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Apple Announces New APIs for Developers and More at WWDC

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Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote on Monday saw the company unveil the latest iterations of its core operating systems — iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS 13, and watchOS 9.

Alongside its upcoming software releases, the tech giant also announced the technologies and tools that will help developers create apps and content for them.

“We love collaborating with our developer community and providing them with new innovative technologies that enable them to build the next great generation of apps,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations.

“With powerful new APIs for widgets on the Lock Screen, new services like WeatherKit, the availability of Xcode Cloud to help every Apple developer build apps faster, and new gaming capabilities with Metal 3, developers have more tools than ever to create app experiences that their users will love.”

Xcode 14

Xcode 14 seeks to make developing for Apple’s platforms easier with 25% faster project builds, a 30% smaller application, and downloadable simulator runtimes for watchOS and tvOS.

What’s more, Xcode 14 features a single SwiftUI interface for use across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS. Developer code has also been made easier to manage and more customizable across each of the platforms.

Xcode Cloud

Xcode Cloud makes it easier than ever for developers to work in teams, test app updates, and push new builds out to beta testers — all in the cloud.

It is available now as a subscription service that tops out at 1,000 hours per month. All existing members of the Apple Developer Program will also get 25 hours per month free through December 2023.

Metal 3

Macs aren’t known for their gaming prowess. However, Metal 3, the latest iteration of the graphics engine for games on Apple’s platforms, seeks to change that by unlocking the full potential of Apple silicon.

Metal 3 brings a ton of new features, including MetalFX Upscaling to make rendering less resource-intensive and the Fast Resource Loading API that minimizes wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU. iPads powered by desktop-grade Apple silicon like M1 should see a major benefit as well.

Improvements for Swift and SwiftUI

Apple has made several enhancements to Swift and SwiftUI to streamline the development process. Swift will now let developers quickly check the correctness of their regular expressions and extract information with less code, and also make it easier for developers to run custom commands on their projects.

Swift UI, meanwhile, brings an enhanced navigation API to make it easier for developers to control how their app moves from view to view and Custom Layouts, which developers can use to create bespoke layouts that work best for their app designs.

WeatherKit

WeatherKit will allow developers to integrate the weather forecast, 10-day hourly forecasts, daily forecasts, and historical weather from Apple Weather into their own apps.

Developers can get the tool through both native Swift and REST APIs, and Apple Developer Program members get 500,000 API calls per month with an option to purchase more coming in the fall.

Privacy-Centric API for Ads

Apple also announced the SKAdNetwork API, designed to help ad networks and advertisers better measure how ads perform while maintaining user privacy.

Apple also announced several other new tools and APIs for developers to use, including:

  • Widgets on the Lock Screen: With iOS 16 enabling widgets on the iPhone Lock Screen, developers can now seamlessly share the same code between their widgets on the Lock Screen and complications on Apple Watch, which are based on the same new WidgetKit API.
  • Live Text: Developers can now offer users the ability to grab text straight from photos and videos found in their apps, or through a live camera feed. Live Text is processed on device for greater user privacy and performance.
  • Collaboration tools: The rich collaboration features built into Messages are available to third-party apps. Developers can also highlight content that users have shared from their app in Messages in a new Shared with You section of their app, making it easier for recipients to get back to that content at a later time.
  • Passkeys: Passkeys are next-generation credentials that are more secure, easier to use, and designed to work in apps as easily as they do on the web.
  • MapKit: Third-party apps can include the detailed 3D city experience and Look Around for a richer user experience. New Apple Maps Server APIs offer faster and easier Maps integrations.
  • Focus filters: Developers can adjust the content of their apps based on the user’s current Focus.
  • Automatic Shortcuts: Developers can now use App Intents to enable their apps to be used with Siri and Shortcuts, with no user setup required.
  • watchOS 9: VoIP calls are now supported with CallKit; the share sheet enables users to share content from their favorite app directly to iMessage and other popular messaging apps; and third-party apps can now access the Photos app with Photos picker and even integrate with Apple TV.
  • RoomPlan: Powered by ARKit, developers can now utilize the LiDAR Scanner on iPhone and iPad to create a 3D floor plan for a room, with characteristics like dimensions and type of furniture included.
  • Live Activities: Using WidgetKit, developers can keep their users up to date with the most current information for an activity or event right on the Lock Screen.

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