Before the keynote wrapped up yesterday, Apple’s Craig Federighi answered the question so many people had been asking for years now: Would Apple be merging the macOS and iOS operating systems at some point in the future?
Federighi chuckled and then said, matter-of-factly, “No”. Just to help sell that idea, the word also appeared in big, bold letters behind him courtesy of the giant screen the company had been using to show off new features all morning. So, that seemed to really settle the debate once and for all. Except then Federighi said that Apple was working on another idea.
That concept is being fleshed out now, with plans to see the first real results some time in 2019. When next year rolls around we will be seeing iOS apps running on Macs. While that might not meet the dream of two merged operating systems, it is still something worth looking forward to. If for no other reason than to see if it actually takes off in any meaningful way.
Now, Federighi has sat down with WIRED to discuss a bit more in detail on what it means to have iOS apps running on Macs, and what that future might look like.
The main goal here for Apple is to not have to rely on emulators to get iOS apps working on Macs. The company wants something a bit more native in design. As a result, they are working on specific software frameworks for the iPhone that can see developers bring iOS apps over to Mac and “made native”. Some of that process will actually be automated, too, which should make the development process a bit easier. That includes things like “turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac”.
“Even though the apps are effectively being shared between operating systems, Federighi emphasized that your Mac won’t start behaving like an iPhone. “It’s still macOS, you still have the Terminal, you can still attach four monitors to it, you can still hook up external drives,” he said.”
Federighi also had to field a question about touchscreen Macs, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering iOS is designed around a touchscreen and iOS apps are making the leap to Macs. However, that doesn’t appear to be something that Apple is entertaining.
“When addressing my question about whether iOS apps moving to macOS is a natural precursor to touchscreen Macs, Federighi told me he’s ‘not into touchscreens’ on PCs and doesn’t anticipate he ever will be. ‘We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,’ he said.”
The full interview is certainly worth checking out, and you can find it through the source link below.
It’s good to see iOS apps making it over to macOS, but only if the execution is worthwhile. Developers will more than likely knock it out of the park, though, and the macOS app “situation” should get a lot better beginning in 2019. As for touchscreen Macs, this still feels like something Apple is going to reverse course on at some point in the future. Touchscreen Windows-based PCs are the norm now, and using touchscreens is just a natural way of interacting with so many devices these days. Doing so on a Mac, with some distinct changes to the software to handle that, just feels inevitable.