On the soft­ware & ser­vices side

2019: an ex­cit­ing year for Mac soft­ware and more

Mac Format - - FEATURE -

At WWDC 2018, Ap­ple un­veiled Marzi­pan, a uni­ver­sal frame­work to bridge the gap be­tween

apps for iOS and macOS. We ex­pect to see it work­ing at WWDC in June and re­leased in the au­tumn.

While both macOS and iOS apps can be cre­ated in Ap­ple’s Xcode (which runs only on the Mac), they use su­per­fi­cially dif­fer­ent soft­ware de­vel­op­ment kits (SDKs): Ap­pKit for Mac, UIKit for iPhone and iPad. The lat­ter fo­cuses more on the front end, and many de­vel­op­ers find it sim­pler.

UIKit has been all about touch, so ap­ply­ing it to macOS has raised con­cerns that the Mac will be flooded with apps that don’t feel right with a key­board and mouse. But it’s daft to have hun­dreds of thou­sands of apps for iOS that never come to the Mac, and Marzi­pan should help to keep Ap­ple’s desk­top plat­form rel­e­vant.

Go­ing the other way, Mo­jave’s sys­tem-wide Dark Mode would be great for iOS apps. But that’ll have to wait for iOS 13 in the au­tumn.

Mac app mys­ter­ies

Ap­ple’s de­vel­op­ment cy­cle for its own apps is a peren­nial mys­tery. Pages, Num­bers and Key­note had up­dates in June. We’d like to see Page’s prim­i­tive desk­top pub­lish­ing mode fixed, but with Affin­ity Pub­lisher com­ing soon, Ap­ple may choose not to com­pete. Num­bers seems des­tined to re­main a pretty but lim­ited al­ter­na­tive to Ex­cel, lacking key fea­tures like pivot ta­bles.

Logic Pro X had a ma­jor up­date in Jan­uary, and Fi­nal Cut Pro X in Novem­ber, so 2019 may be quiet for the pro apps. GarageBand, on the other hand, sits awk­wardly as a very dif­fer­ent app on macOS and iOS, with the lat­ter lacking se­ri­ous pro­duc­tion fea­tures; a GarageBand Pro or Logic Ex­press for iPad Pro would make sense. Mean­while, iMovie hasn’t had a big up­grade for a while. Shouldn’t the iPad Pro have pro video edit­ing?

In store for the App Store

Nearly as im­por­tant as apps is the App Store. This got a big re­design in 2017’s iOS 11, and the card-based To­day page, with Ed­i­tor’s Picks and fea­tures, came to the Mac with Mo­jave. Still miss­ing, though, is the old Wish List fea­ture. Some way of build­ing a short­list while search­ing the vast data­base of apps would be wel­come.

Ap­ple has al­ready tight­ened up re­quire­ments for app de­scrip­tions to link to pri­vacy and data se­cu­rity poli­cies, and we’d like to see clearer info about in-app pur­chases, in­clud­ing de­tails of how sub­scrip­tions work and ex­tra checks to pre­vent ac­ci­den­tally sign­ing up to on­go­ing pay­ments.

Fi­nal Cut has got more adapt­able with sup­port for work­flow ex­ten­sions for third-party tools and ser­vices.

Logic’s last up­date added the Chro­maVerb plug-in.

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