Apple WWDC 2014 – OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 and Swift

Apple Special Event 2014 WWDC

After a brief video about Developers, Tim Cook took to the stage to a packed crowd at this years WWDC 2014 with the clear focus on software. No hardware announcements at WWDC is becoming a trend over the last few years, but let’s be honest, rightfully so, this is a Developers Conference after all, and no more has that felt so than at this years World Wide Developers Conference, and no more so has Apple embraced developers more than this WWDC either, which is really refreshing to see.

STATS HERE, STATS THERE

Apple always kick off keynotes with a status report, which oddly they kind of didn’t do … OK they did, but no where near as much as they normally do, maybe that’s just us. Instead, Apple separated stats between the given subject point during the keynote, but we’re gonna put them all here, and focus on the given products alone later down the line.

  • Keynote topics: OS X, iOS and ‘The mother of Development Tools’
  • *80 Million Mac install base, which Apple claim is growing faster than the industry
  • 40 Million copies of Mavericks downloaded, 50% of OS X users on Mavericks
  • 800 Million iOS devices sold = 100M iPod touch / 200M iPad / 500M iPhone
  • 130 Million new iPhone customers in last 12 months were new to Apple
  • *Most new iOS users are switching from Android
  • *Customer Satisfaction of iOS claimed at 97%
  • 98% of Fortune 500 use iOS devices
  • *89% of iOS users on iOS 7, compared to 9% on latest Android 4.4 Kitkat
  • 1.2 Million Apps in App Store with 300 Million visits a week
  • *A third of Android users are on a version of Android from 4 years ago
  • Over 75 Billion apps downloaded
  • A massive 4000 new iOS 8 Developer SDKs!

Their are a few points we want to highlight, some we’ll leave as they are. All points with a star, we’re highlighting below;

– 80 Million Mac install base, which Apple claim is growing faster than the industry

The computer industry is declining across the board. The entire Mac market makes around 5% of the entire Computers sold around the world, meaning a 1% rise in Mac sales, would be equal in percentage to no where near as many sales as in the PC market. A 2% increase in PC shipments would drown the entire Mac market over four times, so be real Apple!

Also, fun fact, 80 million, which is the number of Mac install base around the world, is the same number of Windows Phone devices worldwide, just saying!

– Most new iOS users are switching from Android

Now, like me, you’ve likely purchased quite a few Smartphones in your time from a multitude of retailers, when has anyone ever asked you what device you previously owned? No one, so we have to question where Apple is getting this information from. The network you say? How? In my current Contract I’ve been running on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices through the same plan, according to my network provider I’m on Windows Phone, yet that same SIM is in an Android device right now! So, how can Apple legitimately make this claims?

89% of iOS users on iOS 7, compared to 9% on latest Android 4.4 Kitkat

Apple will never stop playing this card will they. The problem with it is that you bet your right arm everyone in the community will see it as a pro for iOS and a con for Android, which is hilarious. We’ve explained why this is irrelevant previously, so we’re not going to bother again. Let’s just focus on the announcements shall we!

A third of Android users are on a version of Android from 4 years go

Despite also showing stats on Windows 8, which have been claimed to also be untrue, but don’t have hard evidence, one which does is Apple’s claim on Android. Tim claimed “over a third” of Android users were using a version of Android from 4 years ago, joking that that’s like “ancient history”, which is true, heck I’d hate to be on iPhone OS 3 right now, but it turns out as expected that kind of wasn’t true. To get the bigger picture on Android install base numbers, you can check out the actual results right here!

OS X 10.10 Yosemite

OS X Yosemite

First up on the list was OS X. After a very draining attempt of comedy by Apple, we finally got what everyone said it would be for a while now, OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Don’t even get in to the, why isn’t it just OS 11, who knows.

OS X Yosemite MBA

Yes this is the design overhaul that OS X has been rumoured to have for a while now, and let’s get straight to that, the UI. The problem with the UI on Yosemite is the same problem we’ve had with iOS 7, it’s literally a new coat of paint … it doesn’t change the way you’ll use your Mac in any way at all, and the boring UI elements of OS X remain.

One thing we do like about the UI on Yosemite, something which sadly didn’t come to iOS 8, is the ability to use Light (shown) and Dark mode on OS X Yosemite, and Dark looks miles better. These options will likely be in Appearance Settings, where the irrelevant Blue/Grey toggle was. Other than that, the UI really is kind of just … meh. As you can see from the image above, apps such as Calendar, as well as a range of others mimic their appearance from iOS 7.

