Well, here we are in the 21st century, and Apple has more Mac customers than ever, the Mac sells at record levels, and it looks like it needs to be saved again. Or, at least, rescued from that death via fiery flames of history.
Guess who will save the Mac this time?
Apple’s iPad. Uh huh. That’s the deal according to John Voorhees and the benefits of Apple’s project Catalyst.
Catalyst Can Rescue the Mac and Grow the iPad
I do not disagree with the basic premise, though it isn’t as if the Mac is in dire straights and needs to be saved soon otherwise that fiery death will consumer our most beloved Apple relic.
Remember Project Marzipan? That leaked rumor was about a project inside Apple to make it easier for iOS app developers to port their iPad wares to macOS. The actually name is Project Catalyst and it is hooked to another project that Apple announced at WWDC 2019.
Project Amber, or, what was announced– SwiftUI.
The purpose of SwiftUI is to allow developers to build native user interfaces across all of Apple’s hardware platforms – from the Apple Watch to the Mac – using highly-readable, declarative syntax and a single set of tools and APIs.
Simply put, app developers have the tools to move an iPad app to macOS with relative ease. Relatively.
OK, what does all this have to do with iPad’s rescue of the Mac if the Mac is not really hurting with 100-million users?
PC sales remain slow to stagnant, and the Mac is included. Mac sales are not going up and Apple wants to change that because, yes, Apple is a hardware company and needs more hardware sales to help bolster Services revenue, Wearables, et al. Apple thinks more apps that are familiar to iPhone and iPad customers will make the Mac more attractive.
Nearly 1-billion iPhones have nearly 2-million apps from which to choose. Nearly 300-million iPad users have far more than half a million dedicated iOS apps. So, if Apple can get app developers to more easily move their apps to macOS, the better for Mac customers, and maybe Apple can start a Mac 3.0 renaissance.
The Mac has always had great productivity apps and still does, which masks the platform’s troubles. While it’s true that I can still get my work done on the Mac with a robust set of first-class apps, it’s also true that the depth and breadth of choices I have are limited.
Small is beautiful, less is more, but more apps helps a platform to grow and prosper. A couple of years from now we’ll see exactly how iPad rescued the Mac.
UPDATE: Sir Jonny Ive is on the way out at Apple. Good riddance. Maybe now the Mac can get a decent keyboard and we can get over this thinner and lighter trend and get back to some Macs with punch and utility, and put an end to the ‘form over function’ years.