Posts Tagged

catalyst

Apple’s Mac Catalyst is becoming very, very serious

Apple appears to be setting the table for some interesting moves with the introduction of Swift Playgrounds for Mac and recent news that it’s now possible to offer both Mac and iOS apps as the same app.

What could this mean? Soe thoughts….

The news in a nutshell

These are the two key items in a little more depth:

1. Swift Playgrounds is now available for Mac

Swift Playgrounds is designed to help people learn now to code through lessons that teach coding concepts and introduce people to how to write applications using Swift. This has only been available on iPad, but is now also for Mac.

What’s particularly interesting is that you can begin projects on a Mac and end them on an iPad, or start on an iPad and finish on a Mac, thanks to iCloud integration.

What’s also interesting is that Swift Playgrounds for Mac was built using Mac Catalyst. That means you get many of the iPad features, but with useful Mac version enhancements including Touch Bar shortcuts.

You can download Swift Playgrounds for Mac here.

2. Universal Mac/iOS purchases

Here’s another piece of exciting news:

“Starting in March 2020, you’ll be able to distribute iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS versions of your app as a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across platforms by purchasing only once,” Apple explains.

This will make it possible for developers to offer apps across all the platforms for one fee. This will also enable software to be sold across all Apple’s platforms (including the Apple TV) on a subscription basis.

People who make powerful video and imaging apps for iPads may see immediate benefit, as Catalyst could let them quickly create Mac versions of their iPad apps.

It’s an important step that should also benefit customers who may resent paying twice for the same software – and should encourage more developers to think about moving their apps to the Mac. It’s set to become a reality starting in March.

What else happens in March?

Bridging the gap

Apple’s moves to close the gap between its iOS and macOS platforms have been predicted for years, and this new sequence of events means it may even be able to combine its App Stores in one place, as predicted early in 2019.

The effort isn’t trivial.

The company has put lots of weight behind it, and while it says its intention isn’t to replace Macs with iOS devices, it also says it does look to leverage logical synergies where it can.

Todd Benjamin, Apple’s macOS product marketing director in 2019, explained:

“Our vision for Mac Catalyst was always to make it easier for any iPad app developer, big or small, to bring their app to the Mac…. Not only is this great for developers, but it’s also great for Mac users, who benefit with access to a whole new selection of great app experiences from iPad’s vibrant ecosystem.”

There’s a significant benefit to enterprise developers, of course, in that it’s now more likely they will build software first for iPad and port this to iPhone and Mac. 

project catalyst mac iphone Apple

Apple’s Project Catalyst will make it easier for developers

What about ARM Macs?

We continue to hear speculation Apple may migrate Macs to ARM processors, particularly as the company begins manufacturing 5nm A14 processors this year. Macworld has even speculated that the next iPhone chip will deliver as much processing power as you get in a 15-in. MacBook Pro.

Way back in 2012, we learned: “Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops.”

Is this likely?

Apple has already said it has no plans to replace Macs with iPads and consistently says it sees both platforms as different things.

That doesn’t necessarily sound like never, as with iPads now offering (limited) support for external mice, keyboard and external storage and with Catalyst enabling easier export of iPad apps to Macs, at least some of the differences between the platforms are less stark.  

There is the matter of who would gains the most.

There are some immediate benefits:

  • Apple makes its own A-series processors in vast quantities. Migrating Macs to them may help reduce the cost of hardware by lowering chip costs – though it is unlikely to be able to migrate all Macs, particularly at the high-end.
  • For an idea of the consequences of migrating from Intel chips to iOS processors, look at what happened when Apple dumped the Intel chip from Apple TV and began using A-series chips instead: The price of the streaming TV box fell from $300 to $99.
  • Apple’s silicon teams are storming ahead of the whole industry in terms of processor power – the current A13 chips deliver vastly better performance than the A10 chips inside an iPhone 7.
  • These processors could be even faster when optimized for large-form-factor Macs, with bigger batteries and better airflow systems.
  • Apple likes to own the primary technology. What could be more important to control than the chips that power its machines?
  • Of course, it’s important to consider the consequences of alienating a key supplier, confusing users with new limitations in terms of app support and possibly alienating developers who may suddenly find it necessary to introduce new versions of their apps. (Catalyst makes that last one a little easier.)
  • However, is this something Mac or iPad users really need? What is the benefit to them? While it might be good to find some kind of hybrid device that works as a touch-based system when required and a traditional Mac UI the rest of the time, the benefits don’t seem especially obvious.

One thing that is true is that even if Apple has no such plans, the work it has done on Catalyst and A-series processors mean it’s more possible than before.

