Apple fans will have access to apps that work on both macOS and iOS, from next year, according to a report on Wednesday.
Bloomberg sources say the universal functionality will be aimed at boosting the barren wasteland that is the Mac App Store.
The initiative, which could be announced as soon as WWDC next summer and make its debut next autumn, would also make it easier the legions of iOS developers to expand the reach of their product to the desktop.
Related: iOS 11 review
Under the new plans, the apps would work equally well whether the user is operating an iPhone, iPad or Mac, the sources say. It could also make the process of updating apps on multiple platforms easier for developers.
What that would mean for developers in terms of the respective development languages remains to be seen. There’s also the question of how the apps could be modernised for non-touchscreen Macs.
The Bloomberg sources caution that Apple’s plans are “fluid” and the App Store scheme could yet be canned.
Despite huge leaps in that direction — not least the new Files directory in iOS 11 and the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro — Apple has long denied plans to merge its mobile and desktop operating systems.
While the firm has claimed a merger is not necessary, a virtual consolidation of App Stores would be another big step towards a single software ecosystem.
Apple’s reported plans are rather reminiscent of Microsoft’s efforts with the Universal Windows Platform.
In Windows 10, Microsoft pushed developers to create tools that’d work equally well on desktop, tablet or smartphones, with the associated benefits of easy syncing between the formats. However, the failure of Windows 10 Mobile undermined those best laid plans.
Google has also brought Android apps to the Chrome OS via the Google Play Store, although we’d hope Apple will handle this with a little more finesse than the hit-or-miss experience we get on Chromebooks.
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