Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Mac Catalyst 2.0: Doubling Down on the Alignment of the Mac and iPad

John Voorhees, MacStories:

2020’s Mac Catalyst story is a more complicated narrative than ‘check a box, and your iPad app becomes a Mac app,’ but it’s also one that tells a more compelling story that fits with the alignment of the Mac and iPad as mutually reinforcing systems. The same thing can be seen in the redesign of macOS. The facile view is that the Mac is being remade in the iPad’s image. However, this perspective ignores the migration of features like sidebars, Finder-like file navigation, and cursor support from the Mac to the iPad. Each is evolving based on an overarching vision of creating a familiar but platform-specific UI that helps make users comfortable on any of Apple’s devices without learning different interactions and design metaphors where they don’t serve the unique qualities of each device.

In the limited time I’ve spent with the Messages and Maps apps in Big Sur, both demonstrate that Catalyst is no longer an interesting tech demo, but something that can be used to create viable cross-platform applications. I am impressed by what I have seen, and I hope most developers take the time to create a true Mac experience if they choose to port their app using Catalyst.

I still wonder why any of these apps shipped in such a poor state in Mojave, though. What was the rush?