What’s going on? For whatever the reason, and I think *I have a good idea why, Apple took its collective eye off the Mac for a few years. The past year we’ve seen hints that the Mac is a viable platform at Apple. How so?
A year or so ago the name Marzipan was assigned by rumor mongers as the code name for an Apple project to make it easy for iPad app developers to port their wares more easily to macOS.
Even with the Mac App Store, Mac apps had become second or third class citizens at Apple. iOS apps dominate. iOS App Store dominates. iOS dominates. The Mac languished. Then, some bright soul at Apple figured out that Services revenue was a very big deal but it was totally dependent upon hardware sales, so Apple devoted more resources to the Mac.
New Macs. First, an admission by Apple that the cylinder trash can Mac Pro was a dumb idea beautifully crafted. Second, Apple started to upgrade the Mac line with more power; first iMac Pro, then new MacBook Pro models, the Mac mini, and MacBook Air. The message came loud and clear with the awesome new Mac Pro.
The Mac is back, baby.
At Apple’s WWDC 2019 show’n tell Apple introduced the so-called Marzipan project as Project Catalyst. Huh? Whatever. More Mac apps? I’m OK with that.
Apple to developers:
If your iPad app would make an excellent Mac app, now is the perfect time to streamline your code base and bring your app to life on Mac. The beta version of Xcode 11 is all you need. Begin by selecting the “Mac” checkbox in the project settings of your existing iPad app to create a native Mac app that you can enhance further. Your Mac and iPad apps share the same project and source code, making it easy to change your code in one place.
With a little upfront thought, iPad app developers should have an easier way to get those same apps onto the Mac.
Theory is one thing and reality is something else again. Apple’s own News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos apps are from
Marzipan Project Catalyst and many more are on the way.
What does that mean?
New Macs. Many, many new apps for macOS. What’s next? Apple Inside. You might think it easy to figure out that Apple needs to sell more hardware so it can make even more money on Services, but some big ships don’t turn around so easily while rushing downstream on an overflowing creek, but think about what a $799 entry-level Apple Inside, ARM-based CPU Mac would do for the platform?
No Intel Inside might mean no Windows or Linux on the Mac, but entry-level Mac users mostly are not of that class anyway. What Apple needs is more hardware sales and the Mac represents more hardware sales than any hardware except iPhone.
Just looking at the past year’s events with new Macs, looking at Catalyst and iPad apps for macOS, looking at how powerful Apple’s own CPUs are vs. Intel Inside, I think it’s easy to call the next couple of years a renaissance.
*Apple was on a roller coaster ride with iPhone and iPad since they launched, Intel’s chip roadmap was so bad even GPS couldn’t find it, and Apple isn’t quite ready for its own ARM-based, Apple-designed CPU inside the Mac.