The New macOS Classic Apps

If the new macOS classic apps are the ones using AppKit, what are the new native macOS apps then? From an article published by Jason Snell from Six Color, “Are we headed for a Mac automation schism?”, an endnote caught my attention:

We are probably about to enter an era where all the Mac apps built using AppKit, the development system that’s “native” to macOS, are going to start being referred to as “classic” Mac apps, and the new UIKit apps are going to be called “new” Mac apps.

Return of the Classic Apps?

If this is the case, as I think it will be, these “native” apps will always be limited in power and richness compared to AppKit ones. The reason is simple: as their origin is from iOS, an operating system imposing quite strict limitations on memory usage and processing power. When running on the Mac, these apps will obviously look limited. The following tweet from Steve Troughton-Smith shows such a thing.

But, Apple could tweak the runtime environment in such a way to tell the application when it is actually runs on a Mac computer. In this situation, constraints could be relaxed and the application be free to use all possible ressources. But, I’m not convinced this is what Apple will do. Here is why. In a few years from now, a vast majority of new apps on macOS will come from UIKit / Marzipan. Current applications will become a relic of the past. How does shipping Intel-based Macs with macOS as we know it today makes sense?

ARM-based Mac on the horizon?

If this leak is real as documented by BGR, Apple seems close to offer an ARM-based Mac. The leak exposes benchmark scores that are on par with last generation desktop computers like the Mac mini. If this machine runs a desktop version of iOS, then this would open a lot of possibilities. And this is what I think Apple will do. A desktop class computer, running a modern touch-based operating system with an immense app catalogue. The fact that these iOS based apps could run on the classic macOS operating system is only a transitive state. We will have a better idea of Apple’s intentions at the upcoming WWDC conference I guess.

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