Info-tech

Apple introduces new tools and technologies for developers

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 08, 2021

Xcode Cloud, a new service for developers, new additions to the Swift programming language, updates to the App Store among highlights

Apple unveiled a range of new tools and technologies designed to help developers create better apps at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 21) event on Monday.

The tools are meant to help developers create engaging app experiences and make it easier to build high-quality apps. This includes Xcode Cloud, a new service for developers, new additions to the Swift programming language, new APIs, and updates to the App Store.

Xcode Cloud is a new continuous integration and delivery cloud service designed specifically for Apple developers. The platform is built into Xcode 13. Xcode Cloud can automatically build apps in the cloud.

It allows for parallel testing in the cloud so that developers can test on a simulated version of every current Apple device, then easily deploy a build of the app for internal testing, or deliver it to external beta testers through TestFlight for instant feedback.

Also read: Apple WWDC21 Preview: Here's all you need to know

On the App Store, it has introduced in-app events and Custom Product Pages. Custom Product Pages will let developers showcase different features of their app for different users, while Product Page Optimisation will give developers the ability to test different screenshots, preview videos, and app icons.

It is also introducing updated guidelines that include support for the emerging category of apps that offer creator content experiences. The developer code of conduct has also been expanded including updated guidelines around developer identity requirements, ratings and review manipulation, and excessive customer complaints. There are also new avenues for developers to appeal an app rejection on concerns of bias, as well as the option for them to report an app if there is reason to believe it presents a trust or safety concern, or is in violation of the App Store Review Guidelines, Apple said.

Swift

For Apple’s programming language, Swift, it now features built-in concurrency support.

“This means developers can more easily write code that does work in parallel, which is key to building apps that are responsive to user input while doing more work in the background,” Apple explained. It has also updated the SwiftUI with enhancements for improving list views, search experiences, in-app accessibility features, multi-column tables, etc.

Augmented Reality

It also made a range of new announcements in Augmented Reality(AR). Apple now has over 1 billion AR-enabled devices powered by ARKit, a framework that allows developers to easily create AR experiences, and RealityKit, the rendering, animation, audio and physics engine built from the ground up for AR.

It introduced RealityKit 2 with Object Capture, an API on macOS Monterey that enables developers to create 3D models of real-world objects by taking photos shot on iPhone, iPad, or DSLR and transforming them into 3D models optimised for AR. These models can be viewed in AR Quick Look or added to AR scenes in Reality Composer or Xcode.

Additional tools and APIs

It has also announced new APIs and tools in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS for gaming.

A notable feature introduced by Apple is SharePlay which will be used by apps like Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, TikTok, and Twitch to build new types of shared experiences for users on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Third-party video-calling apps will also be able to leverage the latest FaceTime enhancements, including Voice Isolation, Wide Spectrum Audio, and Portrait mode.

Messaging apps including Slack and WeChat can now share user status in conversations; apps like Uber Eats can have Siri announce incoming messages; and new Notification APIs enable high-priority and communication notifications from apps like Chase Mobile and Zomato to break through Do Not Disturb or a Focus.

It has also introduced a range of new camera APIs, TestFlight on the Mac, StoreKit 2, new extensions in Safari by web developers including Grammarly and Honey available across iPhone, iPad, and Mac and a new CarPlay simulator for Mac.

Another tool introduced by the tech giant, ShazamKit will enable developers to integrate audio recognition technology directly from Shazam into their apps.

Availability

Developer betas for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15 are available to Apple Developer Programme members at developer.apple.com. Xcode Cloud will currently be available as a limited free beta, with expanding access throughout this summer and fall, and will be available to all developers next year. More details on pricing and availability for Xcode Cloud will be shared this fall, Apple said.

Published on June 08, 2021

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