Apple is reportedly gearing up to introduce new tools that will allow developers to create universal applications that can run on the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. According to Bloomberg, the Cupertino company’s new tools will mean an app released for iPhone can run just as well on a MacBook Pro, and vice versa.
The approach isn’t too dissimilar to what we’ve seen from Microsoft with its Universal Windows Platform; Google is also making strides to merge Android with Chrome OS, bringing its Play store to Chromebooks.
The goal, according to Bloomberg, is to bolster Apple’s Mac App Store, which the report describes as a ghost town. The report explains:
Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.
Currently, developers are required to design two different apps, one for iOS and one for macOS. The new tools would allow developers to focus their resources on a single app, which is great for the consumer; it means developers can keep the experience updated without prioritizing one platform.
It could also potentially mean customers spend less money. For example, many developers require customers to pay for both macOS and iOS apps for a seamless, synced experience. For Things 3, which offers macOS and iOS applications, customers are required to pay three separate fees totaling $80.
Bloomberg claims Apple will unveil its plans to combine iOS and macOS apps at WWDC next summer, though plans could change between now and then. For years, Apple has maintained that it has no plans to merge iOS and macOS. But the company could be changing its tune as the market evolves. It once said it would never release a large iPhone, and look what happened.
If all goes according to plan, we could see a single operating system for all of Apple’s devices, which is something Microsoft has already achieved.
Check out Bloomberg’s report for more details about Apple’s upcoming plans.