Apple offers developers even more powerful technologies
New APIs allow for deeper platform integration and more capabilities for third-party applications
Apple today revealed new technologies and APIs that will allow developers to create richer user experiences. Developers can use widgets on the Lock Screen to display key information in their apps in a new manner. Other APIs from Apple’s platforms allow them to create more unique features. WeatherKit allows developers to integrate Apple Weather forecast data directly in their apps. Xcode Cloud, Apple’s continuous integration service and delivery service, is now available to all Apple Developer Program members to help them build better-quality apps faster. Metal 3 allows gaming developers to create stunning graphics at a faster speed. Additionally, Apple’s Swift, SwiftUI and Xcode have been improved to make it easier to develop for Apple’s platforms. SKAdNetwork has been improved so that ad networks can measure the performance of ads while still protecting user privacy.
Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice-president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing, stated that “We love working with our community and providing them new innovative technologies that enable their developers to build the next generation of apps.” With powerful APIs for widgets on Lock Screen, new services such as WeatherKit, Xcode Cloud available to every Apple developer to help them build apps faster, and Metal 3’s new gaming capabilities, developers now have the tools they need to create great app experiences their users will love.
Xcode Cloud Now
Xcode Cloud now offers a variety of subscription plans that best suit developers’ needs. These include 25 hours per monthly free to all Apple Developer Program members, up to 1,000 hours per months.
Xcode Cloud, which is integrated into Xcode and designed for Apple developers, is a continuous integration cloud service that delivers high-quality apps. This cloud service allows developers and teams of any size to create, test and deliver high-quality apps more efficiently. It automatically builds apps in the cloud, freeing up their Mac to do other tasks. Parallel testing in the cloud allows developers to test on every Apple device and deploy an internal build for testing. Beta testers can also be delivered through TestFlight.
Developers can find out more about Xcode Cloud plans here.
Xcode 14 improvements
Xcode 14 includes new enhancements that further enhance developer productivity. With improved parallelism, project builds can be completed up to 25% faster. The Xcode app is also 30% smaller and easier to download. There are simulator runtimes available for watchOS, tvOS, and Xcode 14. Multiplatform targets create a single SwiftUI interface that can be used across iOS, iPadOS and macOS. The developer code is simpler to maintain and highly customizable to make the most of each platform’s unique capabilities. SwiftUI live previews in Xcode are interactive by default. This means that changes can be made immediately and developers have the ability to create variants without having to modify any code or alter the color scheme, text size or orientation of the device. Xcode automatically generates all required assets using the new App Icon feature from Assets Catalog. Xcode offers language and editing enhancements, smarter autocompletion and additional dynamic snippets to help developers write the code they want faster.
New Gaming Capabilities
Metal 3 is the latest version of Apple’s graphics framework. It includes new features that allow game developers to harness the power of Apple silicon to achieve even better gaming performance. MetalFX Upscaling allows developers to quickly render complex scenes using less computationally intensive frames and then apply spatial upscaling or temporal anti-aliasing of high quality. This results in games that feel responsive and stunning graphics. A new Fast Resource Loading API is available to game developers. It minimizes waiting time and provides a direct path from storage and the GPU. This allows games to access high-quality geometry and textures to create immersive worlds that allow for realistic and immersive gameplay.
Game developers who integrate with Game Center now have the ability to add Activity views to their dashboard. This allows their users access to their friend’s games and high scores. Users can now play together in real-time with SharePlay support.
SwiftUI and SwiftUI Enhancements
SwiftUI and SwiftUI are the best ways to create an app. They also have new features that make it easier to develop apps.
Swift now has a string processing capability that includes regular expression literal support. This allows developers to quickly verify the accuracy of regular expressions and extract more information using less code. Swift Package Manager now makes it easier for developers and users to create custom commands and upload them to other people.
SwiftUI, Apple’s next-generation user interface framework features an enhanced navigation API that makes it easier for developers and users to control how their apps move from view to view. Developers can create custom layouts that are more than just the standard app layouts. Swift Charts are customizable to meet almost any charting requirement, so developers can visualize data better in their apps.
WeatherKit allows developers to embed the same high-quality global forecasts that power Apple Weather directly in their apps. Apple Weather is a combination of high-resolution meteorological models and machine learning and prediction algorithms. It provides the latest weather and 10-day hourly forecasts. Developers can access it through native Swift or REST APIs. A member of the Apple Developer Program includes 500,000 API calls per year. Developers who require more service can purchase it in the Apple Developer App starting in the fall.
Developers can find out more about WeatherKit plans here.
Privacy-Focused Approach for Measuring Ads
SKAdNetwork API has new features that help advertisers and ad networks better measure the performance of ads in apps and on the internet while protecting user privacy. Developers can optimize campaigns with hierarchical source IDs without worrying about cross-app tracking. SKAdNetwork offers hierarchical conversion numbers to enable developers to get more information about conversions for smaller campaigns. Developers can also calculate the return on ad spending by offering multiple conversions within defined time windows.
For even more powerful apps, there are new APIs
Apple developers now have access to more APIs than ever before in order to create apps that users love. The following APIs are available for developers:
- Widgets for the Lock Screen: Developers can now seamlessly share code between their widgets in the iPhone Lock Screen and the complications on Apple Watch. These widgets are built on the same WidgetKit API.
- Live text: Developers now have the option to offer users the ability of grabbing text directly from photos or videos in their apps, as well as through a live feed. For greater privacy and performance, Live Text is processed directly on the device.
- Collaboration tools Third-party apps can access the rich collaboration features embedded in Messages. Developers have the ability to highlight content users share from their app using Messages. This allows recipients to easily access that content in a new Shared With You section of their app.
- Passkeys – Next-generation credentials are safer, more user-friendly, and are designed to work in mobile apps as well as the web.
- MapKit Third-party apps may include 3D city experiences and Look Around to enhance the user experience. The new Apple Maps Server APIs make it easier to integrate Maps.
- Focus filters – Developers have the ability to adjust the content of their apps according to the current Focus.
- Automatic Shortcuts Developers now have the option to use App Intents to allow their apps to work with Shortcuts and Siri.
- WatchOS 9: CallKit now supports VoIP calls; the share sheet allows users to send content directly from their favorite apps to iMessage or other messaging apps. Third-party apps can also access the Photos app using Photos picker, and integrate with Apple TV.
- RoomPlan Powered by ARKit developers can now use the LiDAR scanner on iPhone and iPad to create a 3-D floor plan of a room with specific characteristics such as dimensions and furniture.
- Live Activities – Developers can use WidgetKit to keep their users informed about the latest activity or event. This is done right from the Lock Screen.