Otheriwse, what would be its motivation?

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s Mac Catalyst seems to be becoming very, very serious

Apple appears to be setting the table for some interesting moves with the introduction of Swift Playgrounds for Mac and recent news that it’s now possible to offer both Mac and iOS apps as the same app. What could this mean?

News in a nutshell

These are the two key news items in a little more depth:

1. Swift Playgrounds is now available for Mac

Swift Playgrounds is designed to help people learn now to code through lessons that teach coding concepts and introduce people to how to write applications using Swift. Until now, this has only been available on iPad, but is now also for Mac.

What’s particularly interesting is that you can begin projects on a Mac and end them on an iPad, or start on an iPad and finish on a Mac, thanks to iCloud integration.

What’s also interesting is that Swift Playgrounds for Mac was built using Mac Catalyst. That means you get many of the iPad features, but with useful Mac version enhancements including Touch Bar shortcuts. You can download Swift Playgrounds for Mac here.

2. Universal Mac/iOS purchases

Another piece of exciting recent news:

“Starting in March 2020, you’ll be able to distribute iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS versions of your app as a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across platforms by purchasing only once,” Apple explains.

This will make it possible for developers to offer apps across all the platforms for one fee. This will also enable software to be sold across all Apple’s platforms (including the Apple TV) on a subscription basis.

People who make powerful video and imaging apps for iPads may see immediate benefit, as Catalyst may enable them to quickly create Mac versions of their iPad apps.

It’s an important step which should also benefit customers who may resent paying twice for the same software – and should encourage more developers to think about moving their apps to the Mac. And is set to become a reality starting in March.

What else happens in March?

Bridging the gap

Apple’s moves to bridge the gap between its iOS and macOS platforms have been predicted for years, and this new sequence of events means it may even be able to combine its App Stores in one place, eventually, as predicted early 2019.

The effort isn’t trivial.

The company has put lots of weight behind it, and while it says its intention isn’t to replace Macs with iOS devices, it also says it does look to leverage logical synergies where it can.

Todd Benjamin, Apple’s macOS product marketing director in 2019 said:

“Our vision for Mac Catalyst was always to make it easier for any iPad app developer, big or small, to bring their app to the Mac… Not only is this great for developers, but it’s also great for Mac users, who benefit with access to a whole new selection of great app experiences from iPad’s vibrant ecosystem.”

There’s a significant benefit to enterprise developers, of course, in that it’s now more likely they will build software first for iPad and port this to iPhone and Mac. 

project catalyst mac iphone Apple

Apple’s Project Catalyst will make it easier for developers

What about ARM Macs?

We continue to hear speculation Apple may migrate Macs to ARM processors, particularly as the company begins manufacturing 5nm A14 processors this year. Macworld has even speculated that the next iPhone chip will deliver as much processing power as you get in a 15-inch MacBook.

Way back in 2012, we learned: “Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops.”

Is this likely?

Apple has already said it has no plans to replace Macs with iPads and consistently says it sees both platforms as different things.

That doesn’t necessarily sound like never, as with iPads now offering (limited) support for external mice, keyboard and external storage and with Catalyst enabling easier export of iPad apps to Macs, at least some of the differences between the platforms are less stark.  

There is the matter of who would benefit.

There are some immediate benefits:

  • Apple makes its own A-series processors in vast quantities. Migrating Macs to using them may help reduce the cost of its machines by lowering chip costs – though it is unlikely to be able to migrate all its Macs, particularly at the high-end.
  • For some idea of the cost consequences of migrating from Intel chips to iOS processors, take a look at what happened when Apple dumped the Intel chip from Apple TV and began using A-series chips instead: The price of the streaming TV box fell from $300 to $99.
  • Apple’s silicon teams are storming ahead of the whole industry in terms of processor power – the current A13 chips are deliver vastly better performance than the A10 chips inside iPhone 7.
  • How much faster could these processors be if optimized for large form factor Macs, with bigger batteries and better airflow systems?
  • It is worth noting the extent Apple likes to own the primary technology. What could be more important to control than the chips that power its machines?
  • But it is also important to consider the consequences of alienating a key supplier, confusing users with new limitations in terms of app support and possibly alienating developers who may suddenly find it necessary to introduce new versions of their apps. Which Catalyst makes a little easier.
  • However, is this something Apple’s Mac or iPad users really need? What is the benefit to them? While it might be good to find some kind of hybrid device that worked as a touch-based system when required, and a traditional Mac UI the rest of the time, the benefits don’t seem especially obvious.

