Apple. Picture: REUTERS
Apple. Picture: REUTERS

San Jose — Apple is expected to give software makers new tools on Monday to make it easier to adapt their iPad and iPhone apps for its Mac laptops.

The thousands of developers expected to descend on San Jose, California this week for the tech giant’s annual developer conference write the apps in Apple’s App Store. The App Store is a key driver of the iPhone maker’s services segment, which brought in $37.1bn in revenue in 2018. Apple takes a cut of sales from apps sold through the store, though that practice is under scrutiny in several legal proceedings.

Investors are looking to Apple’s services business to power Apple’s revenue and profits as iPhone sales decline. Revenue from the company’s signature device had its biggest year-on-year decline in its most recent quarterly earnings report.

But Apple still sold more than 10 times as many iPhones and iPads as it did Mac computers in 2018, so many developers focus on writing their apps for them rather than the Mac.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and software chief Craig Federighi are expected to announce in a keynote address new tools that will make it easier for developers to put their apps on Macs without completely rewriting the code. Apple previewed the tools at the 2018 conference, saying they would be released in 2019 , and Bloomberg reported in recent weeks that Apple still plans to release them.

The move could broaden the apps available for Macs and give Apple more chances to make money on apps for its longest-lived product line. Apple will also update its operating systems and apps at the annual conference.

Apple is expected to retire the iTunes app for the Mac. Originally introduced in 2001 by Steve Jobs as a way to load songs onto the then-new iPod, iTunes became sprawling over the years, letting users manage music and movies as well as handle backups and updates to iPhones and iPads. Updates for iPhones can now be handled wirelessly, and Apple said it will replace iTunes with standalone apps for music, video content and podcasts, similar to how those tasks are handled on iPhones and iPads.

The updates come as Apple’s App Store practices are under scrutiny. In May, the US Supreme Court allowed an antitrust lawsuit to proceed from users who allege Apple inflated the price of apps by not allowing iPhones to download apps outside the App Store.

Spotify Technology, whose music service competes with Apple’s, has lodged an antitrust complaint in Europe over Apple’s App Store practices.

Apple shares were up 0.8% at $176.43 before the start of the annual developer conference

Reuters