Let's go back a little over a year in time when the macOS Mojave was released, and with it Apple announced the arrival of four Mac apps from iOS: Handbag (Stocks), Voice recorder (Voice Memos), House (Home) and Apple news.
Little was known at the time, but we were seeing firsthand the first public faces of the Catalyst Project then known as “Marzipan”, designed to create a unique iOS and macOS app development platform (as we explain further here).
There was only one problem: the reception to the four pioneer apps was nothing but cold. Users complained that the software was nothing more than iOS applications running on the Mac, without taking advantage of the (numerous) extra possibilities of the desktop, keyboard, or pointer operating system. Complaints became even more vocal when the first beta releases of macOS Catalina recently arrived, and apparently the apps remained unchanged. But you can now breathe with relief.
In interview with CNET, Apple's vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said the Bolsa, Casa, Voice Recorder and Apple News will win news on the macOS Catalina they are not yet available in the first few betas of the system, but will arrive in the first public release of tests. "That things will get really good," said the executive.
Federighi explained that Apple listened to users' considerations, but that much of the app's feature and visual complaints were simply about design decisions by the app's responsible teams, and not the technical limitations of the Catalyst Project. Still, the executive admitted that improvements could be made to enhance the Mac software experience:
We look at the design and features of some of these apps and realize that we can bring them closer to the Mac experience. These changes, however, are independent of Catalyst usage; they are just decisions of the design team. When I read some of the initial reviews of apps, people would say, “Obviously this technology is causing them to do things that don't seem to belong to the Mac.” Honestly, 90% of those decisions were designer stuff; People took this “iOS-like thing” thought and thought it was about technology, when it was about designers' preference. So part of these updates comes from the principle that we have to co-evolve with our users around the Mac experience. So we made some tweaks to the apps.
The executive explained that in addition to developments in design decisions, app updates will also take advantage of improvements brought to the Catalyst Project over the past year:
The technology underneath has matured. Part of this is a very, very deep level thing. Some people dissected the apps and found that they were kind of two halves: one half of AppKit and one half of UIKit, literally running in separate processes. Now all this unified. The whole thing became much more of a framework Mac native. So automatically the apps we created last year were updated.
Apparently, we will still have to wait a few weeks to know the changes in the four apps, but the encouraging announcement. Hopefully the Catalyst Project will bring beautiful fruits!