NOTIFICATION CENTER + WIDGETS

The new Notification Centre on OS X Yosemite has some pros and some cons, gains some features and loses some. Facebook, Twitter and Messages buttons are now gone, but what you get in replacement is more or less the identical iOS 7 Notification Centre, including Today View, Stocks and Weather.

One big feature of Notification Centre is the fact that Widgets from Dashboard will now live in the Notification Centre instead. Whilst we expect this to result in an overcrowded experience, we’ll have to see. More or less all of these changes we’re not too happy about

SPOTLIGHT

Spotlight is all new in OS X Yosemite, and actually our first feature we actually welcome and like.

Since it’s introduction in OS X 10.4 Tiger, Spotlight has always lived in the top right of your Macs desktop, clicking the icon (or CMD+SPACE) has resulted in a menu appearing, where you’d type and find local files you need. Since then, Apple have added the ability to search the web and Wikipedia, but that’s it.

In OS X Yosemite, Spotlight goes even further, offering web results and more as well, all of which can be toggled in Settings if you’d prefer.

The big change to Spotlight though, is how it works. When you launch Spotlight it will fill the middle of your display, instead of the top right, making searching your Mac so much easier.

MAIL DROP / MARK UP

Mail on OS X Yosemite has also been updated with some cool new features, namely two features which a lot of people should find rather convenient.

First up is Mark Up. Mark up allows you to edit files within a Mail compose window to get it just right before you send the message. Options include annotations to images and more.

Second is the big one, Mail Drop. Mail Drop works alongside iCloud to allow you to send files larger than the average Mail server could accept, and if the recipient is also running OS X Yosemite the experience is natural, not on Yosemite, you’ll get a download link from iCloud. Apple will send the larger file encrypted on Apple’s servers to the recipient, who will have a period to download/receive the file, up to 5TB.

SAFARI / HTML5 PREMIUM VIDEO SUPPORT

Safari 8 for OS X Yosemite is here. Taking on the identical UI from the iOS version, specifically the iPad version, Safari is also faster than ever at doing the things you want.

Safari 8 also supports even more web standards as well as a big one, HTML5 Premium Video. HTML5 Premium Video is a new HTML5 standard which services such as Netflix are beginning to trial, which being an internet standard will work without a plug-in even installed, which is going to be incredible for retaining battery life loss thanks to annoyances like Adobe Flash, or Netflix’ current format of Silverlight.

AIRDROP

It might not have an icon, but that’s fine for now the changes aren’t big at all. The main differences between AirDrop from before, and AirDrop on OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 is that they can finally communicate between each other and send and receive files, Mac to Mac, iOS to iOS, iOS to OS X, OS X to iOS.

CONTINUITY / HANDOFF

Thanks to a technology Apple are calling Continuity, Apple have taken start from there and resume from here to the next level.

One example of this is a feature called Handoff. Thanks to Handoff if you’re creating an email, starting a document, browsing a website etc on your Mac, your iOS will be constantly monitoring what you’re doing. On your iOS lock screen you will see an icon for your currently used Mac application, or last used, and can swipe up from it to resume where you left off on your Mac, even with content added and not saved.

INSTANT HOTSPOT

Here’s a rather nifty feature Apple have added, continuing with the Continuous technology theme, this is Instant Hotspot.

The scenario is simple. You have a Mac looking for WiFi, if it detects your iPhone or Cellular iPad, it will show it in the WiFi list, and wirelessly offer you to set up Personal Hotspot without even touching your iOS device. Obviously this will only work on devices linked to the same Apple ID, but information on ones not is yet to be confirmed.

SEND AND RECEIVE PHONE CALLS AND SMS ON YOUR MAC

Another pretty nifty feature in OS X Yosemite alongside iOS 8 is the ability to connect with the devices together seamlessly, and here’s a rather interesting way Apple are doing it with Calls and SMS. Currently your Mac can synchronise your iMessages and FaceTime calls via the Messages app on your Mac, iPad or iPhone as it’s the same service synchronised up at Apple’s own servers, but what about SMS and Phone Calls, well Apple has a solution.

