I tuned in to the Apple WWDC event today for one very specific reason and ended up getting a little surprise I wasn’t’ expecting. For me, the draw of the keynote today had nothing to do with iPhones, iPads, iOS or iPadOS. Instead, I was there to hear about the transition to ARM silicon in upcoming Macbooks. This new development will have quite a few ramifications for the tech scene as a whole if they pull it off in a way that Microsoft and Windows have yet to do. We talked about that earlier, so I won’t rehash it again.
What they surprised me with is the quick announcement that iOS and iPadOS apps will also be able to run natviely on MacOS once this transition to ARM architecture happens. I’m not sure of the particulars on this ability since Apple spent so little time talking about it, but the gist is exactly the same as what we see on Chrome OS with Android apps. Within the desktop framework, you’ll have the ability to find, download, and install iOS/iPadOS apps right on your Macbook and use them from day one.
So little was shared on this that I’m a bit dubious that this will “just work” and am left a tad curious as to exactly how this will function. Sure, Macbooks on ARM will be running the same architecture as iPad and iPhone are, but the operating systems are not the same. There will likely be steps that need to be taken by the app developer to add this ability, but it will be there for those that want to leverage it. I’m sure we’ll learn much more before the fall when all this is set to release, but this is an interesting move from Apple.
My hope is this shift continues to make general users aware of the ability for their desktop devices to leverage mobile apps. I hope it lends a tad bit of legitimacy to the Android on Chromebooks effort that Google pioneered a few years ago and continues to nurture and develop. For Macbook and Windows users, this all can feel a tad foreign, but as MacOS gains the ability to run mobile apps alongside desktop apps, I think the acceptance of this form of computing wiill continue to develop. We’ve been asking for mobile app developers to take Chromebooks more seriously and anything that makes this form of computing a bit more mainstream is a welcome addition in my book. I know it will likely be forgotten in the coming days, but let’s all just remember: Chromebooks did it first.