Latest News on Cross-platform Apps for iPhone, iPad and Mac

By Rico Rodriguez to iPhone, Apple Resources | Last Updated on Dec 17, 2023

Rumors reported that Apple is working on an internal project named "Marzipan" to merge iPhone, iPad and Mac apps, which will come with iOS 17 and macOS 10.14 at WWDC 2018. The latest source from Gurber pointed out Marzipan is a declarative control APIs for iOS and macOS. According to Gruber, "they should address the problem of abstracting the API differences between UIKit (iOS) and AppKit (MacOS)" to allow developers to create modern cross-platform user interfaces. But the cross-platform app feature may not come together with iOS 17 at WWDC this year.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has a different idea. He thinks that merging two systems together will lead to trade-offs. He believes that merging iOS and macOS is not what users want. Let's see what users say.

According to the poll launched by Digital Trends on Twitter, more than 900 users had their votes:
* 7% of users think iPad is all they need;
* 21% of users want a touch MacBook;
* 47% of users want to keep macOS and iOS separate;
* 25% of users think a new OS is needed.

Cook is right as about half of the users want to keep the two systems separate. But, about an equal number of users are asking for change. With Microsoft has merged its tablet and desktop software long ago, and Google is trying to let Android app run on Chrome OS, it's becoming a trend. Before Apple combines iOS and Mac apps, Apple users have to rely on apps that can run on both OS.

Benefits of Merging iOS and macOS

Reduce app development effort and time. Currently, developers have to create an iOS app and then another version of the same app for macOS, which will increase the time and costs. By integrating two systems into one, developers have to build software once. However, not all the best iOS apps that users love can run on macOS. Designing, developing and configuring one single application for different devices running on the same OS will be much time-saving.

Improve user experience. When iOS apps run on Mac or vice versa, users won't need the switch. It's much easier and more convenient when they get familiar with a new app. They can continue working or gaming no matter if they are on iPhones, iPads or Macs. Besides, allowing for single versions of software to run on iOS and macOS will save users' investment in Apple's ecosystem.

Apple's advantage. First, it's said that Apple's going to switch from chips made by Intel to its own ARM CPU. With similar hardware foundations, it makes perfect sense for Apple to combine iOS and macOS apps. Plus, this move will help improve the performance of Mac App Store, which hasn't been quite as successful as its iOS equivalent.

Disadvantages of Merging iOS and macOS

We have to admit that both iOS and macOS are incredible systems, with unique features on both sides. The biggest disadvantage after Apple merge iOS with macOS is that users may lose some special features designed based on the unique characteristics of each system. Anyway, it will be magic to contain all the functions of a media media-consumption device and a work-machine. Just as Tim Cook indicated, "if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make tradeoffs and compromises."

Do you want to merge iOS 17 and macOS 10.14?

Cross-platform Apps that Run on iPhone, iPad and Mac

Since iOS 17, iOS and macOS have shared many common features, for example, the Siri and Touch ID on macOS, and the multitasking on iPad Pro. Before Apple merges iOS 17 and macOS 10.14, or next year with iOS 17 and macOS 10.15, users can rely on apps that run on both systems. Below we have some apps that can combine iOS and macOS for all Apple users.

Cross-platform apps that run on iPhone, iPad and Mac

1. MacX MediaTrans - share data between iOS and macOS

This app helps transfer data between iPhone iPad and Mac without using iTunes. Contents including photos, music, videos, audio, books, iTunes purchases etc. can be transferred between iOS and macOS devices freely and instantly. It also equips unique features like converting HEIC to JPG, removing iTunes DRM, massive deleting photos & camera roll etc. It's a must-have app when you want to move large amount of data between two platforms, like data backup when you upgrade to new devices.

Free download the app

Combine iOS 17 and Mac apps

2. Notifyr - get iPhone notifications on Mac

Notifyr is an app letting you to receive iOS notifications on Mac without using Apple ID. In other words, you will know what's happening even without taking your iPhone because text messages, emails, WhatsApp messages, FaceBook, Instagram, and other incoming notifications will show on Mac. This cross-platform app is extremely useful when Apple users are working on the Mac computers and don't want to take out the iPhone. The app works on Bluetooth Low Energy. But you're not allowed to answer those messages.

Let iOS apps run on Mac

3. Dialogue - answer calls on Mac

One of the first tasks that Apple will address when it start to merge iOS and Mac apps is to allow Mac the ability to make phone calls. Both Mac and iOS users can make FaceTime video calls, but not the traditional phone calls. Dialogue is an app that gives Mac this capability. This cross-platform app integrates iPhone and Mac to bring handfree calling on your Mac. You can make calls, answer calls and record them, all on Mac. With Dialogue, you don't have to install a specific apps like Skype.

Combine iOS and Mac apps

4. Knock - unlock Mac on iPhone

Knock is an app that will turn your iPhone into a password to Mac. This app gives Mac and iPhone users a new and interesting way to unlock the computer, instead of the traditional way with a password. When you use the app to unlock your Mac, you don't even need to open it. What you need to do is knock twice on the iPhone. This is faster and safer to get into the computer.

Summary: Will Apple merge iOS and macOS apps? We will see on Apple WWDC 2018 to be held on June 4–8. Even if iOS 17 and macOS 10.14 won't merge, or the merge features won't come until next year, Apple has slowly made the two systems closer. By far, these cross-platform apps that run on iPhone, iPad and Mac are making Apple devices working well togther.

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