default” for apps created with the new developer tool.
Apple’s Catalyst initiative helps developers write apps for iPads and port them to Mac computers with minimal work. This unified approach increases the audience for developers, but they still had to sell their iPad apps and Mac apps separately, charging users twice. That spurred complaints.
Wednesday’s change addresses this problem. It will also apply to iPhone and Apple TV apps, the company said in a statement on its developer website.
Starting in March 2020, you’ll be able to distribute iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS versions of your app as a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across platforms by purchasing only once. You can choose to create a new app for these platforms using a single app record in App Store Connect or add platforms to your existing app record. Get started by building and testing your apps using a single bundle ID with Xcode 11.4 beta. – Apple
MacDailyNews Take: Good to see Apple rectify this rather glaring unified apps issue promptly!
This screams to me that Apple was wholly unprepared for the needs of Catalyst developers, and scrambled to roll this out before next WWDC. Universal Purchase was rumored to not be coming for another 2 years in the Marzipan roadmap. This is such great news
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) February 5, 2020
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