Despite reportedly pushing some iOS features down the road, it looks like Mac users might see some cross-compatible iOS apps show up in the Mac App Store before long. According to MacRumors, the framework which would allow iOS apps to run on MacOS is in the works for release later this year.
There is no word on how exactly it would work, which apps would be available cross-platform, or if it would be a universal framework that would work with any iOS app, but we do have a few clues as to how it could. Currently, as MacRumors reports, MacOS uses a framework called UXKit which is similar in function to Apple’s UIKit, which is used to create user interfaces for iOS apps. That means there is already a bit of overlap between these behind-the-scenes tools, making a closer integration between iOS and MacOS a shorter leap than it might appear.
MacRumors speculates that the public announcement could come at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, with a beta test following in the summer and a public release likely coming in September or October. The plans were reportedly announced to Apple employees in a meeting with software engineering head Craig Federighi in January.
“Apple’s move to delay some features was announced to employees at a meeting earlier this month by software chief Craig Federighi. The company is looking to address criticisms that it has put new products and features ahead of ensuring quality,” Axios reports.
Bringing iOS apps to MacOS would put Apple’s flagship operating system in direct competition with Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform — a similar framework designed to allow apps to run on various platforms seamlessly. With both operating system giants moving toward their own solutions to unify their respective desktop and mobile environments, it will be easier than ever for developers to create platform agnostic applications that work in a variety of environments.
In Apple’s case, it’s an intriguing move considering iOS is a much more mature and robust platform than Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile ever was. Bringing iOS apps to MacOS would open the doors to a large existing ecosystem, provided the implementation works seamlessly. Otherwise, it could just mean your Mac has access to a bunch of new apps you will never use.