Apple's 2017 ended with a report that the company looked to bridge the gap between its iPhones and Macs by allowing for universal apps as early as 2018. This endeavor — codenamed 'Marzipan' — is seemingly not going to happen this year, and may never have existed in the reported capacity at all.
Or at least that's what noted Apple blogger John Gruber is saying in a new post that cites both "first- and second-hand sources," whose notes are "all consistent with each other." Referencing Mark Gurman's initial report for Bloomberg regarding Marzipan, Gruber notes that while "an active cross-platform UI project at Apple for iOS and macOS" exists, it "may have been codenamed 'Marzipan' at one point, but if so only in its earliest days."
But today, Gruber notes that the cross-platform project is not a structure for universal apps, but instead a "declarative control API" that could allow apps to be built for multiple interfaces at once.
What's the difference? Well, even apps for Macs and iPhones could allow for multiple user interfaces; the rest of the program code would still be written for iOS and MacOS. Gruber writes about this as a solution for coders "abstracting the API differences between UIKit (iOS) and AppKit (MacOS)."
Hypothetically, this technology could allow an app for the Mac to support different interfaces, which could come in handy if Apple ever decides it needs a touch-based design, which typically requires larger touch targets. Not that we're holding our breath for a touch-based Mac.
Oh, and as for when this will ever come to light? While Gurman claimed this could launch as early as 2018, Gruber writes, "It’s a 2019 thing, for MacOS 10.15 and iOS 13.1 I would set your expectations accordingly for this year’s WWDC."
Gruber's report fits with an interview that Apple CEO Tim Cook gave in April, debunking the original Bloomberg report. Talking to the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, Cook declared "We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other." Cook continued, explaining that "Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two ... you begin to make trade offs and compromises."