Apple working on Project Catalyst versions of Messages and Siri Shortcuts

Today, Steve Troughton-Smith, a developer who leaks most, if not all of Apple’s software secrets, revealed on Twitter that Apple have made Project Catalyst versions of the Messages and Siri Shortcuts application in macOS Catalina, the latest version of macOS announced at WWDC 2019.

Project Catalyst is Apple’s new framework for developers that allows them to automatically port their iPad apps to the Mac with minimal effort. For the longest time, many people have been asking for Apple to improve the Messages app to include iMessage visual effects, stickers, and more. 

Recently, while digging through macOS 10.15 Catalina Developer Beta 2’s files, he discovered Catalyst versions of both these apps. He remarked that they are working, but many areas are not functional yet. Of course, it seems this app is still in development behind the scenes at Apple, so by the time macOS Catalina comes out in September, they should be ready.

Steve Troughton-Smith also remarks that this version of Messages is not the “marzipanified” (the original name for Project Catalyst) version of the Messages application. It has a Mac User Interface and was natively built using the System Frameworks found inside Catalina. This eliminates the feeling of it being a “port” of the messages app from the iPhones or iPads.

The new Messages App on macOS Catalina
Source: Stephen Troughton Smith

Following the discovery of the Messages application on Mac, he also discovered a Catalyst version of the Siri Shortcuts application. Troughton says that this app is “very broken” compared to the more stable Messages app, and that it can be found in the Home app on macOS! From the pictures he’s attached, it does look as though this app is just a port of the iPhone Siri Shortcuts, but I’m keeping the fact that this is still under development in the back of my head. However, if it’s this broken, maybe Apple are planning a redesign for the Home app and Siri Shortcuts is something included said redesign.

Siri Shortcuts running though the Home app on macOS Catalina
Source: Stephen Troughton-Smith

I would love to see a redesigned Messages app, yet keeping a similar and user-friendly user interface, on the Mac. I probably send messages more on my Mac than I do on my iPhone, and it always bothers me that I can’t send voice recordings or effects. Hopefully, Apple will have changed this by the time of Catalina’s release in September.

What do you think of these new apps? From the pictures, these really do look like they could be great apps. Let’s just hope they will be released soon and not just remain inside Apple’s vault of secrets.

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