Apple Plans to Support Universal Apps That Work Across iOS and macOS

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While it isn't clear if the company will be merging the App Store for iOS and Mac apps, the company is expected to release tools required for developers to design a single app that works across all of its devices a bit earlier, possibly at WWDC 2018. What's more, Apple customers have long complained that some Mac apps get short shrift. While the company regularly updates its iOS app with new features, it takes months to bring the same features over to Mac. In contrast, the Mac App Store has been less successful. The Mac hasn't seen an updated Store since 2014 with the major redesign that came with OS X Yosemite, so a refresh similar to what arrived with iOS 11 this year for macOS 10.14 makes sense.

Others, however, had a more positive view, even while acknowledging that it could be a hard transition for Mac developers in particular.

Gurman notes it could also lay important groundwork for potentially combining the iOS and MacOS operating systems, though it's unclear if Apple is considering such a plan.

Right now, developers use UIKit on iOS and AppKit on the Mac to create GUI applications. Additionally, Microsoft, before ditching Windows software for smartphones, allowed developers to create a single application that ran on different devices.

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Unnamed people with knowledge of the secret project, codenamed "Marzipan", said it is "one of the tentpole additions for next year's Apple software road map". By allowing developers to build unified apps, it expands the marketplace which is good for developers, consumers, and Apple. Apple wasn't immediately available to discuss its plans. Apple has previously shied away from encouraging one-size-fit-all apps as a lowest-common-denominator solution.

Apple could be looking to bring its desktop and mobile software much closer together.

Apple's reported plans are reminiscent of Microsoft's efforts with the Universal Windows Platform.

That said, a more seamless cross-device experience would be a great for users.

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