What Is Apple’s Project “Marzipan”?

It will allow you to run iOS apps on your Mac.

Earlier on in 2019, Bloomberg ran a story that detailed an internal project at Apple code-named “Marzipan”. The project’s aim, Bloomberg says, is to allow developers to code and create one app that can run on any Apple device, including the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. As Bloomberg wrote:

“The ultimate goal of the multistep initiative, code-named ‘Marzipan,’ is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers said people familiar with the effort. That should spur the creation of new software, increasing the utility of the company’s gadgets.”

While Bloomberg’s reports on project Marzipan is interesting, it’s not exactly new news. That’s because project Marzipan began last year and Apple actually briefly talked about it at WWDC in June 2018. What Bloomberg’s report today sheds light on is how Apple sees Marzipan progressing over time.

With that in mind, we’ve broken down a timeline of Marzipan so you know what you can expect when.

Apple’s Project Marzipan: 2018

Apple first announced its Marzipan plans briefly at WWDC in June 2018. At that event, Apple previewed macOS Mojave, which ended up shipping in autumn of 2018. With Mojave, Apple announced it ported four iPad apps to the Mac: Voice Memos, Home, Stocks, and News.

Apple also announced it was working with select third-party developers to port their iPad apps to the Mac, which will happen sometime in 2019. Apple did not detail what developers these were.

But this announcement, Apple effectively said, was a dry run for all developers to be given the tools to easily port their iPad apps to the Mac sometime in 2019.

Apple’s Project Marzipan: 2019

In 2019 we can expect to see other Apple-branded iPad apps make its way to the Mac, as well as apps from those select developers mentioned above. Also in 2019 Apple should release an SDK that will allow all developers to code their iPad app once and use the same code to make an individual Mac port of their app. Expect these Mac ports of iPad apps to show up this autumn.

Apple’s Project Marzipan: 2020

The next stage in project Marzipan happens in 2020. That’s when Apple is expected to unveil another SDK, but this one will allow iPhone app makers to port their iPhone apps to the Mac with only needing to write the code for the app once.

The reason the iPhone app port will be a year behind is because of the iPhone’s smaller screen resolutions. There’s more work needed to make porting smaller-sized apps over to the Mac.

Apple’s Project Marzipan: 2021

Project Marzipan will then reportedly conclude in 2021. Its final destination is allowing developers to code one app only once and allowing that app—as a single package—to run on iPad, iPhone, or Mac without any additional coding or the needing of separate iPad, iPhone, and Mac app builds.

This will be HUGE for both developers and users. It will mean developers can easily grow their app’s user base on new devices and that the Mac is about to be inundated with a flood of new apps the platform has never seen before.

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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