One thing that is true is that even if Apple has no such plans, the work it has done on Catalyst and A-series processors mean it’s more possible than before.

But what would be its motivation?

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s Catalyst will help bring Macs to the enterprise

With the launch of macOS Catalina, the promised wave of iPad-derived Catalyst apps has begun with a twinkle at enterprise Mac deployments.

Catalyst is a work in progress

Having toyed a little with some of these apps, I think it’s fair to describe Catalyst as a work in progress. While it makes it easier for developers to migrate iPad apps to the Mac, there are some inconsistencies. But it looks like Apple is aware of these and is committed to meeting those challenges.

Todd Benjamin, macOS product marketing director, says Apple is listening to developers and users and promises to provide them with “additional resources and support to help them create amazing Mac experiences with Mac Catalyst.”

In other words, Apple is committed to evolving the tools it provides.

Future improvements are likely to include the addition of more AppKit APIs to Catalyst, enabling developers to create more complex and nuanced apps, so the future looks good. It just needs building.

5 Catalyst apps to explore today

Apple has created a Mac App Store section where it is profiling select Catalyst apps, though not all such apps are included. (If there is an iPad app you use that would be useful on a Mac, you should check with the app developer to see whether they plan to make it available on both platforms.)

Anecdotally, I think many developers are waiting to see what the first ports are capable of before committing valuable resources – so they’ll be keen for user feedback to help them decide when, or if, the time is right.

Meanwhile, here are a smattering of Catalyst apps that may come in useful to iPad/Mac using enterprise professionals.

1. GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5 is a brilliant note taking app that lets you create notes on your iPad as if you were working with digital paper. It also offers a powerful iCloud-based document management system and notes are searchable using OCR.

There is a limitation to the Catalyst version in that while you can write with an Apple Pencil in GoodNotes on your iPad, you can’t do so on a Mac, where you must use a mouse, trackpad, or your (somewhat ironically) your iPad running in Sidecar mode.

However, the introduction of Mac support for the app should be useful to any mobile professional who may use their tablet to take notes on the road, then sit down at their Mac to tie all the information together. It costs $7.99.

2. Crew

This is a very useful app if you are managing teams. Crew is already in real-world use at some Dunkin Donuts, Planet Fitness, Wendys, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut franchises,

Crew seems particularly focused on retail deployments and includes management, messaging, engagement and scheduling tools. As the developers behind Crew explain it: “Crew is the first communications app designed specifically for the millions of workers who don’t have ready access to effective communication technology on the job.”

The move to make the app available on Macs absolutely reflects the growing use of Macs in enterprise IT. You can begin using the app for free, but you’ll need to pay for additional features.

3. Jira Cloud by Atlassian

A brilliant project management app, Jira Cloud is capable of scaling up to handle very large teams and is packed with tools and features to make task and project management as easy as those complex tasks can be.

This means you can handle multiple tasks, receive messages and notifications and collaborate on files, customize workflows and monitor things like customer feedback, service levels and project time.

It’s the kind of application project managers can live inside and now works just as well on a Mac, iPad or iPhone. The app is free to download but the service itself costs from $10/month.

4. Post-it

A lot of users seem to like the Post-it app for macOS. It lets you work with images of real notes captured with your camera, as well as virtual notes. This makes the app useful for brainstorming and the digital notes can be arranged, refined, organized and shared with teams, or exported to applications and cloud services.

It famously took the company just one day to port the iPad app to the Mac. And while it’s possible that more sophisticated note taking and brainstorming apps are available, this is also a great example of a distinctive brand finding a unique way to build business relevance in a digital age. Here’s the app.

5. Four Zoho apps

India’s Zoho Corporation has gone for Catalyst in a big way, introducing four apps: Sign, Invoice, Expense and Inventory. Each one links up to the relevant parts of Zoho’s cross-platform business-focused management toolkit, but is focused on the task.

Zoho Sign, for example, makes it easy to sign and share documents in a number of ways, including through cloud services, while Zoho books is an easy-to-use online accounting solution that streamlines bookkeeping and expenses/income tracking.

Zoho clients include (among many others) Amazon, Hyatt, L’Oreal, Suzuki, Netflix and Renault, so it is fair to see the decision to make these apps available to Macs as a reflection of how Apple’s solutions are now in wide use across enterprise IT.

You can download the apps for free, but you’ll need to invest in a Zoho account.

Coming soon

These first few enterprise-flavored apps may not change the world overnight, but I think their existence demonstrates how Apple is moving to amplify Mac adoption in the enterprise on the back of the success of the iPad.

