Apple Updates - What Developers Need to Know
Written by Lucy Black   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017

WWDC17, Apple's annual developer conference, is underway in San Jose and the keynote included announcements about iOS 11 and WatchOS 4 that open up new possibilities. The App Store also has a brand new look with benefits for developers.


With regard to the Mac, Apple isn't doing a major operating system update this year, deciding instead to put its efforts into perfecting macOS High Sierra. This includes updates to Safari, including autoplay video blocking and “intelligent tracking prevention” targeting ad trackers; better Photos editing and organization; a faster new behind-the-scenes file system; a stronger updated graphics engine that supports VR development; and support for the Unity and Unreal gaming engines.

On the hardware front, this summer Apple’s iMac will benefit from an improved display, faster processors and graphics performance - features targeted at VR content creation - increased memory capacity and new ports. The MacBook and MacBook Pro are getting faster chips and drives, with a lower entry-level price for the the 13-inch model and the MacBook Air is getting a faster chip.

As far as tvOS is concerned updates will come later this year but meanwhile Apple TV is getting a major new source of content with Apple Prime video coming to the Apple TV streaming box and to Apple's TV app thanks to an argreement having been reached between Apple and Amazon.

There is a new version of the software for the Apple Watch, watchOS4, which features a new Siri-powered watch face that uses Siri and preferences you've set, based on time, location, and your routines,  to automatically show information directly on the watch face.  With the Siri watch face on, you can raise your wrist to receive dynamic information, such as traffic conditions or time of sunset.




There are also new features for the native Activity app, one of the most used apps on the Apple Watch. There's a new  "inspiration" card that will tell you how much exercise you need to complete during the day to reach your goals, as well as new animations when you do complete your activity goals and monthly challenges that you can participate in as alternative ways to get in daily exercise. It now tracks swimming training and for those who engage in multiple forms of exercise you can now  complete different exercises in the same recorded workout - making the Apple Watch particularly suitable for budding triathletes. For those using a treadmill, elliptical, or other machine that can connect to an NFC-enabled device, you can now pair the Apple Watch to it so you can see information like heart rate directly on the machine. 

New watchOS APIs will be available to developers, including native core Bluetooth, so they can create new apps using all the new features. Developers have access to watchOS 4 today, and Apple Watch users will receive it as a free update this fall. New watch hardware is expected later in the year when features to help it connect better with other hardware gadgets via Bluetooth are likely to be announced.

iOS 11 will only operate on 64-bit devices. As well as making the iPhone 5 and 5C, the iPad4 and other older devices obsolete, as they will no longer receive software updates, including security fixes, this may also stop some apps and games from working.

iPad specific features in iOS 11 are being welcomed as making the iPad more like a desktop computer - a new multi-app view for multitasking, drag-and-drop support and a new Files app. Drag and drop is also supported within apps on the iPhone.

By way of new tools for developers there's a AR Kit for augmented-reality apps, the “largest AR platform in the world", according to Apple and new APIs in SiriKit. There are also new machine learning, AI and cognitive computing capabilities and HomePod, Apple's "breakthrough home speaker" (on sale December in white and "space gray" for $349) is likely to bring new opportunities for developers.

Look out for more on HomePod, Siri and Apple's Machine Learning and AI advances later this week.

 applestoreApple has redesigned the App Store for the first time, making it look more like Apple Music with promo art, a tab for games and more visibility into in-app purchases.  A “Today” tab has been added that shows a curated feed from the App Store team to help showcase interesting apps. Search has been expanded with a new UI and algorithm to discover developers, in-app purchases, categories, collections, and more in search results. App developers will also get some new features, including “phased releases” that will make it easier to launch major new updates and the option to add three autoplay videos to show off their apps, as well as promote and sell in-app purchases directly from an app’s landing page. 



More Information

Apple Developer Conference Website

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Last Updated ( Friday, 09 June 2017 )