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Marzipan Project: inside Apple's plan to bring iOS apps to Mac

Let?s go back almost 12 years (yes, we?re old) in time to remember the January 2007 keynote cock in which Steve Jobs presented the iPhone original in the opinion of this one who writes to you, the quintessential moment on the ?showman? side of the CEO. Perhaps only the most passionate ones remember, but one of the phrases that generated the most enthusiastic reaction from the audience, at 8'44 ?in the video above, was the following: ?IPhone runs OS X? (iPhone runs OS X or, more recently, macOS).

No, Jobs wasn?t lying: the system present in that amazing device, which three years later would be called iOS, was a reconstruction of the foundations of the Mac operating system and therefore brought several of its benefits, the main ones being pillars which Apple relies on today: lightness, security and simplicity.

Twelve years later, the scenario is very different. The iPhone (and, consequently, iOS) became Apple's flagship product and created around it one of the largest and strongest digital ecosystems on the planet; O Mac, in turn, continues to do very well, thank you, but in a state very similar to what was ten years ago. Of course, we have all the technological and natural processing advances and a wave of new features that have come up in the meantime, but the status quo Apple's computers have basically remained the same over the past decade, while his portable brother jumped forward and fired.

time, therefore, to give back.

In yesterday's keynote, Apple through its most charismatic man, Craig Federighi made a point of stating, in bold letters, that he has no plan to merge macOS with iOS, but that does not mean that the former cannot take advantage of the ecosystem and the impressive universe of apps from the second. This project, announced as a preview at WWDC and which will officially start in 2019, has the internal code name Marzipan, and the result of work that has already lasted two years in Cupertino and will continue at a high pace over the next few years, according to Federighi in an interview with Lauren Goode, from WIRED.

Craig Federighi introducing iOS 12

According to the executive, the main objective of the project Marzipan getting developers to port iOS apps to the Mac with as little effort as possible, and this achievement is achieved through support for framework UIKit introduced in macOS Mojave to non-initiates, UIKit is the platform for creating iOS apps and tvOS (Mac apps use the older AppKit). In other words, applications ported from iOS to the Mac will be completely native, with an interface designed for computers and proper functioning; we are not talking about an emulator or anything like that, which would be pathetic.

As we well know, four of the new Mac apps introduced yesterday are the first fruits of Ma?s work: Notcias (News), Bolsa (Stocks), the Voice Recorder (Voice Memos) and Casa (Home) are direct adaptations of their counterparts for iOS and the first taste we will have of this new Ma project in real life.

Casa / Home app on macOS Mojave

The developers who put their hands on the first version of macOS Mojave (and in the bowels of the Marzipan) are already unraveling some details about the tool, and certainly many will emerge about it in the coming days / weeks; to those interested in the more technical part of the thing, some professionals in the area have posted their findings on Twitter, such as Steve Troughton-Smith, Jake Marsh and our friend Guilherme Rambo.

Still, as Craig notes, the process of converting an iOS app to the Mac will not be entirely automatic, nor could it be, considering that we are dealing with two totally different environments and methods of interaction (touch and keyboard / mouse), and Apple does not plan to create Macs with touch screens, another point reiterated by the executive in the interview. The tool automatically converts some (for example, interface elements evoked with a long press on iOS will automatically be converted to a two-finger click on the Mac), but certain areas of the projects, such as menus, toolbars and sidebars, will be to be modified manually. Xcode will provide an option to signal that you are working on a project for both iOS and macOS systems.

This is * not * the idea of ??how it works in practice.

It is good to remember that, even though the transition from Macs to ARM architecture at this point is already a public secret, today we still have a scenario where devices running iOS and macOS are still based on different ARM architectures on one side, x86 on the other. This dichotomy, however, should not cause performance damage to apps ported from iOS on the Mac, according to Federighi; all because, he says, both platforms already share a number of technologies and APIs (such as Metal) that allow them to work with a very satisfactory degree of similarity and unity. Therefore, the (supposed) transition to ARM will only * improve * the Marzipan, instead of making it possible.

Other details about the Marzipan remain misty. For example, we do not know whether developers who port iOS apps to macOS will be able to distribute or sell these apps as they see fit, on the internet, or if they can only be made available on the Mac App Store; nor is it known whether Apple's hard-line guidelines will apply to this process or whether any app can be turned into an application for Macs, depending only on the developer's will. These are questions that will certainly be answered in the near future. After all, what we saw yesterday was just a Sneak peek; Apple knew that if they didn't say anything about it, Rambos da vida would discover details of the novelty by going through the codes of the system and apps.

For now, we can be comfortable with the idea that our computers with But on the covers will receive a very cool push in the sense of becoming more modern, with access to a gigantic ecosystem and without compatibility problems. What else do you expect about all of this? Leave your opinions below.


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