Ahead of its big Mac refresh tomorrow, Apple today has made a subtle change to iCloud.com. Where there used to be a “Home” quick link, Apple has recently updated the iconography to display a new “Launchpad” icon, similar to that on macOS. Now, when you click in the upper-right hand corner of any app and bring up icon grid, you’ll see a new “Launchpad” option where the previous “Home” icon was. Now, before we read too much into this, it’s likely nothing too notable…
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
Apple made the change around a week ago and it’s flown relatively under the radar since then. The likely reasoning for Apple’s decision is to avoid confusion with its new Home app. iOS 10, of course, introduces an all-new Home app that allows you to manage your HomeKit accessories and features an icon very similar to that of the old “Home” icon on iCloud.com. On iCloud.com, though, the Home quick link simply returned you back to the home screen of apps.
The change to a Launchpad icon has caused some eager users to speculate that it could be a hint at future support for web apps, seeing that on macOS, the Launchpad icon brings up a icon grid of all your Mac applications. While it’s certainly possible that Apple is planning to launch support for web apps, the more likely reasoning for the change is consistency between macOS and iCloud.com, as well as to avoid confusion with iOS 10’s Home app.
Web apps would be an interesting choice for Apple, who has long opted for native applications, even in the case of cross-platform services like iTunes and Apple Music. Web apps wouldn’t significantly benefit macOS users, either, as Apple applications generally sync well between devices. Web apps, however, would allow macOS users to access services if they were using a Windows PC. Currently, iCloud.com has web apps for a variety of Apple services, including Mail, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and Find My iPhone. Services like iMessage, FaceTime, and iTunes aren’t supported though.
Nevertheless, this change on Apple’s part is likely nothing more than a change in favor of consistency and less confusion. Though, we’re curious, would you use iCloud web apps? Let us know in comments below.