- Apple is reportedly launching an initiative called “Marzipan” that would allow developers to build an app once that would work across its iOS and Mac operating systems.
- The company is aiming to launch the program by 2021.
- Apple will take a step in that direction later this year by letting developers port their iPad apps to Mac, and it hopes to do the same for iPhone apps in 2020.
- The move comes after Microsoft and Google have made it possible to use apps across multiple types of devices in recent years.
Apple is planning to allow developers to create apps that work across its Mac, iPhone, and iPad operating systems by 2021, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple is calling the initiative “Marzipan” internally.
While the program won’t launch until 2021, Apple is reportedly planning to begin making it easier for developers to create cross-platform apps as soon as this year. The company is planning to debut a new software development kit at its Worldwide Developers Conference that would let app makers port their iPad apps to Mac, the report says.
While app makers will still have to submit their programs to both the iOS and macOS App Store in the near term, the move would save them the trouble of writing the same code twice. The report also indicates Apple plans to do the same for iPhone apps in 2020. The company previously discussed plans to bring iOS apps to Mac during last year’s developers conference.
In 2021, however, Apple hopes to make it so that developers will only have to submit their apps to one App Store – enabling Apple device users to download iPhone apps directly from their Mac.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The move would echo steps taken by Microsoft and Google in recent years. Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform makes it possible for developers to write one app that works across any Windows 10 device. Google also more recently made Android apps compatible with its Chrome OS software for Chromebooks, significantly expanding the number of apps available for its Chrome-powered laptops and tablets.
While Apple is unlikely to ever combine its Mac and iOS operating systems, it makes sense that it would at least combine their app stores. Apple has been positioning the iPad as productivity tool in recent years, particularly when it comes to its big-screened 12.9-inch iPad Pro. When Apple launched its iOS 11 update in 2017, for example, it added several new productivity features to the iPad, including a new dock that can fit more app shortcuts and a feature that makes it possible to use two apps at the same time. With a combined app store, developers would be able to create work-oriented apps that could function across Mac and iPad.
It’s in Apple’s interest to encourage developers to create more apps for its devices, considering it takes a cut of app purchases and subscriptions. That could be critical for Apple moving forward as it looks for new revenue opportunities beyond iPhone unit sales.
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