Apple's Project Marzipan hints that the future of apps is cross-platform. Rumors say that the company is planning to merge apps made for iPhone, iPad, and Mac as soon as 2021.
Bloomberg reports that Apple will soon let developers create a single app, known as a single binary, that can work across multiple Apple platforms, including both iOS and macOS.
The company already revealed some of these plans, codenamed Marzipan, during its Worldwide Developer Conference in 2018. Moreover, Apple recently made macOS versions of the Home, Stocks, News and Voice Memo apps from iPhone.
Apple Universal Apps And Project Marzipan
Since combining apps to run on multiple platforms is obviously a huge undertaking, the report claims that Apple will approach it in stages. The company will apparently begin by letting developers port iPad apps to Mac later this year courtesy of a new software development kit, or SDK. Then, in 2020, Apple plans to extend this SDK so iPhone developers can make their apps compatible with Macs. Apple is rumored to make this SDK official at its WWDC this year.
Apple certainly isn't the first to experiment with this kind of concept. Microsoft had also pursued the idea of running universal applications across Windows phones, tablets, and PCs with its Universal Windows Platform. However, the Redmond company gave up entirely on Windows Phone in 2017.
iOS And macOS
But whereas Microsoft kept Windows at the heart of UWP, Apple is said to be keeping iOS and macOS separate.
Apple's plans for universal apps are "fluid and could be altered," according the report, citing sources familiar with Apple's roadmap.
Universal apps are a boon for users because it would mean not having to download multiple versions of the same app just to get it running on different platforms. Much more so for developers, because it would make their lives much easier.
The work also lines up with Apple's preparations to merge iOS and macOS in other ways. Currently, the former uses proprietary processors and the latter has chips from Intel. But soon, Apple could manufacture its own processors for Macs.
Again, however, Apple plans to keep both operating systems separate. But it's difficult to imagine that this binary will persist in the years to come. Google's Fuchsia OS is rumored to be a universal platform that will replace both Android and Chrome OS. Suppose that ends up happening, and users adapt to the change, it's entirely possible Apple would follow the same path.
More information likely will be shared at this year's WWDC. Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.