More on Universal Apps »

On this week’s episode of Under the Radar, Marco Arment and _David Smith discussed the rumor of Apple moving to a universal app platform across macOS and iOS.

Their conversation has changed my thinking on the topic. It’s easy for people like me to view the Mac in an idealistic way, not a pragmatic one. I want my Mac apps to be fully native and rich, integrating with system features smoothly. The reality is, sadly, that quite a few of the apps in my Dock aren’t native, but are either wrappers around websites or Electron monstrosities.

The Mac is a small platform that can trace its ancestry back decades. iOS has become Apple’s main platform. That’s been true for years, but I think this rumor has really hammered that home for some Mac enthusiasts in a new way.

A universal app platform would be a massive change for the Mac. These new apps may feel less like Mac apps, but I’d bet good money they’ll run better than something using web views or Electron.

Mac developers will need to adapt. If these apps are universal, developers will need to work out what it does to their business models. Assuming they are Mac App Store-only, developers will need to come to terms with that again. It will be painful and the transition will be slow, but I’m more hopeful about the future of the Mac today than I was in the hours after reading Gurman’s article.

It may look like this is the downfall of the Mac as a platform, but in reality, this may be a life raft into the modern era. It’ll take years to discover which is true, but if it means a Mac ecosystem with more options when it comes to good apps, that’s a win.