Project Catalyst Features

First discovered back in 2017, Marzipan was an internal code name for a project that aims to adds new developer tools that will enable developers to design and engineer a single application that runs on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Users saw the first part of this project in macOS Mojave. Mojave included apps like Apple News, Voice Memos, Stocks, and the Home app. At WWDC 2019, Marzipan was renamed to Project Catalyst.

In recent years, there seems to have been a move to web apps as companies look to trim development costs. Web apps have gotten faster and more fully featured, and this has led to a “write once” and ship everywhere approach for desktop applications. Chromebooks have certainly played a part of this strategy as well. Marzipan is aimed at making it easier to write and deploy apps for macOS.

Project Catalyst Apps

Apple’s Project Catalyst apps originally faced a lot of criticism for being so clunky and alien to macOS.  Future apps are said to be much better. Twitter will be using Catalyst to bring an official Twitter client back to the Mac. Apple invited Atlassian on stage at WWDC to demo a new JIRA bug reporting client for macOS, by porting their iPad experience.

With macOS Catalina, Apple will be releasing new version of the Music, Podcast, and TV app using Catalyst.

Project Catalyst Release Date

As part of the 2018 WWDC keynote presentation, Craig Federighi showed off a sneak peek of Marzipan.  The rumor is that by 2021, Apple wants developers to be able to submit a single binary to the App Store that will house the necessary logic and interface code to deploy onto iPad, iPhone and Mac.

At WWDC 2019, Apple took the wraps off Project Catalyst by announcing Catalyst. Apple is bringing its UIKit on the Mac framework to allow developers to bring iPad apps onto the Mac very rapidly; Apple says the app experience should be significantly improved than what was seen in the Voice Memos, News, Home and Stocks app introduced in Mojave.

Top Stories

Project Catalyst Stories March 11, 2021

The note-taking app Notability just launched on the Mac. The developer Ginger Labs promises the same powerful features as their best-selling iPad app thanks to its use of Apple’s Mac Catalyst technology.

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Project Catalyst Stories January 17, 2020

Last year at WWDC and then on its website, Apple highlighted some of the major developers that would bring apps from iOS to Mac with its Catalyst framework. One of those was Gameloft’s highly popular Asphalt 9: Legends. Now after a few delays, it has quietly landed on the Mac App Store.

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Project Catalyst Stories October 29, 2019

Twitter brought its app back to the Mac earlier this month with the help of Catalyst. Now the app is seeing its first major update and there are a host of improvements and bug fixes for app stability, keyboard shortcuts, multiple account management, and much more.

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Project Catalyst Stories July 1, 2019

Last month at WWDC, Apple officially named Catalyst as its new framework for allowing developers to bring their iPad apps to Mac and we’ve heard more information trickle out about the software over the last few weeks. Now, Ars Technica has put together a highly informative deep dive on Catalyst ahead of its release with macOS Catalina that includes detailed insight from Apple executives and third-party developers who have already been using the software. In addition to lots of useful information for developers, there are details about what Mac users can expect and what Apple is doing to make sure porting iPad apps to macOS doesn’t mean Mac apps will become watered-down.

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Project Catalyst Stories June 15, 2019

At WWDC last week, Apple announced its new Project Catalyst technology to make it easier for developers to bring iPad applications to the Mac. Apple teased that Twitter was an early partner and would be using Project Catalyst to bring Twitter back to the Mac. Now, Twitter has offered up some more details on that process in a blog post.

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Project Catalyst Stories April 22, 2019

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off on June 3rd. Last week, we shared exclusive details about iOS 13 and macOS 10.15. Today, we are sharing details about new features and APIs for developers that should be announced at the event, according to sources familiar with the development of Apple’s new operating systems.

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Project Catalyst Stories April 10, 2019

During the “It’s show time” event in late March, Apple announced that the TV app would be coming to the Mac soon. This naturally sparked discussions about whether Apple would be bringing its other media apps to the Mac, finally splitting up iTunes into distinct applications.

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Project Catalyst Stories March 9, 2019

One of the trends we’ve seen over the years in K–12 is the move away from native applications for the desktop. In fact, outside of Microsoft Office, I don’t know of a mass market application that’s launched as a native app on macOS in my entire time as an IT Director in education since 2009. Content/development firms for K–12 have always wanted a write once and run everywhere approach. It was tried with Java. It was tried with Flash. Both of those worked for a time, but they had clear faults. I would argue that we’re just now in the post-Flash era in K–12. Now, with Marzipan, Apple is giving a shot to the write once and run everywhere strategy. What will be the impact of Marzipan in K-12?

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Project Catalyst Stories February 21, 2019

There have been several reports noting that Apple will be switching away from Intel processors for its Mac lineup in favor of its own in-house ARM chips as soon as 2020. Axios is today reporting that several developers and Intel officials also expect the move as early as next year.

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Project Catalyst Stories February 20, 2019

We learned a little more today about Apple’s plans for Marzipan, its UIKit that will make it easy for developers to port iOS apps to the Mac.

Today’s report suggests that the project will be rolling out a little more slowly than expected, with an SDK for third-party apps launching at this year’s WWDC – but only for iPad apps …

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Apple is planning a multi-year roadmap for its cross-platform app project. First previewed at last year’s WWDC with the launch of the News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos app, Marzipan makes it near-automatic for developers to port iPad apps to macOS.

A third-party SDK for Marzipan will launch at this year’s WWDC for iPad and Mac universal apps. According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to add Marzipan-esque conversion of iPhone to Mac apps in 2020. The publication also says that Apple has ‘weighed previewing’ a new version of the Mac Pro at the conference.

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Project Catalyst Stories October 18, 2018

On Monday, Adobe unveiled Photoshop CC for iPad, one of the most ambitious third-party software projects we’ve ever seen for iOS. With over 28 years of history on the Mac, moving to a new platform is no easy feat. Photoshop’s breadth of tools makes it essential to the workflows of many creative professionals. Even though it won’t ship until next year, there’s already considerable interest and numerous questions from curious iPad users and Photoshop fans about the upcoming app. 9to5Mac talked with Photoshop’s Senior Product Manager Jenny Lyell to learn more about Adobe’s goals for Photoshop on iPad and to clear up a few pressing questions.

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Project Catalyst Stories June 13, 2018

With macOS Mojave, Apple introduced four apps that were previously only available on iOS: Stocks, News, Home and Voice Memos. During the presentation, speculation began on how these could be the iOS apps themselves, ported to the Mac with the rumored Marzipan project. At the end of the Keynote, Craig Federighi presented a sneak peek at a multi-phase project they’ve been working on. Without giving it any name, Craig explained that this project allows iOS apps to be ported to the Mac with minimal effort,that Apple used this for their News, Stocks and Voice Memos apps and that it would become available to third-party developers next year. I decided to explore this project and see just how minimal an effort it would be to port an existing, real-world iOS app to the Mac.

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Project Catalyst Stories April 30, 2018

5/1: Updated with new details below…

Over the last few months, reports have suggested that Apple is working on a new cross-platform feature that would allow across iOS and macOS. While the feature has been speculated to be included in iOS 12, a new report says it’s not coming until 2019 and may not be as extensive as initially thought…

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Project Catalyst Stories December 20, 2017

Apple will add new developer tools that will enable developers to design and engineer a single application that runs on iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, according to a report from Bloomberg. This will be a huge step for the Mac app ecosystem especially, as it should make it easier for third-party developers to maintain one app that runs on iOS and Macs.

The apps would be designed in such a way that they can work with a touchscreen, mouse, and trackpad depending on which platform the app is running on. The new ability is scheduled to launch with iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 next year, but the timeline could change.

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