This year’s WWDC had one major difference from the previous year. While last year’s changes were most notably cosmetic (with the new flat UI), this year Apple knocked off a lot of items’ off developers wishlists - Extensions, Photos, SceneKit, CloudKit, Document Pickers, Analytics, custom keyboards and a lot more…
So while last year’s update left developers with a long list of what they had to do (a new look for the same app), this year’s updates leave a lot for developers to want to update in their apps.
We see potential for many amazing app updates with iOS 8. After all, 4000 new APIs is a big number! No wonder Apple is calling it the biggest iOS release till date.
Here are some key SDK updates which have us most excited
- Touch ID authentication - available for all apps now. Apple has still kept a tight hold on security by only returning a yes/no response for fingerprint scanning to third-party apps
- App extensions - share content with social websites, perform photo edits within the Photos app, custom Keyboards, actions on selected content etc
- Photos.framework - working with photos and videos including iCloud photo assets. The framework also allows subscribing to changes in assets made by other apps
- Improved camera - the framework has been updated to give much more control over the focus, white balance and exposure settings
- Gaming - a lot of improvement has been made to frameworks (and new frameworks introduced) to make game implementation much easier
- The Metal framework helps achieve high performance and efficiency for graphics rendering and GPU-intensive computational tasks
- The SceneKit framework makes it easy to build simple games with 3D graphics. Instead of using low-level API calls (like OpenGL ES), the high level abstracted API calls provided by the framework makes developing games very easy with its integrated physics engine
- The Sprite Kit framework introduced with iOS 7 has been enhanced with iOS 8 to support advanced simulations and complex game effects
- Health Kit - with the increase in the number of Health related apps, the M7 co-processor, and the possible introduction of wearable devices soon, it only makes sense for Apple to introduce Health Kit. This framework makes it super easy for apps to share health-related data through a centralized, secure location
- Home Kit - Home Kit is a new framework introduced which would let apps communicate with and control connected devices around them
- The cloud - a lot of emphasis was made during the WWDC to the cloud. Apple introduced a lot of features which move the capability and handling of data to the cloud while still keeping the computation power on the device
- Cloud Kit - Cloud Kit provides a much more fine-grained control over data transfer between iCloud and a device. Unlike iCloud, with Cloud Kit you can decide what data to transfer and when
- Document Picker - finally Apple is breaking sandboxing barriers in small steps. Document Picker offers a simple interface which lets apps access documents outside their sandbox. It lets users share documents between apps
- Handoff - this is a new feature introduced in OS X and iOS which will extend continuity across devices. It will enable a user to start an activity on one device and continue it seamlessly on another device.
A lot of other features have been introduced with iOS 8 which make the overall development much more interesting for developers, including the introduction of a new programming language - Swift.
We are excited to see what new ideas our clients get out there. We are also working on building our competence with Swift in time to launch an app written entirely in Swift for iOS.
If you wish to leverage any of these new APIs in your apps or wish to make your apps compatible with iOS 8, get in touch with us today.