I also believe that enterprises with their own proprietary iPad apps may want to take a look at the early iterations of Catalyst apps as they assess the benefits of introducing Mac versions of those apps to the increasingly Apple-centric world of enterprise IT.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





Source link

Apple’s Catalyst will help bring Macs to the enterprise

With the launch of macOS Catalina the promised wave of iPad-derived Catalyst apps has begun with a twinkle at enterprise Mac deployments.

Catalyst is a work in progress

Having toyed a little with some of these apps it seems fair to describe Catalyst as a work in progress.

While it makes it easier for developers to migrate iPad apps across to the Mac, there are some inconsistencies, but it looks like Apple is aware of these and is committed to meeting those challenges.

Todd Benjamin, macOS product marketing director says Apple is listening to developers and users and promises it will provide them with “additional resources and support to help them create amazing Mac experiences with Mac Catalyst”.

In other words, Apple is committed to evolving the tools it provides

Future improvements are likely to include the addition of more AppKit APIs to Catalyst, enabling developers to create more complex and nuanced apps, so the future looks good – it just needs building.

5 Catalyst apps to explore today

Apple has created a Mac App Store section where it is profiling some selected Catalyst apps, though not all such apps are included.

If there is an iPad app you use that would be useful on a Mac, you should check with the app developer to see if they plan to make it available on both platforms.

Anecdotally, I think many developers are waiting to see what the first ports are capable of before committing valuable resources to the task – so they’ll be keen for user feedback to help them decide when, or if, the time is right.

Meanwhile, here are a smattering of Catalyst apps that may come in useful to iPad/Mac using enterprise professionals.

Brilliant note-taking: GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5 is a brilliant note taking app that lets you create notes on your iPad as if you were working with digital paper. It also offers a powerful iCloud-based document management system and notes are searchable using OCR.

There is a limitation to the Catalyst version in that while you can write with an Apple Pencil in GoodNotes on your iPad, you can’t do so on a Mac, where you must use mouse, trackpad, or your (somewhat ironically) your iPad running in Sidecar mode.

However, the introduction of Mac support for the app should be useful to any mobile professional who may use their tablet to take notes on the road, but then sits down at their Mac to tie all the information together. It costs $7.99.

A useful team management solution: Crew

This is a very useful app if you are managing teams. Crew is already in real world use at some Dunkin Donuts, Planet Fitness, Wendys, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut franchises,

Crew seems particularly focused on retail deployments and includes management, messaging, engagement and scheduling tools.

The developers behind Crew state: “Crew is the first communications app designed specifically for the millions of workers who don’t have ready access to effective communication technology on the job.”

The move to make the app available on Macs absolutely reflects the growing use of Macs in enterprise IT. You can begin using the app for free, but you’ll need to pay for additional features.

Project management powertool: Jira Cloud by Atlassian

A brilliant project management app, Jira Cloud is capable of scaling up to handle very large teams and is packed with tools and features to make task and project management as easy as those complex tasks can be.

This means you can handle multiple tasks, receive messages and notifications and collaborate on files, customize workflows and monitor things like customer feedback, service levels and project time.

It’s the kind of application project managers can live inside and now works just as well on a Mac, iPad or iPhone. The app is free to download but the service itself costs from $10/month.

Reminders for the rest of us: Post-it

Everyone seems to like the Post-it app for macOS.

It lets you work with images of real notes captured with your camera as well as virtual notes. This makes the app useful as a brainstorming app and the digital notes can be arranged, refined, organized and shared with teams, or exported to applications and cloud services.

It famously took the company just one day to port the iPad app to the Mac, and while it’s possible that more sophisticated note taking and brainstorming applications are available, this is also a great example of a distinctive brand finding a unique way to build business relevance in a digital age. Here’s the app.

A wave of apps from Zoho

India’s Zoho Corporation has gone for Catalyst in a big way, introducing four apps: Sign, Invoice, Expense and Inventory.

Each one of these apps links up to the relevant parts of Zoho’s cross-platform business-focused management toolkit, but is focused on the task.

Zoho Sign, for example, makes it easy to sign and share documents in lots of ways, including through cloud services, while Zoho books is an easy-to-use online accounting solution that streamlines bookkeeping and expenses/income tracking.

Zoho clients include (among many others) Amazon, Hyatt, L’Oreal, Suzuki, Netflix and Renault, so it is fair to see the decision to make these apps available to Macs as a good reflection of how Apple’s solutions are now in wide use across enterprise IT.

You can download the apps for free, but you’ll need to invest in a Zoho account.

