The biggest software event of the year is happening this week, and we’ve already learned an immense amount from the makers of the most profitable mobile development platform for coders, programmers, hackers, and developers.
Here are the key highlights from WWDC so far:
1. App bundles: users can buy multiple apps at a discounted price (sure to completely change how apps are marketed).
2. App video previews in the app store, meaning that video becomes so much more crucial in app marketing (at UI Palette, we offer video animation for exactly this reason, please get in touch with us if you are looking for help on your app demo video).
3. Easy Beta Testing: Leave app store users one tap away from signing up for your app’s beta test.
4. Extensibility: Apps can offer services to other apps, allowing background apps to populate real UI inside other apps. For example, Bing translate can be active and translate text inside Safari (this is huge, allowing your iPad to access other languages with the ease as if it was your own language – this is a savory boon for app localization).
5. Native photo filters – Instagram’s shadow looms large over WWDC this way. 3rd party providers can define widgets for the iOS 8 notification center.
6. Swift: the new programming language, partially based in Objective C (but without the “C”) and (allegedly) replacing Flash for animation, among other things (someone has already made a bare-bones version of Flappy Bird in Swift).
Unit tests may still have to occur in Objective C, suggesting Swift may not cover all of the features developers need when it comes to testing and debugging. Swift can sit right alongside your C, or Objective C code in your app. Swift is interchangable that way, except in a few benchmarks, Swift actually destroys Objective C in terms of loading speed. Swift can also be used as a great scripting language.
“I can build anything with Swift. From a social networking platform, to a game built with the Metal engine.”
– Apple engineer
7. Yosemite: The new operating system, which introduces translucent layers and titlebars for each window, includes a dark mode. Maildrop now lets you send 5GB attachments. iCloud and airdrop work between iOS and the Mac, sherlocking DropBox (aka absorbing it forever and turning what was once a Y Combinator startup into a feature of Apple software). Again, the shadow of Instagram looms large over Yosemite, in terms of the translucency and color-filters.
Yosemite is officially open for beta testing, so if you as a developer would like to participate you are welcomed by Apple to do so at no cost. If you own a compatible device, you can easily download and install the final draft of Yosemite this fall when it comes out, free of charge.
8. iOS 8 has arrived: custom keyboards (to the joy of those like Fleksy) including the iOS 6 style keyboard. Quicktype predictive type, spotlight searches the app store as well as your local hard drive; turn your iPad into a wifi hotspot; group iMessaging allows you to manage who’s in a thread or lets you leave a thread and allows location sharing – and one tap to talk via iMessage all combine to make inside communication easy and fun. Parallax is also reported to have new tilt features in iOS 8, whereas before parallax only worked tilting side-to-side, it is now patchily reported via Twitter that parallax in iOS 8 works for vertical tilting, too, as well as side-to-side (because of this, again, we expect a new wave of the inevitable motion-sickness complaints).
9. Enterprise Compatibility is there for iOS 8: Device enrollment program allows your employees to get their company iPhone in the original shrink-wrapped box and it will automatically set itself up with your enterprise mail, calendar, and appropriate apps. Enjoy data protection for all data types with 3rd party apps. VIP threads for push notifications for iMessage threads.
10. Cloudkit: Huge storage and scalability for data and broadband, to provide your back-end with some extra coverage.
11. Virtual currencies (i.e. Bitcoin) now have their own API, so you can have a bitcoin-based app in the app store.
12. HealthKit can automatically detect health problems and notify a patient’s doctor. And with TrueVault, healthcare developers now have a HIPAA compliant API.
HomeKit is now also available, to develop great apps for those users who boldly shirk the threat of hackers in the internet of things, as that internet expands to encompass everyday household objects, like your lamp.
…and now, the chart to reinforce why the next topic is relevant in the mobile space, in the sobering context of the above:
(source: Flurry analytics)
13. Gaming, the single category of mobile application which consumes the most user time spent on mobile devices: Metal is the new game engine for iOS 8 that has already impressed big names in gaming like EA. Metal is a gaming engine that’s about 10 times more powerful, detailed, rich, and robust as developers could go in iOS 7. Again, this is an order of magnitude, or tenfold, increase in rendering capability for 3-dimensional gaming. This is profound, and opens huge new doors for developer creativity. SpriteKit and SceneKit are the casual gaming engines which is also available for iOS 8.
14. Sherlocked: RIP Reveal app, SparkInspector, and Dropbox. Note – Reveal app remains confident their own app is better than Apple’s new native version. Time will tell, but there’s no doubt developers’ hearts go out to the underdog being sherlocked (aka intellectually bested by the freight train called Apple, which claims to own the tracks on which their freight train crushes the handcars like Reveal).
15. Dr. Dre even teleconferenced into WWDC14 and implied that he works at Apple. Brilliant!
Two thirds of the developers in attendance this year are there for the first time.
69 countries are represented at WWDC14, a record high for Apple’s flagship conference.
To view all of Apple’s new product pages, laden with fresh iOS 8 design patterns and styles, be among the first to check out the visuals right here.
WWDC runs Monday through Friday, ending June 6. It’s happening at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. Apple’s official WWDC 2014 video is found here – if you’re a developer in search for inspiration, you will find it there. Apps can definitely make peoples’ lives better, and improve not just the user experience, but the human experience.
“Over the past six years, a massive cultural shift has occurred.
It’s changed how we interact with one another. Learn new things.
Entertain ourselves. Do our work. And live our daily lives.
All because of developers and the apps they create.
For five days, one thousand Apple engineers and five thousand developers will gather together. And life will be different as a result.
Write the code. Change the world.”
And as you write that code to provide the world with much-needed improvements, be sure to call on us at UI Palette for your mobile design challenges.
For smaller budgets, we have premium graphic UI kits, which can be used like rubber stamps to create unique applications. For larger budgets, we offer dedicated consultancy services with our lead designer, Khadijah Roussi.
To work with Khadijah, please do get in touch.