While Apple won’t be unifying its iOS and macOS platforms any time soon, the company has been said to move forward with ‘single apps’ that work across both platforms. While this was rumoured to be introduced during Apple’s Worldwide Developer's Conference in June, it is now expected to release in 2019 instead.
Apple insider John Gruber has since played down the rumours, which started with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman stating that the cross-platform UI was set to arrive as early as this year, by explaining that the project might not appear until next year. As a result, Gruber suggests that people “set their expectations accordingly for this year's WWDC.”
According to Gruber, the codename of ‘Project Marzipan’ is actually known as something different behind the scenes that he cannot divulge just yet. Gruber goes on to say with near certainty that the new feature won’t launch until 2019 when Apple releases iOS 13 and macOS 10.15, as opposed to the previously reported iOS 12 and macOS 10.14.
Specifically, Gruber has criticised media hype for sensationalising the lack of technical details in Gurman’s report, to which hasn’t particularly been spoken about in the four months that have followed. This extends to the naming of the project, to which the name ‘Marzipan’ was reportedly only known by some staff working on the project once it had hit headlines.
Gruber himself states that the untitled project likely focuses on “declarative control API,” which has “nothing inherently cross-platform” about it. This entails moving away from the long-winded process of procedural code in favour of declaring the items with tags and attributes, such as HTML.
“It makes sense that if Apple believes that (a) iOS and MacOS should have declarative control APIs, and (b) they should address the problem of abstracting the API differences between UIKit (iOS) and AppKit (MacOS), they would tackle them at the same time,” explains Gruber. “Or perhaps the logic is simply that if they’re going to create a cross-platform UI framework, the basis for that framework should be a declarative user interface.”
KitGuru Says: It’s highly likely that rumours of Apple’s merging operating systems stemmed from the expectations of cross-platform applications, which in itself looks to have also been greatly exaggerated. For now, it’s best to take everything with a pinch of salt and keep your eyes peeled in the coming months.