… will there be a point of owning two different versions of the same software, and how will developers differentiate the two? (A Mac version and an iOS Version)
A few points:
not everyone is getting a new Mac immediately (obviously) so there will exist a need to have two different versions for some time to come. But eventually, this need will no longer exist.
In what ways will developers continue to create apps with the new level of engagements now possible?
How could this affect software pricing going forward?
I got to thinking about all this as I was working through OmniFocus thinking, “a person could just have the more affordable iOS version and not really need the Mac version if they chose not to. What would the draw need to be to continue to get both versions of software now that Big Sur has eliminated that boundary?”
A “big-screen” option? iOS = phone size, macOS = computer size? plus "native " things like proper scaling and sidebar, etc? iPadOS versions may be priced higher as those could possibly work as macOS apps?
Keep in mind that developers have control over whether or not their iOS (and/or iPadOS) app appears in the Mac App Store. I’d expect that most developers with Mac and iOS versions of their app aren’t going to make the iOS app available on the Mac. Doubly so if the iOS app is less expensive.
iPad apps were specifically what I had in mind when I was jotting that down, make most sense for me in that case.
That’s a good point, I didn’t consider the “version permission” scenario. Is there a downside for devs doing this though?
Just as an example, in an interview in the latest episode of the Club MacStories newsletter James Thomson describes why he opted his iOS apps, PCalc and Dice (both of which have existing Mac versions) out of being available on the Mac App Store:
I’ve opted out with both PCalc and Dice. It’s a pretty complicated decision though. With Dice, because I was an early adopter of Catalyst, I have two separate iOS and Mac apps on the stores. Apple brought in Universal Purchase after that, but there’s still no good way to merge two existing products into one purchase, other than killing off one of the two apps, creating a new one, and existing customers losing their purchases.
But what that also means is that, if a user ran the iOS app on the Mac, they’d end up with effectively a Catalyst app with no Mac-specific optimisation work done to it, which I think would be a pretty bad experience compared to the “real” Mac Catalyst app. Also, I am not sure how the store (or users) would handle listing a Mac and iOS app at the same time – I suspect it would cause confusion. With PCalc, there’s the existing AppKit Mac app too, and similar things apply there. The native app is a far better experience.
Wow this explanation is great, I didn’t even think about this being an issue.
Indeed, this is very interesting
Apple really screwed this whole process up. There needs to be a way for developers to deal with the situation James described.
So there are:
(3) mac app “versions”: appkit, catalyst, ios app on ARM
(2) purchase options: separate or universal
(1) big headache for developers
(0) official solutions
This is going to be a messy transition…
…and what is the easiest solution to deal with that?
Switch to a subscription model, then you can “give the apps away” for free.
I suspect this will push more developers towards subscriptions or universal purchases unlocking apps across all platforms. As James noted there are currently problems with the latter if you have existing pre-universal purchase apps.
One thing that I have been wondering about is whether Apple will transition to one version of the iWork suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote). Are the iOS versions of these the lowest common denominator? I understand that that iOS versions may have some features that the Mac versions doesn’t have (like forms in Numbers). Will we lose features from the Mac version (like styles in Numbers)?
It seems like making it easier to support Apple’s own apps on multiple platforms has definitely been one of the motivating factors behind introducing Catalyst. Thus far, all of their Catalyst apps have been apps that either never existed on the Mac or were way behind their iOS counterparts. The good news is that the latest round of Catalyst apps (Messages and Maps) seem to be quite good and been very well received. Based on that I could see Apple eventually moving the iWork suite over to Catalyst versions. Hopefully it won’t involve the sorts of regressions that iWork 2013 did (that was the version where they ditched a lot of the under the hood codebase on the Mac in favor of the iOS version, loosing a lot of features in the process).
That said, while I could see Apple moving iWork to Catalyst, I really don’t see them moving it to “iOS app running unmodified on Apple Silicon Macs” (is there a shorter, pithier way to phrase that?). For one thing there are far too many Intel Macs in the user base to drop support for the Intel version. For another, Apple has been pretty clear in presenting Catalyst and Swift UI as the preferred ways to write cross platform apps. I’d think they’d want to lead from example on this.
Easy but angers a portion consumers (myself included). Devs are kinda in a bind now and I really wouldn’t want to be them in this situation.
It seems like universal/portable apps mostly make sense for developers who either didn’t have a Mac app or had a Mac app they were having trouble supporting, and that’s okay with me. It just expands what’s available.
I tried out My Altitude just for kicks & in the absence of a barometric altimeter on the MBP (coming next year I’m sure!) it was accurate within a few meters based on location.
Also played a game of Polytopia and deleted it. It ran perfectly but I need to keep the machine clear of distractions.
Having fiddled with apps on my new MBA, I can see that my primary assumption about the availability of apps was WAY OFF, as others were quick to point out. However, I’m hearted to know that apps I use all the time on iOS are available for use, and have been tinkering around with them. An immediate win was having the Overcast app. I also use Grocery for shopping lists, so adding items as I they spring up without having to take out my iPhone or talk to my Watch has been extremely useful.