Apple announced macOS Catalina back in June at WWDC. The update began rolling out to macOS users yesterday. The biggest change to the next major version of macOS was the death of sorts of iTunes and the distribution of its capability into three different apps. Additionally, the firm also announced Project Catalyst – a way for developers to port their existing iOS apps to macOS. While the project sounded like a huge and exciting step to bring app parity between the two platforms, it looks like it is off to a slow start.
A report from Bloomberg suggests that according to developers, porting iOS apps to macOS is not as easy as the company demoed it to be. While the firm showed off the feature as being a checkbox tick on XCode, developers that worked on porting their apps termed it “rough” for the time being. As it turns out, porting these apps involve more work than it looks, and involves challenges with repurposing UI elements for non-touch interfaces. The other issue that also persists is that of double-charging users. Users that might have already paid for the iOS version might have to pay again for the same app on macOS, which may be a tough sell.
The report adds that Netflix has confirmed that it will not be bringing its iOS app to macOS. Additionally, two major apps that were to be ported – that Apple showcased – were DC Universe and Asphalt 9, whose mentions have now been removed from the macOS Catalina webpage likely because the apps couldn’t make it out for release in time. As of launch, there are currently only 20 compatible iPad apps on the Mac App Store, which isn’t a lot considering the magnitude of apps on that platform. The exclusion of these apps is indeed a blow to the project.
Apple’s goal with Catalyst is like what Microsoft has been trying to do with it’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) – developing a single app for the platform that targets multiple form factors. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that the Cupertino giant would want to leverage the popularity of iOS and bring parity between its desktop and mobile operating systems. However, as per developers familiar with development on Apple’s platforms, it looks like there is more work for the firm to do for it to realize this goal.