Apple announced at WWDC new versions OS X and iOS along with new developer tools that have a Swift impact on the platform.
It’s no surprise that Apple developers have continued to build on their past success. The beginning of Monday’s WWDC Keynote address in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, in front of over 6,000 developers, asked the question “What does a developer look like?” Each of us use the tools and experiences to create features and systems that make things easier for ourselves and others. We strive to come up with the next big thing, to make business more efficient, or just something fun and kind of ridiculous.
Developers and the tools they use are at the center of WWDC, and this year did not disappoint with new and exciting announcements from Apple. During the Keynote, Tim Cook and team delighted us with small and large-scale changes, and surprised everyone with a phone call from the one and only, Dr. Dre. Those unexpected moments continue to give Apple an edge up on these types of events that have everyone wondering “what’s next”. New features to be released in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 make things easier for users and developers alike. These features include closely tying Apple devices together with easy integration, new user interface changes, a new and improved iCloud Drive, and Swift; a ground-breaking new programming language.
Also at WWDC, Apple announced Continuity, a new way for your devices to all work more seamlessly. This feature, along with many other, continues to keep Apple on another level in the marketplace. Along with Continuity, here are some of our favorite announcements this week at WWDC 2014:
While AirDrop, at its core, has been around for several years on OSX, its lack of continuity between devices really held the feature back. Now, with more interaction between all Apple devices and the ability to AirDrop from my MacBook to your iPhone, this feature could now really take off. In a business setting, sharing documents quickly (and outside of email attachments) can be a major benefit to getting things done easily and quickly. All Apple devices will now have the ability to access AirDrop, making document sharing and editing easier than ever.
Continuity: Device Handoff
On my commute to work, using my laptop to craft an e-mail isn’t an option. I might be switching from my iPhone to my iPad and back again. When I arrive at the office, I’m ready to work on a larger display. With the swipe of a screen, Yosemite offers the ability to immediately view, on your Mac, items you are composing in Mac Mail or viewing in Safari using your iOS 8 device. This isn’t saving a draft and composing it later, it’s a quick and easy interoperability between iPhone, iPad, and OS X. This type of continuity is another great and simple way to be more effective and efficient.
Trudging through conversations on multiple devices to text your friends who don’t use iMessage will not longer be necessary. Finally, all of those SMS messages you can access using only one device will appear on all of your synced devices!
Swift: Apple Creates a new Programming Language
Of all of the new features and tools Apple announced yesterday, the one that will have the most impact is Swift; a new, simplified yet robust programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. This announcement came unexpectedly at WWDC but has many implications long term for the platform. Swift is a more modern and efficient take on objective-C that contains such constructs as namespaces, multiple return types, and generics. Apple also ditched many inefficient C based constructs like go-to’s and force variables to be initialized before they are used. It is yet to be seen if Swift will allow for easier adoption of the Apple platform, but it is a great step forward that helps bring the platform forward.
Other iOS 8 Dev Features
Along with Swift, Apple announced a slew (or maybe a heap) of other developer features that have major ramifications for the platform. CloudKit, HealthKit, HomeKit, and Extensibility are major steps forward for Apple. Especially Extensibility. This feature of the SDK will allow for apps, that are typically sandboxed, to communicate through Apple’s secure Extensibility API. For example, Dropbox could include their own “Save to Dropbox” screen from inside of Apple Mail. Or, as shown in the keynote, Bing could be used to translate a webpage in Safari. There are a lot of potential for these new features that are yet unproven in the platform, but very exciting.
For the most part, we won’t get a chance to play with many of these new features until the Fall, upon software release. We’re excited to review OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 ourselves to see how they might better serve our clients and their apps. Contact us today for any more information on the iOS 8 changes or OS X Yosemite and how we can help turn your idea into reality.