iOS Apps Thereby Making Electron Apps Obsolete
When Apple first unveiled its plans to transition from Intel to an in-house Silicon chip, the whole tech world was left gasping.
Intel’s gloomy future as the leading chipmaker and Apple’s ability to pull off industry-leading performances with the new Silicon chip became the primary talking points.
Now that Apple has finally launched a brand new Mac lineup powered by their M1 chip, the focus is quickly shifting to the future of web apps on macOS.
For the uninitiated, a lot of apps running on macOS today are built using web frameworks. Electron, popular web technology is used in hundreds of Mac apps including Slack, Visual Studio Code, and more.
But Apple Silicon Macs are all set to change that by putting the limelight back on native apps in the Mac App Store.
Apple Silicon Mac Would Be Able To Run Native iOS Apps Thereby Making Electron Apps Obsolete
Last year, Apple had released Project Catalyst to allow porting iOS and iPadOS apps to macOS with a single click.
In WWDC 2020 the company took it a notch further by enhancing SwiftUI for macOS and bringing a feature to optimize apps for Mac.
This means that users can now start running native iOS and iPadOS on macOS Big Sur powered by the new M1 chip — unless the iOS developer opts out of releasing the Mac-compatible version.
In doing so, Apple has literally doubled down on the Mac App Store while also putting a countdown on the future of Electron apps.
Electron, a cross-platform web development framework allows building apps that work on Windows, Linux, and macOS without requiring multiple codebases. But it has a few caveats.
Plenty of Electron-based apps simply use HTML views as the application user interface and end up providing an experience that’s far from native. In other words, Electron wraps web technologies in the form of apps but is nowhere close to pulling off the capabilities of a native app.
Besides, Electron apps suffer from a lack of default accessibilities of features, and web developers are forced to write more code to emulate that.
Worse, Electron basically uses Chromium which consumes a lot of memory(especially when running multiple web apps) thereby causing performance issues.
No user in their right minds would prefer running apps that hog memory and devour the battery life of their Mac when they can easily run alternative iOS apps. For instance, the Slack Mac app eats a lot of battery and going forward one would prefer running the iOS counterpart on their Apple M1 Mac.
Apple’s Web Dilemma Will Push Electron Apps Further Away From The Mac Ecosystem
It’s no mystery that Apple has been at a crossroads with web technology for decades.
The Cupertino tech giant had single-handedly crippled Progressive Web Apps(PWAs) earlier and brought their own solution in the form of App Clips with iOS 14.
Recently, Apple had restricted cloud gaming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud.
At a surface level, Apple’s aversion to cross-platform frameworks and web technology can be seen as a privacy measure. More so since it’s a challenge to review web apps when they can be notoriously tweaked from the cloud.
But if you’d dig deeper, there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. Apple doesn’t profit much from the web. So one can attribute their strategies as a way to promote their products and technologies in a bid to keep customers glued in their walled garden.
This indicates that despite Apple’s effort to provide Electron support on the Silicon hardware, the company is doing everything it takes to ensure that native apps get more traction and thrive over web apps moving forward.
Electron apps have been here for a while now. They’re incredibly easy to build and ship across platforms and Apple in spite of introducing Project Catalyst hasn’t been able to outperform it.
Neither could the tech giant convince developers or users to use native apps given the Mac App Store was largely limited until recently.
But things have started to change. With the emergence of Apple M1 chips and the massive new macOS Big Sur update, Apple has finally offered a solution to ship a single app that runs across all their platforms.::::::::::::