Craig Federighi Talks Bringing iOS Apps to macOS, Reiterates No Plans for Touchscreen Macs

In a new interview with Wired today, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi discussed yesterday's WWDC keynote, particularly touching upon the company's years-long plan to bring some iOS apps to macOS. In a memorable keynote moment, when Federighi mentioned users constantly asking if Apple would merge iOS and macOS, a giant "No" appeared on screen behind him.

However, the company did detail a plan to take key framework elements from iOS and UIKit and adapt them for macOS, resulting in tools that will let third-party developers easily port iPhone and iPad apps to Mac in 2019. In the interview, Federighi again explained that right now the plan is not to build a single Apple Operating System, but to begin testing out the updated UIKit tools in its own apps for Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memos, coming in macOS Mojave later this year.


Naturally, when news about iOS apps appearing on macOS emerges, people begin to wonder again about a touchscreen MacBook. Federighi quickly shot down that idea -- which has surfaced again and again over the years -- by saying he's "not into touchscreens" on desktop computers, and likely never will be. He also mentioned that Apple doesn't see touchscreen-enabled laptops as rivals.
"We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do," he said.

Federighi added that he doesn't think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as "experiments"—have been compelling. "I don't think we've looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?"
Back on the topic of the iOS/macOS update, Federighi said that instead of these tools being emulators, Apple's plan is building a software framework for iPhone that can be brought over to Mac and "made native" to Mac. Parts of this porting process will be automated, "like turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac," but extra coding is predicted for UI items like menus and sidebars.
Even though the apps are effectively being shared between operating systems, Federighi emphasized that your Mac won't start behaving like an iPhone. "It's still macOS, you still have the Terminal, you can still attach four monitors to it, you can still hook up external drives," he said.
In terms of potential games to make this leap, Federighi mentioned Epic's Fortnite as a likely candidate for porting, and he also stated that websites like IMDB, Yelp, and DirecTV could gain native desktop Mac apps. While these websites could have macOS apps now, the current toolset for developers is "just more work," Wired pointed out, and Apple's new UIKit update in macOS Mojave should make the process a bit simpler.

It's not currently clear when the new tools will be ready for third-party developers, but it appears it will take some time as Federighi suggested we will hear more about the project at WWDC 2019.


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Craig Federighi Says Apple Intends to Address APFS Support for Fusion Drives ‘Very Soon’

Apple is planning to share news on APFS support for Fusion Drives "very soon," Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi told MacRumors reader Jonathan in an email this afternoon.

Federighi shared the detail after Jonathan sent him an email asking whether or not APFS was still in the works for Fusion Drives, which combine a hard drive with flash storage to provide the speed of an SSD with the affordability of a standard hard drive. Fusion Drives are used in iMacs and Mac mini machines.


In response to Jonathan's question, Federighi gave a short but enticing answer, which we verified:
Hi Jonathan,

We intend to address this question very soon...

Thanks,

- craig
With the launch of macOS High Sierra, Apple introduced a new Apple File System for Macs that have all-flash built-in storage. At the time macOS High Sierra was introduced, Apple said that the initial release of the software would not allow Fusion Drives to be converted to APFS, but confirmed APFS support would be coming at a later date.

Since then, iMac and Mac mini owners who have Fusion Drives have been eagerly waiting for Apple to implement support for the feature, but in update after update, no APFS support for Fusion Drives has materialized.

Federighi's statement suggests that APFS will be added as a feature in an upcoming software update, perhaps the macOS 10.14 update that's expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.


For those unfamiliar with the new Apple File System, it's a more modern file system than HFS+ and has been optimized for solid state drives. It is safe and secure, offering crash protection, safe document saves, stable snapshots, simplified backups, strong native encryption, and more.

Related Roundup: macOS 10.14

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Craig Federighi: Apple Focused on Single-User Face ID, Touch ID Was Never Intended for Multiple Users

Apple's current focus with Face ID is on single-user authentication, suggesting support for multiple faces won't be added in the near future, according to an alleged email from the company's software engineering chief Craig Federighi.