Up next:

These first few enterprise-flavored apps may not change the world overnight, but I think their existence demonstrates how Apple is moving to amplify Mac adoption in the enterprise on the back of the success of the iPad.

I also believe that enterprises with their own proprietary iPad apps may want to take a look at the early iterations of Catalyst apps as they assess the potential benefits of introducing Mac versions of those apps to the increasingly Apple-centric world of enterprise IT.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple will be the catalyst for North America’s 5G adoption

Repeat after me: You’re only late to a party if you arrive after everyone else, but if you get there before the event is set-up you’ll be in the way. 5G adoption across the next 12-24-months is going to be a little like that.

The 5G party hasn’t started

A motley collection of devices and a small number of 5G mast deployments in a limited number of locations does not a universally available service make.

Adoption of new standards – no matter how exciting takes time. It also takes services.

This is why the most recent GSMA report predicts it will be 2025 before 5G accounts for 46% of global connections, up from a paltry 1% this year and a tiny 4% in 2020.

The biggest growth rate for 5G connections will be between 2020-2021 (up to 14%) and 2021-2022 — the data shows 24% of connections will be over 5G.

Reading between the lines, it seems the mobile industry group is looking to Apple’s deployment of 5G modems inside its 2020 iPhones to help boost adoption.

People get ready

The report also suggests now may well be a good time to begin to think about what kind of B2C and B2B 5G services you can provide, as you’ll be able to begin testing these in North America by later next year.

The GSMA predicts we shall see 80% population coverage in North America by 2021, which suggests service availability my scale up swiftly towards the end of 2020.

(User adoption will be slower as it takes time for consumers to migrate to 5G hardware, and only a fifth of the world’s mobile markets will have launched 5G networks by 2020).

This strongly suggests that consumers and service providers should already be deciding what to wear to the party, and should be thinking about what they want to do when it begins.

Now is a really good time to think about what services you can offer to 5G-connected consumers, particularly in the U.S., but also in other key markets were adoption is expected to reach decent numbers in the next couple of years: South Korea, Japan, Europe and China all look good.

Don’t ignore the opportunity in areas most primed for mobile transformation – Sub-Saharan Africa (a hotbed of fintech innovation) is expected to see 3% 5G market share by 2025 – what services will the most tech savvy and presumably wealthiest consumers in that part of Africa require?

The bottom line?

5G service availability will become viable after 2021. Consumers will begin to use 5G-based services more widely by 2022.

The party is about to begin but hasn’t really started yet.

Every party needs a little entertainment

Think what you bring to a party.

The list likely includes food, refreshment and entertainment.

I think the 5G party will be similar: Collaboration, entertainment and access to new computing experiences, such as on-device intelligence, private clouds and on-demand AR will drive adoption. (Will your next computer be a virtual one in AR space?)

Cable connections will realistically be replaced by mobile, which suggests a wave of industry consolidation.

We’ll see 5G networks driving traffic management systems, and likely see the standard work in conjunction with exciting old-but-now-new technologies such as UWB to provide sensor-based intelligence to semi-autonomous vehicles.

“5G technologies are expected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years,” says the GSMA.

Manufacturing, utilities and professional/financial services will see the biggest benefits, presumably as the standard is used as part of the networking glue to support industrial/enterprise IoT deployments.

New services, new computing models, and smart cities, vehicles and manufacturing will all seek to exploit the bandwidth locked inside of 5G.

Up next?

Apple knows the party is about to begin – why else is it paying a billion dollars to purchase Intel’s modem technologies?

The company is hustling to deliver its own 5G modems as it seeks to cut the cord with Qualcomm, following a very public disagreement with that firm, but isn’t realistically expected to deliver devices containing Apple-made modems until 2022.

That’s not such a bad thing.

Not only will Apple be able to use Qualcomm 5G modems in iPhones just as service provision becomes a thing and the DJs begin playing the first songs of the 5G party when it begins in late 2020; but it will be able to deliver uniquely tuned solutions by the time the party really kicks off in 2022.

We’ll see the first glimpses of those plans in 2020 when Apple introduces new products and continues to evangelize services – including Apple Arcade — it must surely be designing with 5G and future product evolution in mind.

This combination of hardware/software and services will give Apple customers good reasons to invest in those 5G devices in future, inevitably sparking growth in adoption of the standard between 2020-2022.

(I can’t help but also speculate on the far less likely though still possible opportunity that Apple may also see the introduction of its own 5G chips as a chance to sell highly secure IoT/machine intelligence processors to others [MachineKit?] as it deepens its place in the infrastructure.)

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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