Marzipan: A chance to revitalize the Mac app ecosystem

John Vorhees, MacStories:

There does seem to be friction holding iOS developers back from making the leap to the Mac. Part of it is that developing for the Mac is just different enough from iOS that it makes adapting an iOS app to the Mac harder than many developers would prefer. Combined with the smaller Mac market, that friction seems to be enough to keep many iOS developers off the Mac.

It’s into this environment that Apple announced Marzipan, its effort to make it easier to build apps for both the Mac and iOS.


Web services are a bigger part of the productivity app market than ever before, and few seem interested in building traditional Mac apps. Exacerbating the problem is the rather thin competition in some app categories and limited migration of iOS apps to the Mac. Instead of letting third parties with little stake in the Mac’s success control the direction of the Mac experience through a patchwork of inferior apps, I’m eager to see a solution from Apple that leverages the strength of iOS.

Of all the technologies to dig into at WWDC, Marzipan seems the most important for the future of the Mac, and the topic I’m most interested in watching unfold.

As Craig Hockenberry explains in his post The Future of Interaction, Marzipan is a big win for developers, helping them support multiple platforms with a much smaller baseline of code to maintain.

If you’re an iMessage developer, you have to think about a product that works on iOS, macOS, and watchOS. You get a pass on tvOS, but that’s small consolation. The same situation exists in various combinations for all of Apple’s major apps: Music, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Mail, etc.

It’s likely that all of these apps share a common data model, probably supported by an internal framework that can be shared amongst platforms. That leaves the views and the controllers as an area where code can’t be shared.


With this insight, it’s easy to see Marzipan as a way towards views that share code. A UIView can be used on your TV, on your desktop, on your wrist, and in your pocket. That’s a big win for developer productivity.

And a big win for developer productivity is a big win for users and, in the end, for Apple.