From your Mac you can now receive and answer phone calls your iPhone is receiving, and even make calls from your Mac using your iPhones reception and network. Using this same link, Messages can synchronise SMS messages and even allow you to send SMS through your Mac. Craig Federighi did a very awkward Phone call via his Mac to new Apple employee Dr Dre, after rejecting a call from his Mum … yeah, that happened!

iCLOUD DRIVE

iCloud Drive is essentially iCloud done in a smaller way Apple’s previous iDisk service, which was part of MobileMe … yeah, remember that?!

iCloud Drive essentially allows you to view your iCloud files within the Finder on your Mac, as well as organise your files across them, making adding and removing files easier than ever. The same iCloud Drive is also accessible on any iOS 8 device whenever the device requires a File.

iCloud Drive will be available for OS X Yosemite, iOS devices as well as Windows Vista, 7 and 8 Pro.

BETA FOR YOSEMITE

For the first time ever, Apple will be allowing anyone to publicly test the next major version of OS X. Whilst Developers will get the beta today, anyone who wants it, can register and test out OS X Yosemite in the Summer before its Fall public release. More information about the OS X Beta Program is available here!

And there you have it, OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Whilst it does bring a lot to the table, we are disappointed. The UI is literally a coat of paint, I mean you can actually get theme software for OS X and a lot of those look better, but it is a step forward in more areas its not, which we suppose is the important thing.

The big question of compatibility will come clear rather soon, we can’t see why anyone currently on Mavericks shouldn’t be able to get Yosemite, but you know Apple.

iOS 8

Now, like everyone with eyes, you’re probably looking at iOS 8 and thinking wow what’s any different, but Apple actually pulled a few surprises out of the bag with iOS 8, which we’ll get to very shortly. When Apple introduced iOS 7, with it they introduced a “new” user interface which, let’s face it, not everyone has welcomed with open arms … us included, but, one thing which you can’t deny, is it was a required move for Apple for make. If Apple had essentially released an iOS 6.5 style release with iOS 7, they’d of got even more stick, so to be fair we welcomed iOS 7 despite it’s short comings.

One thing most people said, when discussing iOS 7 drawbacks, issues and missing features, was wait for iOS 8 right? Well, iOS 8 is here now, so let’s see if we were on to something.

iOS 8 icon

When Apple announced iOS 8, which by the way didn’t get announced with a painful to watch Jony Ive vid, they branded it as “huge for Developers, Massive for everyone else”. We’re going to talk about some pretty important changes iOS 8 has brought to iOS Development later, but just know right now, it’s a very big deal what they’ve changed in that department.

As for end users, iOS 8 is the best release of iOS … obviously, but why, what does it bring to the table. Before we get in to that, I just want to cover something very briefly.

“Apple’s copied Android” >>> “Apple’s copied Windows”, ETC ETC ETC

Apple has indeed introduced a ton of features in iOS 8 which will likely look familiar to those using rival platforms, but that’s a good thing. Whilst I do wish Apple wasn’t as bad as they are at announcing essentially old features, the good thing about this is it delivers those features to a wider audience. So, when we talk about the list of iOS 8 features, I do want you to look at it that way, because let’s be fair, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry 10 even, all have copied iOS features too!

NOTIFICATION CENTRE + WIDGETS

Apple has brought a lot to Notification Centre on iOS 8, as well as improving on the old. Features such as Today View, as well as the visual appearance and management of the stock ‘Weather’ and ‘Stocks’ have been tweaked to make management so much easier.

WIDGETS

But, the big feature to come to Notification Centre is Widgets! Now, the first thing you’re going to think of when you think of Widgets is Android. Android and iOS 8 handle widgets completely different. On Android, Widgets take up space on your Home Screen where you can optionally also house icons, something more or less all Android users will know about, but on iOS 8, Widgets are placed within the Notification Centre … just like on OS X Yosemite.

ios-8-sports-widget-610x339
Apple’s Craig Federighi previewing ‘Sports Center’ widget in action.

As you can see from the image above, Widgets use the Notification Centres ‘Today’ view to display Widgets for you at a glance. Whilst the first thing that comes to mind is ‘cluttered’, which admittedly it could become very quickly, iOS 8 does have a few tricks up it’s sleeve to help with that.

  • Items in Today view can be hidden = If you tap the title bar on any of the Widgets, this even counts to the Weather and Stocks on iOS 7, they will collapse leaving just the bar with the icon and title of that Widget. Using that, you can have Widgets, but still be able to hide them when you don’t need them saving up space for ones you probably care about most.
  • Re-organisation = iOS 8, again since iOS 7, allows you to reorganise the order of which you see Widgets on your Today View, in this example Sports Center is in between the Stocks Widget at the bottom, and an available Calendar Widget above it.
  • Optional = All Widgets on iOS 8 are of course optional and are not set by default. When you install a new application which has it’s own Widget, you will see a menu at the bottom of Today View, listing ‘new Widget available’, at which you can them manage your collection of Widgets, including turning them on/off, and organising order etc.
  • Don’t interfere with Notifications = The biggest criticism we’ve seen about Widgets on iOS 8, is that they will be in the way of Notifications, wrong! As you can see on the same image, there’s two, previously three, options at the top of the Notification Centre for “Today”, and “Notifications”, your Notifications will only show up in the right section, and Widgets will only show up in the Today View along with the usual day in review feature.

