apple ios 11
Apple's iOS 11 for iPhones and iPads. Apple

Apple could soon release apps that work across iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, according to a Bloomberg report released Wednesday.

Currently, developers have to design to separate apps, one for iOS gadgets and another for Mac computers. Apple is reportedly changing that up starting early next year. The company will soon allow developers to design a single app that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad. The single app system means applications will be able to work with an iOS device and on a Mac computer, sources told Bloomberg.

Apple’s move is an effort to allow developers to expand iOS apps to Mac computers. Some customers have complained about the lack of apps on the Mac App Store. Many of the programs for Macs are also outdated. For example, the Twitter app on iOS includes the latest features, while the Mac version has not seen a refresh recently. Rolling out universal apps will give all Apple device users access to the latest features.

The new universal app system could be announced during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference during the summer, when the company usually tends to reveal upcoming software improvements. The changes could launch in September for the iOS and macOS updates. However, the new system, dubbed Marzipan, could be changed or canceled, sources told Bloomberg.

The report did not specify whether the single app system would also work with other Apple devices, like the Apple Watch, Apple TV and the upcoming HomePod speaker.

Apple’s app system changes would follow Microsoft. The company merges mobile and desktop apps with its Universal Windows Platform. After pushing the system, Microsoft discontinued the Windows software for mobile devices. The Universal Windows Platform allows developers to create a single app that works on all devices, whether it's a tablet, smartphone or computer. Besides mobile gadgets and computers, Microsoft universal apps work with IoT devices, the xBox game system and Hololens.

“The UWP (Universal Windows Platform) provides a guaranteed core API across devices,” Microsoft explains on the system’s website. “This means you can create a single app package that can be installed onto a wide range of devices. And, with that single app package, the Microsoft Store provides a unified distribution channel to reach all the device types your app can run on.”

The Microsoft webpage also tells developers:

“Because your UWP app runs on a wide variety of devices with different form factors and types of input, you want it to be tailored to each device and be able to unlock the unique capabilities of each device. In addition to the guaranteed core API layer, you can write code to access device specific APIs so that your app lights up features specific to one type of device while presenting a different experience on other devices.”

Besides Microsoft, Google has also done something similar. The search engine company brought the Playmobile app store to some laptops running on desktop Chrome OS. The system allows users to run mobile device app like Instagram and Snapchat on computers.