We have talked here many times about how Project Catalyst would be a breath of fresh air for macOS applicationsallowing developers easily port iPad apps to Apple computers. We also talked about how macOS Catalina represents the “real” start of this initiative, and how from now on we will feel the differences caused by technology.
Well, today we are here to remember that every story has many angles. Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman published today a report expressing concerns and reservations, both from developers and consumers, about the Catalyst Project, its operation and its effects.
One of the main hurdles developers encounter is that the transition from iPadOS to MacOS apps is, in most cases, not nearly as simple as Apple wants to make it look. PCalc creator James Thompson said he “had to work a lot harder than expected” to do the Dice by PCalc run well on Mac – which is hardly a problem in itself as the version of the macOS app needs to be purchased separately which means the developer will get the extra work.
The point, according to Thompson, is that Apple makes it seem that the process of porting an app to the Mac would be “as simple as clicking a checkbox,” so consumers may not understand why they have to pay for “ same ”app twice. Chorus to this concern is developer Steve Troughton Smith:
As a user, I don't want to have to pay again to have the same app. As a developer, I don't want my users to have to make this decision.
The problem seems to arise from the distribution method that Apple has adopted on its other platforms. When I buy an iPhone app, for example, consumers can – in many cases – get the same iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV apps for free, if they exist. The Mac, on the other hand, is separate from this equation: Even in apps with the same functionality on different platforms, it's common for consumers to pay twice if they want to run it, say on an iPad and a MacBook.
That is: either Apple and developers are beginning to rethink this model, or the Catalyst Project will face problems with consumer perception going forward.
Asphalt 9 and Netflix
The cost issue, however, does not seem to be the only problem developers are facing. The Bloomberg story noted that for some reason Apple has removed Asphalt 9: Legends from its macOS Catalina page – or, more specifically, from the section highlighting apps that will soon be ported to the Mac from Catalyst.
If you remember correctly, the racing game was highlighted by Apple in the last WWDC as one of the "flagships" of the feature, with software engineering vice president Craig Federighi noting that Gameloft developers would have been able to port the game to the Mac with just one day's work.
We don't know what may have happened since then, but removing Apple's page title may not be a good sign – and Asphalt 9 wasn't the only app removed: the DC Universe app for comic reading and video playback. from the publisher, has also disappeared from Apple's list and should not win a version for macOS in the near future.
On the other hand, there are companies that don't even care about the Catalyst Project in the first place – such as Netflix, which, consulted by the report, said it has no plans to port its iPad app to the Mac using the technology.
We will see, therefore, how Apple will respond to this controversy.