ACTIONABLE NOTIFICATIONS

iOS 8 will also support ‘Actionable Notifications’ out of the box, for apps yet to be updates for iOS 8, you will see a “Dismiss” button instead. Apple demoed Facebook and Messages at the keynote, but also show Calendar and Mail on their website. We had seen Actionable Notifications arrive to OS X 10.9 Mavericks, so we were expecting this to arrive in iOS 8, and it’s great to have.

SAFARI

Safari is getting better and better, and with iOS 8, Apple are pushing Safari even closer to its Mac counterpart, including supporting the same list of new standards as coming to Yosemite, including the new HTML5 Premium Video Support, which will allow in browser encrypted streaming using Web standards. Safari 8 is currently the only browser, at present, to support this new HTML5 codec.

As we mentioned in Yosemite, Safari on the iPad will get a new scrollable Tab view, which allows you to simply swipe across your list of tabs if there’s more than you can fit on your display. Safari on the iPad also supports the identical UI as found on Safari on OS X Yosemite, which is definitely a good thing as Safari for iPad on iOS 7 was pretty bad.

SAFARI EXTENSION SUPPORT

Along with the announcement of iOS 8, whilst demoing Safari 8 for iOS and it’s new Tab View on iPad (shown above), Apple announced that Safari for iOS would finally incorporate a feature available on Safari for OS X since Snow Leopard, being Extensions.

Extensions are pretty awesome things to have, allowing much needed enhancements to a somewhat basic browsing experience.

The extension demoed was Microsoft’s Bing Translate extension, which at the tap of a button allowed live translation of a foreign web page to English live. The incredible thing about this extension was that the web page didn’t enter a Translation page, similar to how Google do Translation. Bing is widely integrated in to iOS and OS X, specifically in the Spotlight feature, and this extension is likely to be one just to boost that even further.

SPOTLIGHT

Speaking of Spotlight, Apple did make some changes to the way Spotlight works on iOS 8, but they didn’t change the way the UI works like they did on OS X Yosemite. Hopefully they do fix the awkward lag issue with Spotlight, an issues which can even be played on Apple’s latest iPhone 5S.

One of the biggest changes to Spotlight is the ability to get in-line web suggestions, provided by Bing, as well as Wikipedia results again in-line, as well as iTunes and App Store suggestions for music/videos and apps, even if you don’t have them on your iOS device, something which I’m sure Developers will welcome very much.

QUICKTYPE + THIRD PARTY KEYBOARD SUPPORT

Alongside iOS 8, Apple premiered an updated keyboard for iOS 8 simply branded the ‘QuickType’ keyboard. The only problem with the QuickType keyboard, is that it’s likely going to be everything but that.

iOS 8 QuickType

QuickType, as Apple have branded it, is essentially the identical keyboard experience found on iOS since the beginning, with iOS 7 touches of course, but with the addition of a suggestion row. Obviously both Android and Windows Phone have actually had this since the beginning, but again it’s a step in the right direction bringing it to iOS 8.

The way the keyboard makes suggestions actually reminds us of the way Windows Phone 8.0 does suggestions.

Instead of the way Android does suggestions, as well as the way Windows Phone 7/7.5 did suggestions, the suggestions delivered through Apple’s QuickType keyboard will be based on a memorised use case pattern, in that common phrases you say … such as “I’ve seen this …”, the keyboard will know to suggest “before”!

iOS 8 Third Party Keyboard Support

But the big news of iOS 8 was yet to come, whilst Apple oddly didn’t mention this during iOS 8 introduction, they did quickly swift past it during the Developer section at the end of the keynote, but this needs mentioning during this section of our iOS 8 run down, and that’s the ability to install third party keyboard on iOS 8.

The decision to not incorporate Swipe experience on Apple’s new QuickType keyboard was definitely evident from many people during the Live Stream of the keynote, so it was only fitting it eventually has seen some glimmer of hope.

