“There are millions of iOS apps out there, and some of them would be great on the Mac,” Federighi said.
Apple’s senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, revealed new Mac apps including News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos and also that they were all built from their iOS counterparts at WWDC. It is a part of a new UIkit which Apple has taken from the iOS side and transfer next to the macOS AppKit. It is said to bring the best of the iPhone to the Mac platform. The company also explained that it would not be merging the iPhone and Mac operating systems into one platform. It is only taking some features from iOS and bringing them over to the Mac for an easy porting of iOS apps to the Mac.
Both iOS and macOS would continue to remain the separate products. Federighi said that this is a multi-year project.
“iOS devices and macOS devices, of course, are different,” Federighi said. “That makes porting an app from one to the other some work. We wanted to make that much easier. We’ve taken some key frameworks from iOS and brought them to the Mac.”
Apple is including some part of iOS’s UIKit into macOS, along with desktop’s existing AppKit framework. The first iOS apps for macOS will be made by Apple later this year. According to Federighi, the first step was to get an iOS framework in place of macOS. This helps iOS apps to be optimized for traditional computer inputs in a desktop environment which cover basic features such as copy and paste, window resizing, and drag and drop.
Google and Microsoft have some similar approaches. Some Chromebooks can run Android apps too.
Apple has already been testing its new frameworks. If programmers are building Mac apps with UIKit, it does not mean that AppKit is dead. According to the Apple’s message, “AppKit is our primary framework and it takes full advantage of all the Mac has to offer. And in no way are we de-emphasizing that.” Bob Burrough, a former Apple iOS software manager tweeted,”Designing software that supports an inconsistent hodge-podge of input devices is much harder than designing software that uses one single, consistent arrangement”.
“The fact that the Mac and iOS share so much technology has led people every year to ask the question: Are you merging MacOS and iOS?” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, during the keynote.
“No”, Federighi said, but the company is building out cross-platform compatibility. “iOS devices and macOS devices of course are different, that makes porting an app from one to the other some work. We wanted to make that much easier. We’ve taken some key frameworks from iOS and brought them to the Mac.
Apple is starting the process with its own apps.
- Apple is adamant that it isn’t merging iOS and macOS, it is just bringing some iOS apps to the Mac with an updated UIKit.
- Developers will have access to the an updated UIKit in 2019.
- The businesses can invest in training for their developers as soon as they can.
The point of this to make it less complicated and significant to bring a completed iOS app over to macOS without forcing the developer to do unnecessary work. Certain tasks will be handled automatically like turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac. Apple users should not expect the entire App Store to migrate to the Mac. Some apps do not make sense for the computer platform, like a fitness app that tracks your movement. But Federighi highlighted apps like Fortnite, IMDb, Yelp, and DirecTV for macOS app ports.
People began to wonder again about a touchscreen MacBook when news about iOS apps appearing on macOS emerged. Federighi quickly said “NO” to the idea by saying that he is “not into touchscreens” on desktop computers, and never will be. Even though the apps are being shared between operating systems, Federighi highlighted that the Mac won’t start behaving like an iPhone. “It is still macOS, you still have the Terminal, you can still attach four monitors to it, you can still hook up external drives,” he said.
The cross-platform porting is still in development, which will be released in 2019. But it is an interesting look at how Apple’s two biggest software platforms will soon get even closer together in the future. These apps are carbon copies of their iOS counterparts, only retooled to work in a desktop environment.