Apple Provides Developers With Powerful Technologies
New tools and APIs for users to get more more from their Apple devices.
Apple recently unveiled new tools, technologies, and APIs designed to help developers create even richer experiences for their users.
Widgets on the Lock Screen enable developers to surface key information from their apps in a new way, while other new APIs across Apple’s platforms help them build more unique features.
Xcode Cloud Now Available
Xcode Cloud is now available with a range of subscription plans to best fit developers’ needs, starting with 25 hours per month free through December 2023 to all members of the Apple Developer Program and topping out at 1,000 hours per month.
Built into Xcode, Xcode Cloud is a continuous integration and delivery cloud service designed specifically for Apple developers. It enables developers and teams of all sizes to build, test, and deliver high-quality apps even more efficiently by automatically building apps in the cloud to free up their Mac for other tasks. And with parallel testing in the cloud, developers can test on a simulated version of every current Apple device, easily deploy a build for internal testing, or deliver to beta testers through TestFlight.
Xcode 14 Improvements
Xcode 14 features new enhancements to further improve developer productivity. Project builds are up to 25 percent faster, thanks to improved parallelism, and the Xcode application is now 30 percent smaller to download, with downloadable simulator runtimes for watchOS and tvOS. The new multiplatform target creates a single SwiftUI interface for use across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS.
Developer code is easier to maintain yet highly customisable to take advantage of each platform’s unique capabilities. SwiftUI live previews are now interactive by default in Xcode, so changes are immediately live, and developers can create variants of each preview without writing any code, altering the colour scheme, text size, device orientation, or accessibility modes.
The new App Icon feature in Assets Catalog allows developers to provide a single icon size for all platforms, and Xcode automatically generates all the required assets for the app. Xcode includes language and editing enhancements with smarter autocompletion, and additional dynamic snippets get developers to the code they want to write faster.
New Gaming Capabilities
Metal 3 — the latest version of Apple’s graphics framework — comes with new features that enable game developers to tap into the power of Apple silicon for even greater gaming performance. MetalFX Upscaling enables developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less compute-intensive frames, and then apply high-quality spatial upscaling and temporal anti-aliasing. The result is accelerated performance that makes games feel more responsive and graphics that look stunning.
Game developers also benefit from a new Fast Resource Loading API that minimises wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU, so games can easily access high-quality textures and geometry needed to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay.
Game developers that integrate with Game Center can now add Activity views into the dashboard, making it possible for their users to see which games their friends are playing and their high scores. And with SharePlay support, it’s easier than ever for users to play together in real time.
Enhancements to Swift and SwiftUI
Swift and SwiftUI offer the best way to build an app, and now come with new features that streamline the development process.
Swift adds a powerful string processing capability with new regular expression literal support built directly into the language, allowing developers to quickly check the correctness of their regular expressions and extract information with less code. With new Package Plugins available in Swift Package Manager, it’s now easier for developers to run custom commands on their projects, and even upload and share the commands with others.
SwiftUI, Apple’s next-generation user interface framework, features an enhanced navigation API to make it easier for developers to control how their app moves from view to view. With Custom Layouts, developers can go beyond common app layouts and create versions that work best for their app designs. And Swift Charts can be customized to almost any charting need so developers can better visualize the data in their apps.
WeatherKit enables developers to integrate the same world-class global weather forecast that powers Apple Weather directly into their apps. Using high-resolution meteorological models combined with machine learning and prediction algorithms,
Apple Weather provides current weather, 10-day hourly forecasts, daily forecasts, and historical weather. WeatherKit is available to developers through both native Swift and REST APIs, and comes with 500,000 API calls per month included with an Apple Developer Program membership. Developers who need more will be able to purchase additional tiers of service right in the Apple Developer app starting this fall.