Interestingly, iOS supporting third party keyboards makes iOS only the second of just two OS’ that actually allow such functionality, the first obviously being Android, as both Windows Phone and Blackberry don’t allow the use of third party keyboard add-ons to the OS.

Multiple Android keyboard Developers have quickly come on board promising launch day support for iOS 8, these including the most popular Android keyboard known as SwiftKey, who previously had just a note taking app on iOS 7 incorporating their ‘Swype’ keyboard due to iOS limitations at the time. Again, Apple aren’t the first, but it’s good to see this come to iOS 8, as let’s be honest, no one saw this coming!

EXTENSIBILITY = THIRD PARTY ACCESS TO ‘SHARE SHEETS’ + EXTENSIONS

iOS 8 Custom Share Sheet, Actions

Extensibility is a feature Apple announced for iOS 8. Alongside it’s odd name, what it allows is a list of features which are going to be insanely useful for getting stuff done on your iOS devices, as well as continuing the integration with third party apps. Here’s just a few features Extensibility allows.

Here’s a rather big feature finally possible now with iOS 8 and that’s custom Share Sheet access for third party apps, as well as direct app-linking! All of these features link to a feature we’re going to talk about later called ‘Continuity’, but these deserve mention by themselves.

As you’d expect, third party developers can now finally use the iOS 8 Share Sheet command and use it with their apps, as shown above left with new addition Pinterest. What this means is apps can appear on the Share Sheet in suitable applications without requiring full OS integration settings such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. For example, in Photos you could see Instagram, Vine and Google+ to the Sheet etc.

Another feature is Extensions, expanding on what we’ve said about Safari 8, on iOS you will be able to access other third party apps to do extra given tasks within an application. Such as Safari shown above right, you can use the Bing Translate app to do in-app translation, another example of this could be within your Camera Roll, to directly open another Photo editing app and do the edit there and then, then return naturally to the original starting application.

iCLOUD DRIVE – ESSENTIALLY A FILE PICKER/VIEWER/MANAGER FOR ALL YOUR FILES … ON iCLOUD

iCloud Drive obviously isn’t just available for OS X and Windows, yes Windows, but of course will be on your iOS devices too with iOS 8.

This is actually a bigger deal than it sounds like, as you can manage your files in to folders and places and then open them through a full Cloud based file viewing environment on your iOS device. For example, when an app wants to access your files, previously it would just open up Camera Roll, now it will not only allow you to access your Photos and Videos through Camera Roll, all of which are on iCloud now automatically, but it will also allow you to access everything else, allowing E-mail attachment management for example super easy!

Apple also announced some new iCloud prices, you can now get 20GB for $0.99 per month, but unfortunately that teensie 5GB is still the default amount.

MULTI-TASKING CHANGES – ACCESS FREQUENTLY CONTACTED

iOS 8 Multitasking Contacts People

In iOS 7 Apple made a complete changed and revamp to the way iOS handles multitasking, and we’ve to be honest with you, the changes we loved. The old way of double-tapping your Home button and getting a tiny icon, just wasn’t ideal, so when Apple changed the UI to support full window previews it really helped.

The ability to close up to 3 apps at the same time was also very idea, especially as neither Windows Phone 8 or Android has this ability either by default, it’s all one at a time.

In iOS 8 multitasking remains more or less the same, the rumoured multi-window multitasking was already dismissed close to the WWDC 2014 keynote as “not ready yet” for the iPad, so we were never quite expecting that, and to be honest even if it was ready I was expecting it closer to hardware announcements instead.

What Apple did announce however is a weird one. Above your multitasking screen, whether on iPhone or iPad you will have the ability to see Contacts you’ve recently contacted, sorted by first of all ‘Favourites’, then sorted by who you contacted last.

Tapping any of the Contacts once gives you the ability to Call/FaceTime, Text/iMessage, or Email that Contact right then and there. Whilst we kind of didn’t like this feature at first, we can see how this could be a rather convenient feature to have, although having it within multitasking is a strange move … then again, where else could it be put?

MESSAGES

Apple have made some rather interesting changes to Messages on iOS 8. As mentioned above, you can quickly Message a Contact right from the multitasking screen, as well as the ability to receive even SMS messages on your Mac with Yosemite, as well as the new keyboard options, but Apple added a few more extra touches to the Messaging app.

First up is quick and easy audio recording and sending, with a quick and easy gesture you can send Audio recording to and fro via iMessage, what makes this special is basically just how easy you can do this, as easy and putting the phone to your ear in a Message window and talking, you can do the same to hear as well as respond.

