Why Apple needs iPad apps on the Mac

Why Apple needs iPad apps on the Mac


(ethereal music) – Apple’s annual developer
conference is next week, and if you’ve been watching
my videos, you know that I have a unhealthy obsession with the future of computers. That’s why this year is
such a big deal for me, because Apple’s expected to do two things that just hit me just right in the heart. The first is we’re expecting
them to fix multi-tasking on the iPad, and the second
is we’re expecting them to put iPad apps on the Mac. You know what, the second
one is a bigger deal and I’m going to explain
why, because I have what might be an unpopular opinion. I think Apple shouldn’t just
double down on iPad apps on the Mac, I think Apple
should go all in, it should make all of its consumer Mac apps
in this new way, and I think I might be able to convince you. (electronic music) So, okay, let’s just back up a minute. Last year, Apple announced a sneak peek at a multi-year project at WWDC. The idea was to take an app
that was developed for iOS and let it work on the Mac. The codename for this
project was Marzipan, and maybe you’ve heard of that. Which means that we’re gonna
get iPad apps on the Mac. Now, does that mean that
iOS and the Mac are merging? Well, Apple’s Craig Federighi
answered that exact question last year. – No. Of course not. – Does it mean that every
single iPad app is gonna suddenly become available on the Mac? Well, here’s my guess. – No. – Does it mean that Macs are finally gonna get touch screens. – No. – Does it mean that iPad apps
are gonna be, I don’t know, just dumped on the Mac and
feel like weird alien programs that aren’t really Mac-like at all? Yeah, we don’t know
the answer to that yet. But right now, the answer
actually is totally, yes. The apps are bad. See, Apple started
testing Marzipan last year by just trying out on
a few of its own apps, so let’s look at those apps and see how Mac-like they really are. Come to your launcher, everyone
has an Apple Junk folder, and let’s start with News, ’cause it’s the most egregious example. First of all, it takes a second to load, but I wanna open this in a Tab, I can’t. Maybe I wanna open it in,
like, Safari, for later. I could copy the link
and paste it, I guess. Also, honestly, resizing
here, this needs some work. This is not great re-flowing, but whatever, maybe we
can give that a pass. So, let’s look at another
app, how about the Home app. This app is hilarious, like, first of all, this wants to be touched, it just does. Second of all, there’s
more stuff underneath here that you wouldn’t know,
unless you resized the app, but this is just ridiculous. So, they’re bad, right. But if they’re so bad,
why on Earth would I say that I think Apple
should make more of them? What gives, well, let me try to explain. First, I trust that Apple’s
gonna make it possible to make better Marzipan apps, I mean, they can’t get much worse. And making better Marzipan
apps might actually end up being easier than you think. So, there’s this Apple developer
named Steve Troughton-Smith and he has been
experimenting with iOS apps and a bunch of Marzipan code
and Tweeting his results. So let’s take a look at
some of the stuff he did. So at first, we’ll just
start with Twitterrific, and here it is, you don’t see
much, it’s just the info app, but the point is, he was
able to make an iOS app for the Mac really, really easily. Here, we’re looking at
Overcast, and what’s fascinating about this, is he got a traditional Mac three-column layout, so
it feels like a Mac app, even though he didn’t have
access to the source code for the original app, he was
just able to make this work. Here, of course, we just have
a nice little weather app, actually, I would love to have
this weather app on my Mac. And then here, if you’re
concerned that apps that are developed for the
ARM processor won’t work on an x86 Intel processor,
you got a video showing compiling an app to Intel,
really, really easily. Steve built his own
system, called Marzipanify, and even though these are just
experiments, they really do look like successful experiments,
so I think we can assume, mostly, that Marzipan apps
are going to be better than what we’ve already seen. But we don’t know yet whether
they’re gonna be really, truly, Mac-like, in the
way that people who care about Macs really want them to be. To all those people, I say, relax. I think it’s gonna be fine. If Marzipan apps don’t work
exactly like the traditional Mac apps that you love, maybe
it doesn’t matter than much, as long as they just work well. Or, at least as long as
they feel more Mac-like than Electron apps do, wait, Electron apps, what’s Electron, okay. It’s actually how a lot of the
apps you’re probably already using on the Mac work, they’re
basically little web browsers for a single app, like
Slack, or Gmail, or whatever. They also have a bunch of
other code, piled on top of it. They slow your computer
down, but they’re very easy to make and easy to update. I use Electron apps, and
I think a lot of them are actually pretty great. I also use a lot of Web
apps, which basically takes a browser tab and makes
it its own separate app. I mean, I would say that 80% of the time, I’m using my MacBook kind of
just like it’s a ChromeBook, and I bet Apple hates that. So, do you see where I’m going here? iOS apps could save the Mac,
from memory- and processor- hogging Electron apps, and it
could get a bunch of people actually using apps,
and buying apps, again. So, all of that said, here we go. I think Apple should make
most of its consumer apps with Marzipan, it would force Apple to make the Marzipan apps better. I mean, heck, I will go
further, I think Apple should seriously consider
freezing development on some of its apps and
move all of that effort into Marzipan versions. iTunes, photos, mail, messages, contacts, safari, wait, no, not Safari, Safari on the iPad kinda sucks. Leave Mac Safari alone, Anyway, I want Apple to force
itself to be like, okay, the iPad version of Mail
is the only version of Mail that Mac users inside Apple get to use, and if they don’t like
it, they have to fix it. I think they should do
the same for as many apps as they can stomach, because
if they don’t, everyone’s just gonna use the regular Mac
apps that they’ve had before. I mean, ask Microsoft
how keeping the Windows classic version of Office
around, when they’re trying to change apps over to
Windows 8 and Windows 10 land. It didn’t go well. Will this transition be painful for Apple? Yes, but I think it’ll
be worth it, and maybe they could ease the pain by
making those Marzipan versions available just as betas
right now, and then make them the official versions
like a year from now. But if Apple goes all in,
they’ve gonna end up showing other developers the best way
to make these Marzipan apps, for themselves. It’s gonna force Apple to make these apps really full- featured,
and if they do that, you know what else? It’ll make those same apps
better for iPad users, and so the iPad could get
closer to becoming a real, proper primary computer for people. So, come on, Apple, go for it. All it’s gonna take is
just a little courage. Hey, thank you so much for watching. That’s what I’m hoping for at WWDC, but what are you hoping for at
Apple’s Developer Conference? Let me know in the comments,
and then, of course, keep it locked to The
Verge, ’cause it’s gonna be a huge conference and we’re
gonna cover it all of next week.