On the software & services side
2019: an exciting year for Mac software and more
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 fall.
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 silly 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 when iOS 13 releases in the fall. 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 information about in– app purchases, including details of how subscriptions work and extra checks to prevent accidentally signing up to well– hidden ongoing payments.
Final Cut has got more adaptable with support for workflow extensions for third–party tools.
Logic has now added the ChromaVerb plug–in.