Apple mulling at unified app development a la Microsoft's UWP

Apple is contemplating on an unified app development model similar to Microsoft's UWP. (Source: Microsoft)
Apple is contemplating on an unified app development model similar to Microsoft's UWP. (Source: Microsoft)
Apple is looking for a way to 'converge a toaster and a refrigerator' by means of creating its own version of a unified app platform similar to what Microsoft currently has in Windows 10. The unified app platform will enable apps to seamlessly scale and work across iOS and macOS.

Apple could very well be developing a unified app platform similar to what Microsoft has in place for Windows 10, according to a Bloomberg report. The move could see consolidation of apps across the iOS family of devices and macOS, which are currently independent development platforms but leverage a lot of common functions. Apple is hoping that unification of apps across its platforms could add some numbers to the macOS App Store, which is currently anemic compared to the vastly superior iOS store.

The project is internally codenamed 'Marzipan' and could feature in next year's macOS and iOS refreshes. Insider sources say that the project has been in development for quite some time but is a multiyear effort for the long term. While the project is being actively pursued, it could also very well get cancelled if it does not pan according to Apple's expectations.

Apple's efforts are not very different from what Microsoft has in place for Windows 10 in the form of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). UWP enables developers to target PC, mobile, Xbox, and HoloLens with a single codebase that scales apropos to the target device and screen type. It allows developers to monetize the app across a single app store front-end. Apple famously took a dig at Microsoft's unification efforts earlier with Tim Cook remarking, "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user." Craig Federighi, SVP Software Engineering at Apple, said that blending of iOS and macOS is a "compromise".

Apple has been incorporating ARM chips in iMacs and MacBooks to offload some functions from the main CPU. It will be interesting to see whether these ARM chips will play any role in running iOS apps in macOS or will they run natively on the main CPU. Also of interest would be to see how these unified apps will talk to existing desktop macOS apps and work with traditional keyboard and mouse, given that macOS is not inherently optimized for touch-based interaction. Hopefully, Apple will eventually find a way to finally 'converge a toaster and a refrigerator' without 'compromise'.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 12 > Apple mulling at unified app development a la Microsoft's UWP
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2017-12-21 (Update: 2017-12-22)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.