Apple will improve News, Home, Stocks and Voice Memos on the Mac

Craig Federighi has confirmed that Apple will overhaul the macOS apps it ported from iOS last year.

Apple shed light on its plans to bring iPad apps to the Mac this year with Project Catalyst, but last year the company said it was working on a feature called Marzipan to bring iOS apps like News, Home, Stocks, and Voice Memos to the Mac.

However, whilst the majority welcomed their addition to the Mac last year, they received criticism for being too ‘stripped back’ – and none included the advanced functionality or user interface macOS fans had expected.

Speaking to CNETCraig Federighi said he planned to overhaul those apps as part of a future macOS Catalina release.

“They’re getting improvements,” Federighi said during the chat. “The underlying technology has matured…Some of that is super low-level stuff. Some people have dissected those apps and realized that they were sort of two halves: an AppKit half and a UIKit half, literally running in different processes. That’s all unified now. This has become much more of a native Mac framework…So automatically, the apps we built last year are upgraded.”

Whilst Federighi wouldn’t admit that the apps were “bad” or required improvements, he did admit that the issues consumers faced were due to design decisions.

“We’ve looked at the design and features of some of those apps and said we can make this a bit more of a Mac experience through changes that are independent of the use of Catalyst, but are just design team decisions,” he said.

“When I read some of the initial reviews of those apps, people were saying, ‘Obviously this technology is causing them to do things that don’t feel Mac-like.’ Honestly, 90% of those were just decisions that designers made … People took that as ‘this feels iOS-y’ and therefore they thought it was a technology thing. Actually, it was a designer preference. So part of [the upgrade] is we said we’ve got to co-evolve with our user base around the aesthetics of the Mac experience. And so we made some adjustments to the apps.”

Apple has already released two macOS Catalina betas, the most recent including changes to Messages on the Mac and the Siri Shortcuts app which was widely rumored but not released. Whether we see changes to the News, Home, Stocks, and Voice Memos apps before Catalina’s September launch remains to be seen.

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Everything Apple, every day. This post was written by an AppleMagazine newsroom writer.