This apple rumor that refuses to die is a very good idea

Screenshot: WWDC 2018

This morning, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reported that sources had informed him that Apple was considering creating a unified application architecture that supports macOS and iOS, and wanted to develop an Apple computer with a built-in Apple processor. Your Apple applications will be multi-platform, and the demarcation line between iOS and macOS may become blurred to the point that it will be difficult to distinguish between the two. You have already heard this rumor. And you'll continue to hear it, filtering both Cupertino and Apple fans – because it's a great idea.

First of all, it's a smart business. As Gurman notes, Apple hopes to streamline application development processes to generate more revenue. The application platform on macOS is underdeveloped, but if application developers can create an application and transfer it to both the iOS and macOS app store, it potentially means a lot more customers, which means a lot more revenue for Apple, a company that is growing in size. dependent on the money that the services bring back to him (one of the many reasons why it is said to launch a television service and a news service this year).

But this rumor about a unified application architecture is also terribly persistent and ignored or belied by Apple several times. Last year, Craig Federighi was on the scene at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) of Apple and entrusted in front of a room filled with journalists, developers and fans that Apple was do not will merge iOS and macOS. He pointed this out with the word "No" in giant white text.

He then immediately followed with an explanation of marzipan. This is the internal code name of this unified application architecture. For Federighi and Apple, there is a distinction between the merger rumors of the two operating systems and the creation of a unified application architecture allowing developers to create an application compatible with all Apple platforms .

At the time, the rumors were a source of consternation. Before the Apple Developer Conference in 2018, there seemed to be a lot of work on iOS, and it was feared that all this work and persistent rumor of application mergers would lead to the slow death of macOS. That would be a shame. macOS is intended for more professional uses. It works with the powerful x86 processors that manage your laptop, as well as most Windows laptops. X86 processors tend to be faster and better able to handle heavy workloads, such as video processing and streaming games, far better than iOS devices.

Replacing it wholesale with iOS would be catastrophic. Last year, I tried using the new iPad Pro as a laptop, using its latest features, including plugging it into a monitor via USB-C. The experiment was a painful reminder of the uselessness of the operating system for more sophisticated applications. He is not ready to replace macOS, and this should not be the case.

But its applications to macOS, ideally in a form optimized for keyboard and mouse input, and the wider display of macOS devices, are potentially a good idea. Some of the apps have already made the change. Although they are certainly a mixed bag. The voice memo may be perfect on Mac, but Apple News and Home are buggy and ugly.

Screenshot: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

When I open an information source in Apple News on Mac, I'm stuck in Apple News. There is no way to copy the link so I can share it with people via Slack, or even push the article into my browser. The only way to share the article is to use Mail, Notes or something like the Messages application. A complicated problem created by Apple. This reminds me a lot when Google used a similar tactic, porting Android apps on the Chrome operating system. When we tried it for the first time, most Android apps were so slow and buggy that it was better to uninstall them.

These are shortcomings. These are inelegant ports of mobile applications on desktops based operating systems. Google has slowly improved its own ports, but it's clear that the apps work perfectly in Chrome and that Android requires a lot of work. Apple, with Marzipan, seems to want to avoid the pitfalls of Google. It is therefore a unified architecture that should ideally remove all conjectures from application developers. According to Bloomberg, this project will be completed and ready for nascent developers eager to penetrate other parts of the Apple ecosystem by 2021.

In the meantime, we will probably see more experiences from Apple itself. In the wake of this other persistent rumor touted by Bloomberg: Apple is developing a laptop, which will be released in 2020, powered by an Apple processor instead of an Intel processor.

The rumor was added to this rumor when Tim Cook spent a better part of the 2018 iPhone and iPad events touting the impressive design of Apple's processors. He even made the audacious and unverifiable statement that Apple's latest processors were faster than anything Intel currently offers for laptops.

It is impossible to test because there are no applications, such as Premiere or Blender, available on the iPad. You can not just run the same process on a MacBook Pro and iPad and find out which is the fastest way to perform CPU-intensive tasks.

There is also the fact that Apple processors use a set of instructions different from that of Intel. Intel is based on x86, the same instruction set used by AMD Ryzen processors. Apple's instruction set is based on ARM, the same one used by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. macOS and its applications currently only support x86. iOS and its applications currently on ARM support. Build a laptop under macOS and an ARM-based Apple processor means that macOS will have to suddenly support ARM. A simple way to do this would be to rely on initiatives like Marzipan.

And it can not be just Apple itself leaning in marzipan. It will involve key partners whose applications are totally dependent on software acceleration based on the x86 architecture, such as Adobe.

Adobe's professional applications have not been as long at using iOS as they depend largely on these x86 processors. It's probably no coincidence that Adobe is testing ARM waters this year with a full version of Photoshop on iPad.

If more ARM devices come from Apple, Adobe will have to take care of them, or lose a large part of its customers. (Conversely, Apple needs Adobe's help for software development for ARM-based computers, otherwise it risks losing his basic clientele of creative types, too.)

From what we've seen at Apple and Adobe: Marzipan, the processors supposed to be faster than anything Intel or AMD are accelerating, an additional software acceleration for ARM it seems obvious that Marzipan and ARM-based laptops Apple in the next two years.

But will this lead to a merger of iOS and macOS? Probably not – iOS is basically a touch-based operating system, and macOS is basically a mouse-based operating system. The merger of the two is not as simple as creating applications that support both operating systems. It is about changing the very heart of the operation of one or the other operating system. This is something that Microsoft has completely failed to try Windows 8 and that Google has encountered difficulties with regard to Chrome and Android.

This shit is not easy. Convincing partners to support multiple processor instruction sets to allow applications to run on multiple platforms would be a lot easier for Apple than to require its designers and engineers already taxed to be able to do so. tackle a problem that even its main competitors have encountered. I do not know about you, but it suits me. I'm happy that my iOS and my MacOS are different animals. I do not want Windows 8 rewritten, but getting my favorite macOS applications on an iPad seems attractive to me.

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