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WWDC 2019: What app developers need to know

WWDC 2019 was keenly awaited by the Kumulos team. Every year, the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) gets a lot of attention. WWDC 2019 was no exception.

Tim Cook and the Apple team are giving us mobile folk a lot of new stuff to take in! From the SwiftUI framework to Mac Pro & Pro Display XDR, to iOS 13 with a dark mode & MacOS Catalina and an operating system for the iPad called iPadOS, there’s lots to get excited about.

But, if you’re a mobile app developer, what do you really need to know from WWDC 2019?

WWDC 2019: What app developers need to know

As we did for Google IO last month, the team at Kumulos mobile app performance management platform bring you everything you need to know about #WWDC19.

So, if you haven’t yet had time to watch WWDC 2019 keynote, let alone digest any of the tech blogs…here you go!

SwiftUI – fewer lines of code!

Apple announced a new framework for building interfaces for Swift apps. SwiftUI is a new framework to make coding on Apple’s coding language even faster. You can drag and drop content right into the preview of the app and begin building the code without any of the manual typing. It also automatically offers support for international languages that reads right to left.  You can even use this framework to build various Apple OS apps, from the Watch to TV to the iPad. It’ll automatically support features like screen rotation, and the newly introduced dark mode.

Note, SwiftUI, included with iOS13, limits which older versions you can target when using SwiftUI. This doesn’t mean Apple won’t update support but at this time it does mean there are limitations.

The Kumulos team particularly liked the sound of Declarative UI. You can describe how you want the user interface to look. Then, the framework deals with making the changes necessary to make the UI look as per your description. So, this saves the developer from some of the work!

This follows the style of Flutter, Google’s portable UI toolkit. In fact, the Kumulos team used Flutter to build the Kumulos Companion App. Kumulos Companion App – what’s that?

The companion app can be used to demonstrate the Kumulos push notification, geolocation and analytics features of the platform on your device, in real-time. Simply download the app from iTunes or GooglePlay and follow the instructions to pair your device with your Kumulos account.

ARKit 3 with RealityKit & Reality Composer

ARKit 3 is a new version of Apple’s augmented reality framework. It has support for motion capture and people occlusion.  People occlusion allows AR objects to render in front of or behind people in view, as demonstrated in an early build of Minecraft Earth, if you can recall that!  

This is exciting news for app developers building augmented reality apps.  As we covered in our Industrial Augmented Reality Comes of Age blog, AR technology is reaching a tipping point. Market forecasts estimate that the AR market is now annually worth $11.14bn rising to over $60bn annually by 2023.

iOS 13 – privacy updates, dark mode & more

iOS is getting a huge upgrade. The developer beta build is now live and the public beta build will ship in July, before everyone receives it in the fall. For mobile app developers, the key takeaways here are that app installs will be 50% smaller and updates should be around 60% smaller. Moreover, apps will launch twice as fast as before!  The interface updates include Dark Mode and a swipe-to-type keyboard. And, Siri Shortcuts comes built into iOS 13, allowing for more powerful shortcuts

Limit app location access to ‘just once’

Despite Apple saying “just once” location access is a small change, at Kumulos, we think it’s a big change in terms of one which will appeal to more privacy minded people.  This new, more granular location-access feature is just one of the privacy changes which caught our eye.

There are also changes to the sign in. So, if someone doesn’t want to share their email with every new app they install, there’s a solution! Apple has built a sign-in solution that lets you log in to a service using your Apple account. It authenticates with things like FaceID rather than a password. And wait for it, if you don’t want to share your true e-mail address with a service, Apple can generate a random, unique forwarding email just for that app.

Although “Sign In With Apple” didn’t get a lot of stage time at WWDC 2019, it’s a nice feature. Especially, again for those concerned about handing over sensitive information to third-parties.  With Apple’s new sign-in service, there’s literally one single tap and it’s done.

This is huge news for app developers that want to get people onboarded as fast as possible.

For developers, it’s also a nice way to encourage your clients to now include geotargeted push notifications in their app. 

