According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is working on combining the app platforms for macOS and iOS, allowing developers to make a single app that works across all of the company's devices. The new platform will likely be announced at WWDC 2018 in June, with it shipping in the next major updates to iOS and macOS next September.
The idea of a universal platform is nothing new. Microsoft introduced the Universal Windows Platform in 2015 with Windows 10, which provides an opportunity for developers to create a single app that works on PCs, phones, mixed reality, Xbox One consoles, and more. Google took an alternative approach, bringing Android app support and the Google Play Store to Chrome OS.
The single-app approach, codenamed 'Marzipan', would allow developers to support a mouse and keyboard, and touchscreen input at the same time. This opens up new possibilities for Apple products, since there are no Macs that support touch or iOS devices that support mice. A universal app platform would go a long way toward bringing the two operating systems closer together.
Neither macOS nor iOS have any shortage of native applications, although the Mac App Store isn't very popular; most apps for Macs are likely to come from the web. A universal app platform could help to populate the Mac App Store, and it could also help to bring more powerful apps to iOS, or more specifically, the iPad Pro.
After all, Apple is usually quick to adopt its own technologies (this sounds like common sense, but Microsoft's new Surface Precision Mouse doesn't support the Universal Windows Platform), so it seems possible that there may be a version of Xcode developed for this new platform. That means that you'd actually be able to do real software development on an iPad Pro, which has never been possible before.
Ultimately, a single app platform would bring the two operating systems closer together. Eventually, it could mean that iOS will completely absorb macOS, given that iOS devices account for the majority of Apple's revenue. Naturally, we'll find out more about the company's plans at its developer conference next year.