Zettelkasten Forum

iPad(OS) and Mac-ARM-silicon

With the announcement of ARM-based Macs do you think there is a possibility we will see a 'proper' version of The Archive on iPads, as programming for all Apple-platforms and operating systems is supposed to become easier (even easier than now with Catalyst, already bringing iPad-apps to the Mac already)? I'm not a programmer and thus do not have the technical inside and knowledge, but as a consumer honestly for me it would be a strong argument for buying an iPad if I could read, annotate and use The Archive side by side on a tablet in combination with a stylus.

Thank you for your answers!


  • First, I'm not allowed to offer any details about anything because of the Apple NDA.

    Part of publicly available information is the fairly recent development of a new "language" (SwiftUI) to define user interfaces in apps. This makes the actual code super portable, in theory, and will power most of the cross-platform awesomeness in the future, I think. Problem is that the basic list UI widget is not able to smoothly scroll thousands of rows. So displaying a list of notes or search results is wonky.

    With mere Catalyst, you will end up with a wrapped iPad version of the app on the Mac; that's not so great and doesn't look super native, so you'll end up adding a native macOS UI in front of it, aka the thing we already have. This means that I'd rather would have to add an iPad interface and leave the current Mac stuff as-is. That's the approach we all were going for before Catalyst anyway.

    Side note: Since historically, iOS and macOS text views (aka the note editor component) have subtle differences in behavior, I'm not certain what would happen if an iPad-first app in Catalyst would re-cycle the iPad text view component and put it in a native macOS window. Will that work? Will that behave worse, because of Catalyst? Will that behave nicer than the decades-old macOS text view?

    So all in all: there are no plans for an iPad version. I never had a modern iPad or iPad Pro in my hands, and I don't know what the mouse features and the experience with an external keyboard feels like. I bet it's great, and I also bet it's a ton of work to make an iPad app work smoothly, as with any software product that is created with care. That being said, I'd really like to try this one day, but to get there, I need way more headspace in my day to day work :)

    No matter if it's ARM or Intel -- the actual problem of software development here applies: it's hard to make the user experience great, and it's even harder to maintain a good UX for two platforms and develop both in lockstep. (I'm in the fortunate situation that the actual core behavior should be instantly share-able between an iPad and macOS app for years, but "just" replacing the interface is hard enough).

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Thank you for your answer (this is quite incredible – I don't know any other product with such a direct way of interacting with the producers which offer their leisure to care for their customers)! This is even more detailed than I had hoped for and now I can see the limitations more clearly.

    My intention was not to suggest to re-write for the iPad and then wrap up with Catalyst to have something half-baked on the Mac. I just thought that maybe there was now an easy(ier) way to go the other way around from Mac to iPad (/iPhone). I totally understand that you have your focus on Mac but appreciate that one day we may be lucky enough to have The Archive on mobile. Until then we all can happily use Markdown and get along, I think.

Sign In or Register to comment.