Apple recently explained its Universal apps for iPhone and Mac, but how do they actually work and how will they improve the experience?
Apple device owners will need to get used to universal apps for iPhone and Mac computers. These apps are considered both macOS and iOS apps, and the same version of these apps will be able to run on both pieces of hardware, without issues or limitations. With universal apps, Mac computers with the latest operating system should have access to more software options than ever before. Universal apps were officially announced alongside the Apple Silicon family of Mac computers and laptops.
Countless apps have been developed for macOS hardware, but the market pales in comparison to the iOS app market. In order to have apps for both devices, developers need to develop two different versions of the same app. Usually, if developers only have the resources to create one version it would be for iOS, due to its larger user base. When developing a universal app, however, developers can create an iOS version that will run optimally on macOS Big Sur and future Mac operating systems. This is somewhat similar to Nintendo Switch software development, where developers can create a game designed for TV, but it can also play in a handheld state.
Universal apps allow users to select which app they want to use on their Mac and display them in windows, just like traditional Mac programs. These apps should also be fully functional with mouse and keyboard inputs, so tapping the screen like on an iPhone won’t be necessary. As Mac users can download the same universal app on their desktop or laptop as they can on iOS devices, they can an expect a virtually identical experience overall.
How Universal Apps Will Benefit Users
With universal apps, multitasking is easier than ever before. While split-screen has been possible with iPhone models in the past, doing so could really affect performance. Universal apps that run on a Mac, however, allow users to run two or more iOS apps for increased productivity. Users might also see the benefit of using apps on their computer and continue to use them when away from the device. This cross-platform approach can be useful for many kinds of apps, from word processing to gaming. Essentially, consumers no longer need to download two different apps with two completely different experiences.
This is a pivotal direction for Apple to go in and the cross-platform app support might provide consumers with another reason to buy a new Apple desktop or laptop over a Windows equivalent. Additionally, the concept of pulling up a smartphone app on a computer and using it seamlessly is also very appealing. With universal apps, Apple is hoping to decrease the number of customers that only opt for one device or the other. However, many companies will still need to optimize their apps and some are already opting out of creating a universal app for Apple’s new products, so time will tell how useful the feature really is.
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