Apple to bring iOS apps to macOS

Today at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Craig Federighi, SVP, Software Engineering, announced Apple is working to bring the best of the iPhone to the Mac. But this will not happen overnight, Federighi basically said. This is a multi-year project, he stressed, adding the first iOS apps Apple will bring to macOS will be made by Apple.

“There are millions of iOS apps out there, and some of them would be great on the Mac,” Federighi said.

It’s important to note that Apple is not merging the two operating systems. In fact, Federighi started out this announcement by stating loud and clear that they will continue to be separate products. Right now, the first phase of the project is to bring native iOS apps and basic frameworks to macOS. Because macOS uses AppKit and iOS uses UIKit, porting apps between the systems is not trivial.The first step Federighi stated was getting an iOS framework in place in macOS so iOS apps work like they should in a desktop environment: trackpad support, window resizing and the like.

The first iOS apps to be available for macOS will come from Apple later this year. This includes Stocks, News, Home and Voice Memos. These apps might have the same overall feel as their mobile counterparts but key user interactions will have to be updated for the desktop environment. That’s where the framework comes into play.

Developers will have access to this feature in 2019 and it’s clear even from this distance that bringing the best of iOS to macOS could revive the app ecosystem over the coming years.