Apple News, Home, Stocks, and Voice Memos Apps will Get Major Improvements with macOS Catalina

George Herman
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Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi told CNET that the Apple News, Voice Memos, Home and Stocks apps on Mac will be getting major updates to improve the experience with macOS Catalina.

The software chief explained that Apple has used those four applications as a way to learn about how to combine UIKit and AppKit. However, alongside the expansion of Project Catalyst this year, the experience is much more unified than it used to be:

“They’re getting improvements,” Federighi said. “The underlying technology has matured… Some of that is super low-level stuff. Some people have dissected those apps and realized that they were sort of two halves: an AppKit half and a UIKit half, literally running in different processes. That’s all unified now. This has become much more of a native Mac framework… So automatically, the apps we built last year are upgraded.”

Regarding some of the early users complaints about News, Home, Voice Memos, and Stocks, Craig Federighi attributes much of the issues to design decisions. The expert said that the coming improvements will make those apps much more Mac-like, featuring new aesthetic decisions to match the rest of macOS.

Federighi also hopes that the aesthetic changes will help curb some of the complaints Apple received over the past year:

We’ve looked at the design and features of some of those apps and said we can make this a bit more of a Mac experience through changes that are independent of the use of Catalyst, but are just design team decisions,” Federighi said.

When I read some of the initial reviews of those apps, people were saying, ‘Obviously this technology is causing them to do things that don’t feel Mac-like.’ Honestly, 90% of those were just decisions that designers made … People took that as ‘this feels iOS-y’ and therefore they thought it was a technology thing. Actually, it was a designer preference. So part of [the upgrade] is we said we’ve got to co-evolve with our user base around the aesthetics of the Mac experience. And so we made some adjustments to the apps.”

Until now, Apple has launched two developer betas of macOS Catalina, however, Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memos apps did not receive many improvements. Yet, Federighi claims that Apple is still “tuning everything up” and you’ll be able to see a real difference with the release of the public beta next month.

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