Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.
The specifics of this matter a ton in determining how I feel about this situation (assuming it’s true).
If this amounts to simply having iOS apps open in what amounts to an iOS simulator that looks like a small iPhone screen, then this is not going to be great for anyone. Users will get apps not designed for a mouse an keyboard, and likely can’t tap into macOS in any meaningful way.
On the other hand, if Apple is developing a universal platform, similar to what Microsoft did with their UWP system, that allows developers to make software that has the same code base, but can easily be adjusted to run optimized on whatever platform they’re on, then that’s great for everybody. We already have universal apps that can run on everything from the Watch to the iPhone to the iPad, so why not add the Mac to that mix as well. I’m not talking about an iOS in a resizable window, I’m talking about an app that actually gets more functionality and maybe even has different UI elements when running on macOS.
Apple is in the process of revamping its pro-level Mac hardware right now, and this change could help them on the consumer side considerably. The devil, as it often is, is in the details, so we won’t know if this is good or bad news until we actually see how it really works, but I’m optimistic this could be very good for Apple, developers, and users.