Apple wants to make it easier for software developers to create tools, games and other applications for its main devices, by offering them a new SDK for builing universdal apps that will work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers.
The goal of the multistep initiative, code-named “Marzipan,” has been reported by Bloomberg. According to the report, Apple's plan is to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers by 2021.
The company will reelase a new software development kit as early as June at its annual developer conference, teh report claims. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple’s iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don’t have to write the underlying software code twice, according to the report.
In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. By 2021, developers will be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac applications into one app. This means developers won’t have to submit their work to different Apple App Stores, allowing iOS apps to be downloaded directly from Mac computers -- effectively combining the stores.
Each new app is another revenue opportunity for Apple because it takes a cut of many app-related purchases and subscriptions. The company has been focusing on services and plans to announce a premium Apple News subscription offering and an original video content initiative at the end of March.
Apple is also planning to merge more of the underpinnings of its hardware. Currently, iPhones and iPads are powered by Apple processors, while Macs use Intel chips. Apple plans to start transitioning some Macs to its own chips as early as 2020.
Despite the app merger plan, Apple has said it won’t combine iOS and macOS into a single operating system.
Microsoft had also tried to follow a similar approach for Windows for phones, by pushing a technology called Universal Windows Platform that let developers create single applications that would run on all of its devices. Similarly, Google has brought its Android mobile app store to some laptops running its Chrome OS operating system.