Developers, developers, developers. We were certainly blown away at the annual Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference not too long ago. Just this month, Apple pointed out some key new features for developers, promising some pretty big things and opening up a brand new world of opportunity for us. In their annual keynote, Apple stole headlines with the expected announcement of iOS 8, the expected announcement of OS X 10.10, called “Yosemite”, but certainly no announcement was larger than that which was for the developers. Apple gave developers some new toys to play with, and the results will certainly be enormous.
The first part of the presentation aimed at the developer’s focused in on improvements made to the App Store. The App Store, which is the only way to download apps on to iOS has seen over 1.2 million apps on the store, and sees over 300 million different customers every single week. It is certainly safe to say that the App Store is a huge part of iOS, and over the last year, the boys and girls back at Cupertino have been working to make it even better. So how exactly have they done so? Well, they started off with an Explore tab, which allows users to prance through and browse through categories, and a variety of beautifully deigned sub-categories in order to find precisely the app they are looking for.
In addition, they have improved the search, allowing users to see what searches are trending, allowing them to see what apps are popular at that very moment. Now, the most popular and the best apps on the store will feature an “Editor’s Choice” button, which will allow users to download comfortably without worrying about the quality of the app they purchase. In order to provide users with an even greater sense of what the app is like, developers are even allowed to post preview videos of their apps, and show off some of the key features and cool parts about their development. Lastly, developers will now have the option to release beta versions of their apps, and even share those beta versions with the public, or select people. This will allow developers to hear straight from the people what should be improved with their apps, which will only make the final versions, and the overall quality of the apps on the App Store, that much more phenomenal.
The next big announcement for developers is none other than that of Metal and SceneKit. Metal will be a new profile used to speed up graphics performance (I highly recommend watching the keynote just to see the demo, Metal is amazing.). SceneKit, on the other hand, is an upgrade from SpriteKit, which will now allow ideal 3D rendering and up the performance that much more for users. iOS 8 will also now feature Extensibility. Essentially, third-party apps will now be able to play into the user interface quite nicely. Instead of using the stock applications for everything, now the share section will be able to feature Pinterest, Safari will be able to rely on your installed Google Translate app in order to quickly translate foreign websites, and much, much more. With over 4,000 APIs already, it is safe to say that this is something developers have been yearning for, and it is remarkable to see all of these become a reality for developers.
The last, and the biggest announcement for developers was bigger than any of us could have previously determined. Craig Federighi took the stage and began talking about how much they love Objective-C, and how for 20 years, they have been using it to create great products and software. Well, what if they could use Objective-C, without the baggage of C? Of course, they “did more than just think about it”, and created their new programming language: Swift. Swift greatly condenses the amount of code, the amount of time and the frustration involved with programming, and presents a high-quality, and fun way to code. Also, when programming with Swift in XCode, developers will be able to see real-time changes in their code, and see the results immediately. This is great since now they will not have to build and run their applications every time they would like to see changes. Swift will also be used to create OS X applications as well. Documentation for the language was released by Apple through iBooks, if you would like to read up on the new language.
All in all, you can see that this presentation was huge for developers, and there will likely be some big changes to what you see, and what you’re able to create in code now. These are monumental moves that Apple is making, and with strengthened developers, and strong software, the hardware s soon to follow, meaning there could be some big changes by the end of the year.