Gurman on WWDC 2019: Marzipan Marches Forward and the New Mac Pro

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg*:

Later this year, Apple plans to let developers port their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple’s iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don’t have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan.

In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. Apple engineers have found this challenging because iPhone screens are so much smaller than Mac computer displays.

In some ways this makes sense — iPad apps are closer in scope to Mac apps. But for iPhone apps that don’t have iPad counterparts, why would developers target the Mac if they haven’t even bothered with iPad yet? And as Steven Troughton-Smith observed, in some ways the Mac is better-suited to iPhone apps than iPad is, because you can just run the app in a small window on the Mac, whereas iPad apps need to be full-screen, which leads iPhone-only apps running on iPad to look dreadful.

The only upside I can see to this entire endeavor is that some media consumption apps (Netflix, HBO, Hulu) might come to the Mac and be better than what we have now (using their websites, which have no offline access). Anything else I dread. I honestly can’t think of one productivity app on iPad where I’ve ever thought I’d like to use that app on the Mac. The best iPad productivity apps I know of — Things, Omni’s apps, Tweetbot — already have real Mac app counterparts.

Tucked away as the final sentence in the report:

The company has also internally weighed previewing a new version of the high-end Mac Pro, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Given that rumors suggest a late March event focused on subscription services (news and original video content), I would say WWDC has to be the unveiling of the new Mac Pros. Even if they don’t announce a ship date I’d be shocked if they don’t show it — they started working on it two years ago.

* Bloomberg, of course, is the publication that published “The Big Hack” in October — a sensational story alleging that data centers of Apple, Amazon, and dozens of other companies were compromised by China’s intelligence services. The story presented no confirmable evidence at all, was vehemently denied by all companies involved, has not been confirmed by a single other publication (despite much effort to do so), and has been largely discredited by one of Bloomberg’s own sources. By all appearances “The Big Hack” was complete bullshit. Yet Bloomberg has issued no correction or retraction, and seemingly hopes we’ll all just forget about it. I say we do not just forget about it. Bloomberg’s institutional credibility is severely damaged, and everything they publish should be treated with skepticism until they retract the story or provide evidence that it was true.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019