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Apple’s not going to merge iOS, macOS this year

iOS 11 iPhone X

iOS 12 is just around the corner, with many folks expecting Apple to debut a cross-platform system which will allow one app to work on both iOS and macOS. This may not happen though, as a new report claims that the company is probably going to be ready with the project only next year.

Bloomberg broke the story back in December 2017, asserting that developers would be able to design a single app which would work with both touchscreens and track pads, thus allowing both iPhones and MacBooks to run the same application. The secret initiative is apparently codenamed Marzipan.

This report naturally got a lot of folks excited, especially developers who wouldn’t have to pour resources into developing the same app for different platforms, not to mention giving the Mac App Store a much-needed boost. Here to pour cold water on these hopes is Daring Fireball’s John Gruber who spoke to several sources.

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Gruber says that there actually is a cross-platform UI project at Apple, but whether or not it’s still called Marzipan is not clear. It might have been referred to by that name before, but has a completely different codename now.

As for what the initiative will involve, it’s a lot more mundane than Bloomberg’s take. Gruber claims it has something to do with a declarative control API. Instead of having to write tons of procedural code to make something like a button, the new interface would allow developers to just declare the button and its attributes via some other form.

It’s similar to how HTML works. HTML doesn’t require coders to create elements such as paragraphs and images, since they just have to write these in tags and attributes in markup. Gruber points out that a declarative control API doesn’t exactly scream cross-platform unity, but it could be a step towards that.

Bloomberg did say that this would be a multiyear effort, so Apple might be planting seeds towards a bigger overhaul. In any case, the results probably won’t go public until 2019 with the arrival of macOS 10.15 and iOS 13.