Apple's Craig Federighi says Catalyst will boost quality of both Mac & iPad apps

Posted:
in macOS edited June 6
Catalyst, meant to simplify porting apps between iPads and the Mac, offers the potential of improving the quality of apps on both platforms, said Apple software engineering head Craig Federighi in an podcast interview published on Thursday.

Project Catalyst


Until now many developers have had to specialize in either macOS or iOS due to the frameworks involved, Federighi said in conversation with AppStories' Federico Viticci. It required a "real effort to get the expertise and to make the investment," the VP mused.

He argued that many great iPad apps haven't appeared on the Mac as a result, but that since it's now a "no-brainer" to put in a little extra work on reaching Macs, there could be a feedback loop in which developers "go deeper" on the iPad with the knowledge the work will pay off better.

Some of the harsh intitial reaction to Marzipan -- Catalyst's predecessor -- was attributable to bad design decisions on Apple's part rather than any fundamental technology issues, Federighi added. The company's first Marizpan conversions, such as Home and Apple News, have sometimes been criticized for being minimalist ports that aren't optimized for mice or keyboards.

Contributing to Catalyst is SwiftUI, designed to minimize development work. Federighi described the technology as a "great reset" for the amount of code needed to support new features, such as Dark Mode. It's "completely fluid" and "completely reversible," he went on, allowing people to mix content into regular Swift code at will.

"It just works," Federighi said.

The executive admitted that watchOS developers have so far been unable to exploit the same framework power seen in first-party Apple Watch apps. That's been solved with SwiftUI, he said, further suggesting that it "could be a new era for apps on the Watch" thanks to standalone apps and a dedicated App Store in watchOS 6.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,531member
    I think Catalyst may the the primary reason Apple created iPadOS. For years, analysts, pundits, and even just amateur bad guessers have claimed that iOS and macOS will eventually merge, and for years they’ve been wrong (and now it’s clear they will continue to be wrong).

    What HAS been happening is that the two platforms steal good ideas from each other. But iPadOS acknowledges that the iPad is a lot closer to Apple’s vision of the future Mac than an iPhone will ever be, Having iPadOS and Catalyst will bring more sophisticated apps to both platforms, but I think the iPad — which really is all the computer most people actually need — will benefit the most.
    racerhomie3entropysbestkeptsecretRoger_Fingasgilly33StrangeDaysterrence1019watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,919member
    "Having iPadOS and Catalyst will bring more sophisticated apps to both platforms"

    *knock on wood*
    terrence1019
  • Reply 3 of 11
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,364member
    "Having iPadOS and Catalyst will bring more sophisticated apps to both platforms"

    *knock on wood*
    agreed, but if it is easy to port an app from iPad to the Mac it gives developers an increased market with little work and it also gives users a more consistent experience between the two platforms.
    gilly33terrence1019watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,734member
    Are there separate user accounts or profiles now in iPadOS?   If not I expect/hope sometime in the next year.   IPad should switch profile based on either TouchId press (like on MBP ) or FaceId.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,179member
    MplsP said:
    agreed, but if it is easy to port an app from iPad to the Mac it gives developers an increased market with little work and it also gives users a more consistent experience between the two platforms.
    So long as that consistency ends up being a good UI/UX. My fear is that developers will bring more bad habits to the Mac. That said, a lot of Mac devs and even Apple don't do that great of a job on UX/UI anymore... so it seems to be an industry wide problem.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,229member
    Talking cross-platform app sharing, I was hoping the new Apple TV app in Catalina, that has split off from iTunes, would be more in line with the tvOS version, i.e. able to have third-party apps within its interface e.g. Netflix, Disney etc..  Then we could get away from web-based interfaces that are required in macOS.  That would obviously require access to an Apple TV App store or these would need to be available on the Mac App Store to obtain these.  I wonder if that will happen. 
    edited June 7
  • Reply 7 of 11
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    I like Fed but he's mostly wrong here. 