By comparison, Touch ID can store up to five fingerprints, and each of those fingerprints can belong to a different person. This allows a married couple, for example, to be able to securely authenticate a single iPhone.

In an email to a customer, however, Federighi appears to admit that Touch ID's multi-finger support has always been intended for a single iPhone owner to authenticate with a finger or thumb on both the left and right hand if desired.

Federighi added that Face ID could eventually authenticate multiple faces as the system evolves in the future, but his email makes it clear that Apple doesn't have any immediate plans to implement said functionality.

The user who shared this email on Reddit has a good reputation and history on the website, so we're inclined to believe it is authentic. However, we are still waiting to receive full headers of the email to verify its origins.

A screenshot of Craig Federighi's alleged email response to a customer

Apple says Face ID has a one in 1,000,000 chance of being spoofed, compared to one in 50,000 for Touch ID, although the probability of a false match is higher among identical twins, siblings who look alike, and children.

Vietnamese security firm Bkav has also been able to spoof Face ID twice with 3D printed masks, but the steps involved are quite complex and this isn't something the average user should be very concerned about.

In practical, real-world usage, Face ID has proved to be very secure and reliable. But, at least for now, it appears that iPhone X owners won't be able to extend this convenience to their trusted family members or friends.


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Craig Federighi Says 3D Touch App Switcher Gesture Will Return in Future Update to iOS 11

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that a popular 3D Touch gesture for accessing the App Switcher will apparently return in a future update to iOS 11.

Federighi, replying to an email from MacRumors reader Adam Zahn, said Apple had to "temporarily drop support" for the gesture due to an unidentified "technical constraint."

Question from Zahn: Could we at least make the 3D Touch app switch gesture an option in iOS 11 so that I could retain the ability to switch apps that way instead of having to double tap the home button?

Response from Federighi: Hi Adam,

We regretfully had to temporarily drop support for this gesture due to a technical constraint. We will be bringing it back in an upcoming iOS 11.x update.

Thanks (and sorry for the inconvenience)!

- craig

On devices that support 3D Touch running iOS 9 or iOS 10, users can press deeply on the left side of the screen, drag to the right, and release to quickly access the App Switcher. The gesture stopped working in the iOS 11 beta, and an Apple engineer later confirmed it was "intentionally removed."


MacRumors has verified this email exchange passed through mail servers with an IP address range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California. Coupled with the fact Federighi has been replying to several customer emails since the iPhone X event last week, we're fairly confident in its accuracy.

Federighi replies have also revealed that Face ID will work with most sunglasses and that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


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Craig Federighi: Apple Has Considered Nightstand Mode for iPhone X

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


"This is definitely something we've considered," said Federighi, in response to an email from MacRumors reader Zain. "This probably makes the most sense for customers who charge their phone in a dock that tilts up the phone."

However, Federighi noted that it's "not currently super common" for people to charge their iPhones that way.

Nightstand mode is an Apple Watch feature that allows the watch to be used as a nightstand clock and an alarm clock while it is laying on its side and charging. The watch displays the time in large text, along with the date, the battery's remaining charge, and an upcoming alarm if one is set.

When the Apple Watch is in Nightstand mode and isn't being used, the display turns off. To see the display again, users tap it, press the Digital Crown or the side button, or lightly nudge the Apple Watch. Sometimes, even nudging or tapping the nightstand or other surface the watch is sitting on works.

Since the iPhone X can't be positioned on its side by itself, it could be placed on a wireless charging pad with an angled stand, like this one from RAVPower. Coupled with new tap to wake functionality for the display, the idea of a Nightstand mode for iPhone X could make sense.

Apple could add Nightstand mode to iPhone X in a future update to iOS 11, but it's possible they've already dismissed the idea.

Federighi has been replying to several customer emails over the past week following Apple's iPhone X event at Steve Jobs Theater.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tags: Craig Federighi, Nightstand mode

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