Rumor: ‘universal apps’ still in Apple’s pipeline for 2018

Despite reports saying that some key features in iOS 12 and, to a lesser degree, the next version of macOS have been delayed to allow Apple to improve performance and squash bugs, both Bloomberg News and Axios say the tech giant still plans “universal apps” for 2018.

I’m dubious we’ll see ‘em this year, but here’s what the story behind such apps, which are reportedly part of “Project Marzipan”: they’ll work on both iOS and macOS. will work with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on a Mac, the article adds, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter.”

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Currently, of course, developers have to develop apps separately the iOS or the macOS. Unifying the apps could help the iOS and macOS platforms “evolve and grow as one, and not one at the expense of the other,” Steven Troughton-Smith, an app developer, tells Bloomberg News. “This would be the biggest change to Apple’s software platform since iOS was introduced.”

Chances the rumor is true, according to the Sellers Research Group (that’s me): 80%. As I’ve speculated before, Apple’s desktop, laptop, and tablet line-ups will evolve into a merged form factor (or factors) that take the best elements of each with a user interface based on the best elements of macOS and iOS.

I think “Project Marzipan” is the start down this (admittedly long) road. Universal apps would make it easier for Apple to one day create a single operating system for all of its devices, should it ever go down that avenue. Also, such universal apps could offer another merger: the Apple App Store for iOS and the Mac App Store into one App Store.