Omni and Marzipan

There’s a rumour that Apple will announce a way for iPad apps to be ported to macOS at WWDC next month. The rumour mill is calling the project Marzipan. Apple supposedly used this last year to get iOS apps like News, Stocks, and Voice Memos to the Mac.

Yesterday I was listening to a podcast and the host said something like “the developers will just have to push a button to generate a macOS version of an iPad app”.

I went into a little bit of a panic thinking what if OmniFocus does this?

I truly hate OmniFocus for iPad. Every time I use it I bump into friction. So many taps to do anything. So hard to see the information I need.

It would be horrible if Omni tried to unify the apps ala iPad. It would actually be amazing if they macOS-ifyed the iPad one though. OmniFocus for mac is a joy. OmniFocus for iPad sucks.

What makes you think they will? There’s obviously hundreds of thousands of lines of code in each version. Throwing that away wouldn’t be an easy decision, and might yield very little in terms of Development benefit.

Plus I trust Omni Group to make good technical decisions; Much of the reason I buy from them.


I don’t think they will.

And I hope they don’t! I was just sharing that the thought crossed my mind when I heard the guys on the podcast say it was “just clicking a button” (who knows if that’s true also) to turn an iPad app into a macOS app. I can see the appeal to developers to unify and develop once. It would be great if it worked the other way around, i.e. easily port the Mac version to iPad.

But yes, I trust Omni will not do that. I love OmniFocus for Mac and I really miss it when I’m on my iPad.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that down the years, I’d be very well off. Marzipan is real, and has been on the go since last year. It’s work in progress and is. very likely to see significant updates at WWDC next month. It will be a convenient way to ease the development task of porting apps from IOS to Mac OS.


  • It does nothing for the look and feel differences between IOS and Mac apps
  • IOS apps don’t have menus and pull-downs and multiple windows and a whole load of other screen items that are expected on the Mac
  • IOS apps are designed to managed via a touch screen, which. Macs don’t have. You. might be able to emulate elements of the touch experience with a mouse or trackpad, but it’s not the same.
  • Look at any successful app that has both Mac and IOS versions - they’re designs and operational methods are very different
  • The Apple apps that were proved with Marzipan are awful. You can’t even send a News page to Safari.

The Omni guys are smart - they have better things to do with their time than take the version of their app with the least attractive UX and use it to replace the one with the much better UX.

There is no such rumour since Apple has simply announced this feature at last years WWDC where they have explained what it is and which of their own apps are using Marzipan (the ones you mention here).

The only thing that can be seen as a rumour is that this years WWDC will see iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 with this new feature. I must say that this is more an educated guess than a rumour though.

That’s a simplification of what developers need to do. What Apple has pointed out last year is that it is rather easy to create these Marzipan apps. However, that might be different for the developer because they may have to break down their apps (modularise them) which may not be very easy to do (especially those with monolithic apps).

What Marzipan means is rather different from what you think. Marzipan is meant to make things easier for developers. What developers currently have to do is develop a new app for iOS and macOS from the ground up. What Marzipan provides them is that they no longer have to do that when they already have an app on one of the two platforms. You can share certain parts of the app (libraries and such). As Apple has stated, apps for iPhone/iPad have to use a completely different way of interfacing than apps for macOS. This is not going to change. Developers still have to design an interface that works on iOS and one that works on macOS.

It is simply standardising and unifying the foundation of iOS and macOS apps. Currently those are completely different beasts. Car manufacturers have been doing this for some years now (using the same chassis/engine throughout various models of cars) and have stepped it up with electric cars where they are designing an undercarriage where you can put on whatever module you want. By doing so you can skip the development of the undercarriage with each new car you want to design. You only need to focus on the bodywork since the undercarriage is a given. That is exactly what Marzipan is.

This has got nothing to do with it being Marzipan or not. It is simply a matter of not having implemented such functionality. The latter is what is discussed here in this topic thus something like Marzipan is actually offtopic.

Edit: apparently so much offtopic that the Marzipan discussion has now been given its own topic. So I guess…fire away?

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