    Catalyst will bring more Apps to the Mac but the quality is solely dependent upon 
    developer ability and quality of frameworks. 

    Honestly the most intriguing apps I've seen recently are largely coming from the Web 

    Airtable 
    Notion.so 
    Milanote 

    and more are showing the power and reach of web based applications.   I think mobile and desktop 
    Apps are simply not differentiating themselves enough nor do they provide any significant performance 
    advantages over browser based tools. 


  • Reply 8 of 11
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,229member
    I like Fed but he's mostly wrong here. 

    Catalyst will bring more Apps to the Mac but the quality is solely dependent upon 
    developer ability and quality of frameworks. 

    Honestly the most intriguing apps I've seen recently are largely coming from the Web 

    Airtable 
    Notion.so 
    Milanote 

    and more are showing the power and reach of web based applications.   I think mobile and desktop 
    Apps are simply not differentiating themselves enough nor do they provide any significant performance 
    advantages over browser based tools. 


    I feel the more the Mac can get away from anything browser based the better.  Just take the Netflix app on the Apple TV as an example and compare to the interface in Safari.  How much simpler and secure is a dedicated app over using the web?  Think of a news app on the Apple TV compared to the nightmare of one in Safari with the page jumping all over the place as ads pop in. 
    hmurchisonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    MacPro said:
    I like Fed but he's mostly wrong here. 

    Catalyst will bring more Apps to the Mac but the quality is solely dependent upon 
    developer ability and quality of frameworks. 

    Honestly the most intriguing apps I've seen recently are largely coming from the Web 

    Airtable 
    Notion.so 
    Milanote 

    and more are showing the power and reach of web based applications.   I think mobile and desktop 
    Apps are simply not differentiating themselves enough nor do they provide any significant performance 
    advantages over browser based tools. 


    I feel the more the Mac can get away from anything browser based the better.  Just take the Netflix app on the Apple TV as an example and compare to the interface in Safari.  How much simpler and secure is a dedicated app over using the web?  Think of a news app on the Apple TV compared to the nightmare of one in Safari with the page jumping all over the place as ads pop in. 
    Agreed.   I hope some of the new frameworks and API allow developers to go beyond what is constrained mainly to web standards. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 661member
    I find this claim incredulous considering that no app has ever crashed as much on my Mac as News (which Apple claims was built with this technology). Not to mention the usability issues like having to move my finger five times upwards on my mouse wheel to move the screen up just one page. And pages whose font size you can't increase.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,603member
    I like Fed but he's mostly wrong here. 

    Catalyst will bring more Apps to the Mac but the quality is solely dependent upon 
    developer ability and quality of frameworks. 

    Honestly the most intriguing apps I've seen recently are largely coming from the Web 

    Airtable 
    Notion.so 
    Milanote 

    and more are showing the power and reach of web based applications.   I think mobile and desktop 
    Apps are simply not differentiating themselves enough nor do they provide any significant performance 
    advantages over browser based tools. 
    Nah. Native apps will always have significant performance advantages over Javascript and HTML sent down the wire (think of all that formatting and style definitions...sure there are caching techniques but it’s part of why websites and apps have ballooned to ridiculous sizes), plus it’s non-compiled, interpreted, running in the browser’s JS rendering engine, etc etc..It’s a lot of overhead a native app doesn’t have to deal with. As a dot com web dev veteran and enterprise desktop dev, I share that the web just wasn’t designed for applications. Everything is a kludge to work around this underlying deficiency. Some do it well, and there are advantages to web apps (particularly deployment). But it’s still a work-around platform. 

    Im especially reminded of this as I read these forum pages on my cellular connection — so much bandwidth and energy to retrieve mostly layout HTML and styling that wraps the content of messages. Then all the janky Javascript (complete with bugs), and then the JS execution CPU cycles. None of which are necessary on a local app. 
    edited June 8 cgWerkswatto_cobra
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