Apps with third-party logins 

Developers need to be aware that Sign In with Apple will also be required if an app uses any sort of third party login service.  For example, if an app offers social logins or other third party options, they’ll have to offer Sign In With Apple as an additional option. E.g. developers using services like Google and Facebook third-party login will need to utilize this service. This was also acknowledged within the newly updated App Store Review Guidelines.

Related to this, Apple is taking steps to control certificates a lot more closely. For example, the new “Terms & Conditions” for developers partnering with the App Store mean developers will face much more proactive vetting. This vetting includes an individual review of apps deployed under the certificate. And, if Apple finds a particular app is not an appropriate use, the developer will be requested to withdraw the app.

One of our key takeaways from WWDC 2019 is that Apple is also going all-in to position itself as a privacy-first company.  This is something we also heard from Google at IO 2019.

BackgroundTasks

Worth noting for mobile app developers, Apple announced that you can use the BackgroundTasks framework to keep your app content up to date and run tasks requiring minutes to complete while your app is in the background.

Apple’s Real User Indicator

Also announced during the company’s Platforms State of the Union event, Apple announced that they’re building a new tool called Real User Indicator. This could cut down on the number of bots secretly signing up for new accounts with mobile, desktop, or web services. It will be designed to check for traits more consistent with bots than people. It then informs the app developer, so you can take further action to verify the authenticity of the new account.

iPad OS makes debut at WWDC 2019

The operating system that powers the iPad is now known as “iPadOS”. It brings faster switching between apps running on the iPad’s side-by-side slideover mode and many other enhancements such as being able to pin widgets to the homescreen.  Of note, Apple Pencil latency has been shaved from 20ms to a tiny 9ms!

What the Kumulos team found really interesting is how Apple is pushing the iPad as a serious competitor to desktops. How is it doing this? “Desktop-class browsing” in Safari means it’ll always try to default to a site’s desktop view rather than the mobile view. 

Of course all Kumulos SDKs are compatible so developers don’t have anything to worry about here!

Apple Watch Updates

The enhancements for WatchOS are going to make the Apple Watch even more useful without users having to use it along with their iPhone as often. Independent apps will run directly on the watch. This does away with the requirement for a companion iPhone app.  The watch will have a built-in App Store interface for purchasing and installing Watch apps through the Watch itself. Other enhancements include dedicated voice memo, audio streaming and built-in Shazam support.

There’s even a noise feature that detects the decibel level of your surrounding area. It will warn you when the nearby noise levels might be high enough to damage your hearing.

Hardware – New Mac Pro & Pro Display XDR

Developers around the globe will be keenly awaiting the new Mac Pro. It’s returning to it’s classic tower look and will ship later this year. It will have support for up to 28-core Intel Xeon processor and up to 1.5 terabytes of system memory. This all comes at a cost though with the base model with an 8-core Xeon with 32GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, starting at $5999.

The Mac Pro is getting an equally pricy new Pro Display. In fact, a 32-inch display, with a resolution of 6016×3384 (6k). Can you imagine just how great the Kumulos Analytics dashboard will look on there? We can’t wait! 

Mac OS Catalina

After macOS Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave we now have macOS Catalina. The biggest new feature for macOS 10.15 is the addition of iPad app support. It’s a new way for developers to port their iPad apps over to the Mac. Developers will be able to use Xcode to target their iPad apps at macOS Catalina. In addition, iTunes is being split up and divided up into 3 new apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.

Anything else Apple announced at WWDC 2019?

We’ve summarized what we see as the most important announcements for mobile app developers.

But, there were a whole load more announcements – some of which are mainly of interest to consumers – TechCrunch has a nice summary if you want to learn more about console controllers for Apple TV, multi-user support for Apple TV,  AirPod, HomePod and CarPlay Updates etc.

About Kumulos

Kumulos Mobile App Performance Management platform comes with a comprehensive range of services covering the entire life cycle of the app. Its 5 integrated services include app store optimizationanalytics & reportingbackend hostingcrash reporting & endpoint monitoring and its award winning push notifications service, which received awards from Business of Apps, Mobile App Daily and The Tool.

It provides a management console that delivers comprehensive visibility on how the app is performing technically and commercially. It’s easy to setup and there’s no SDK required.

Start monitoring now by signing up for a free trial or book a demo!

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