One of the primary new elements of macOS Catalina is support for Catalyst apps, which allows developers to build their iPad apps for the desktop operating system, ultimately aiming to make the whole process as simple as possible.
CNET has a profile of how that has been going so far, detailing how things may be rough right now out of the gate, but that the future is bright for the feature across the board, especially as more developers adopt Catalyst apps, and Apple provides even more assistance for those building the apps.
Apple’s macOS Product Manager, Todd Benjamin, says that the goal of Catalyst is to give iPad developers a huge head start when leaping over to the Mac.
Our vision for Mac Catalyst was always to make it easier for any iPad app developer, big or small, to bring their app to the Mac. This allows them to leverage one codebase and one development team. Mac Catalyst gives iPad app developers a huge head start and for many, an opportunity to expand their reach onto the Mac platform that they may not have had before. Not only is this great for developers, but it’s also great for Mac users, who benefit with access to a whole new selection of great app experiences from iPad’s vibrant ecosystem.
Steve Troughton-Smith is a developer building apps for iOS and Macs, and he says that Catalyst “paints a very different picture for the future of the Mac”. However, he notes that support from Apple is critical to make sure that developers have everything they need to “build strong Mac apps”.
Catalyst is one of the biggest changes to the Mac since Mac OS X in 2001, and I think it paints a very different picture for the future of the Mac,” Troughton-Smith said. It needs more attention from Apple, however, to ensure that it’s possible for developers to use it to build strong Mac apps, he added.
This is a look at the early adoption of Mac Catalyst apps, especially for developers who are diving head-first into the fray. As we’ve reported in the past, some developers are “uneasy” regarding the current state of the Mac Catalyst experience, which mostly boils down to cost.
As it stands right now, and as is echoed in this piece, there is no current way to have an iOS user buy an app in its App Store and then get that same Catalyst app for the Mac at no additional cost. Right now, the user has to buy the app twice — which is causing some headaches.
That has led to some big names dropping out of the Catalyst race altogether, including Netflix. However, other big names, like Twitter, have jumped on board the bandwagon.
But this latest profile indicates that Apple knows how important Catalyst is, and that it plans on rolling out additional resources for developers to build the best apps they can for the Mac ecosystem.
That’s from Benjamin himself:
For many of the early Mac Catalyst developers, it was their first time ever developing an app for the Mac, and it’s amazing what they’ve been able to achieve in such a short time. We’re learning a ton from these early adopters, and are planning additional resources and support to help them create amazing Mac experiences with Mac Catalyst.
Catalyst has a lot of room to grow, that goes without saying. And while the initial rollout may be a bit rough, with some developers left wanting more, it sounds like Apple isn’t giving up on the concept and will be following steps to make the process easier and more rewarding for developers.
Of course, the ultimate goal is a totally unified App Store. Apple plans on having that ready to go by the end of 2021. When that does come to fruition users will no longer have to buy the iPad app and Mac app separately, with developers being able to simply apply one price to their app and have users download it on their iPad and Mac after just the single purchase.
The full piece is worth a read. Is Catalyst something you’re excited about as a Mac user?