Apple’s WWDC conference has begun, kicking off with a keynote that covered major upcoming news and announcements. As anticipated, the company has revealed new iOS and macOS versions, as well as news that’s vital for app developers.
The major announcement was iOS 13, the newest version of the iPhone’s operating system. This update brings several new features to iOS devices, including:
- Dark mode
- Time-synced lyrics added to Music
- Minor updates for Safari, Mail, Notes and Reminders
- Major updates to Maps, including street views, favorites, and built-in location information
- Messages updated with Memoji/Animoji avatars
- Memoji updated with new emoji stickers and additional customization
- New photo and video editing functionality
- New Photos app features
The updates were numerous, but mostly related to Apple’s own built-in apps. Developers should still think about how their apps will look and behave in dark mode, as well as prepare for the various updates to the device functionality that will come with iOS 13.
One major focus on WWDC 2019 was privacy and security. One major change in iOS 13 involves location information – users can now approve temporary location access to an app, but the app would then have to request access again the next time it wants to use it. This will help users who want to grant one-time access without needing to go back into permissions and revoking it after use.
Another major security change is the new “Sign in With Apple” login function. This is similar to apps and websites that allow users to sign in with their social media accounts but is connected to a user’s Apple account. Users can login through it using their device’s biometric scanners (such as facial recognition) without sharing extra information to the app. Additionally, if an app requires an email address, Apple will provide a randomized email address that forwards any pertinent emails to the user, so their actual address is kept secret from the app in case its security is compromised.
Developers will be able to add the “Sign in With Apple” option to their apps when building for iOS 13.
Apple has also continued its foray into augmented reality with the new RealityKit. This is built from the ground up for AR, and seamlessly integrates into ARKit. With the new updates and features, developers can integrate “People Inclusion” into their AR apps, which can identify and track people to layer the virtual content around them. It also features motion capture, which tracks movements in real-time and feeds it into the AR experience.
Developers can also use RealityComposer to access a library of 3D models for AR content. Those can be added through a simple drag-and-drop interface to help build interactive environments.
As AR apps continue to grow, developers are looking into ways to enhance the AR experience on their apps. The updates to ARKit can provide new functionality that they can add to their apps and call out through their videos, screenshots and descriptions to showcase the upgrades to users.
Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, has also received an update for iOS 13. Siri Shortcuts for iOS 13 is available as an app built in to the phone, so users can access their shortcuts from one place. Users can use it to build shortcuts for their Siri-enabled apps through suggested automation. Developers with apps enabled for Siri should consider ways their apps can utilize Siri Shortcuts and suggest ways their users can make the most of it.
Siri’s voice is also being updated to sound more natural. The virtual assistant now uses natural text to speech, with every word being generated by software to provide a more natural cadence.
iPad is also receiving its own operating system with the introduction of iPadOS. This provides several functions built to work with the larger iPad screens, including:
- New widgets
- Slide-over multitasking
- Split-view multi-window capabilities
- Built-in support for SMB file sharing
- USB support for thumb drives and camera cables
- New keyboard shortcuts
- Multi-touch text editing
The new iPadOS will continue to support third-party apps, which can also function within the multitasking bars and multi-window screens. Developers should begin working on updating the iPad versions of their apps for iPadOS to ensure they continue to run smoothly and work well when viewed and managed with the new functions.
macOS and MacPro
Along with iOS 13 and iPadOS, Apple revealed the macOS Catalina. The latest version of macOS features several updates, including new voice controls and an updated Find My Mac function that can work even when offline.
Along with the new macOS, there’s a new MacPro. The new computer is built with a new Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores and holds up to 1.5 terabytes of system memory. Notably, it’s also built to be modular and flexible, so users can add to it as required for their work or hobbies.
Perhaps most importantly, Project Catalyst will enable developers to quickly adapt their iPad apps into macOS apps. When used with Xcode, the platform automatically builds in basic features, like mouse input and window resizing, so developers can focus on the core functionality of their apps and ensure they work on Mac computers. With Catalyst, a single team of developers can create an app that can be used across iPhone, iPad and Macs with minimal adjustments between devices. This will help developers reach a wider audience or encourage users to download their app on multiple devices.
More major news for developers comes from the new Swift framework: SwiftUI. This is a new and easier way to develop apps with less coding; as demonstrated, developers can drag and drop functionality into Xcode to see the coding and preview update immediately. They can then adjust directly from the preview. It also reduces the amount of code an app requires by a large extent.
SwiftUI is customized to all native controls from a common API. Developers can also use it to design apps for both iOS and watchOS devices.
These were the highlights from Apple’s keynote, but WWDC will continue running throughout the week. Keep an eye on Gummicube for any new announcements relevant to app development, marketing, and App Store Optimization.
Beta versions of all the new platforms are available for developers today. Public seeds will be made available in July, before the software is made available for all users in the Fall.
Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.