Apple also added a similar gesture to send quick video messages, in a silmiar way you can easily access the Camera and take either a quick Selfie, or a video message.

Apple have also made some additions to Group Messaging on iMessage, including some very important additions to the ‘Details’ section of either individual or group messages. Via the ‘Details’ pane you can set ‘Do Not Disturb’ to individual threads, view all attachments in a single thread without having to scroll, as well as the ability to leave a Group conversation.

APP STORE CHANGES

The first major change Apple have made is fixing quite possibly the most stupid changes Apple made to the App Store between iOS 6 and iOS 7, and that’s showing App Results sidewards. The problem with doing it this way meant that everyone had scroll through everything one by one! Now, finally they’ve reverted back to scrolling down, and showing more at a time as well!

Second is a new Explore feature coming to the App Store. Using this you will be able to get an even greater list of recommended Apps for you to check out based on what you’ve previously purchased, similar to the ‘For You’ section on Windows Phone 8.1.

App Previews is a new feature coming to the App Store, using it Developers can create and upload video trailers for a given applications to incise someone to purchase the App later on, without having to be disappointed it’s now what they originally thought.

App Bundles is probably the best of all changes brought to the App Store. Thanks to App Bundles, Developers can now allow users to purchase a wide variety of Apps all in one saver purchase. This is also the only feature on the App Store that’s been added, which isn’t currently on other platforms, and that should change as this is an awesome user and Developer feature!

The last change to the App Store is called Test Flight. Thanks to Test Flight, Developers can invite anyone to beta test an App not yet published in the App Store, this previously wasn’t possible on iOS, but it’s nice to see it finally be made possible now!

FAMILY SHARING

Last, but not … no, just last, is Family Sharing.

Family Sharing is an example of something which sounds awesome on paper, until you read in to it further, which we’ll get to right now.

Using Family Sharing you and 6 iOS devices can all share the same experience, Photo sharing, File sharing and even App Store and iTunes purchase sharing, sounds awesome right … well, it only works if all devices in question are linked with the same Credit/Debit Card. Whilst this doesn’t make it a useless thing, it does restrict it for the use case most people will want.

What it’s absolutely incredible for though is younger kids under the age of 16 who can’t purchase things on the App Store or iTunes Store for their devices, as they now can using their Parents linked Credit/Debit Cards.

Apple will also, however, crank down on unauthorised purchases made on any of the up to 6 devices using this however, as each and every device using Family Sharing must allow a purchase to be authorised before it is, which should more than prevent children purchasing £1,000s of in-app purchases through stupid Farm apps.

OTHER iOS 8 CHANGES OF NOTE
  • Photos app coming to OS X Yosemite
  • Shazam integration available in Siri
  • Siri is “always listening”, but only when originally opened, or in Car mode. Begin Siri commands with “Hey Siri”
  • iOS 8 Beta launching today, iOS 8 coming in the fall
  • iPhone 4 will not be compatible with iOS 8, but all other iOS 7 devices will be compatible with the release

Advanced Developer Features

Apple gave a whole section of WWDC 2014 to not only OS X and iOS, but the final part to ‘the mother of Development Tools’, which we’re going to get to now. Apple have made some major changes in terms of Development, and we have to say it was incredibly refreshing to finally see Apple embracing Developers at their Developers Conference. Apple had programming execs coming out demoing code, it was a really obvious thing to have at a Dev Conference, but it’s surprisingly new, but great they’re finally doing it.

Alongside the massive 4000 Developer SDKs, Apple did make some rather important changes to iOS including opening up the OS for Developers as well as going as far as changing the Development Language, which is just insane.

iOS Opened Up to Developers

TOUCH ID ACCESS FOR THIRD PARTY APPS

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S5, they partnered with PayPal to offer in-app authentication for payments, as well as Samsung’s own App Store, but not Google Play. When Apple announced the iPhone 5S, they only announced Touch ID to work with the Lock Screen and the App/iTunes Store, but no longer.

The difference between what Apple are doing is ironically making it a more open experience … when do you ever hear that said about Apple, we’re definitely in the post-Steve Jobs era now!

In iOS 8, all apps will be able to use Touch ID optionally as an authentication method using encryption led authentication. The application itself will actually receive zero data in doing the authentication other than a binary 1 / 0 response. Touch ID will either tell the app the fingerprint is approved or not, nothing more, nothing less!

DEEPER ACCESS TO CAMERA HARDWARE

On what has seemed like eternity for many, Apple have opened up the entire iPhone and iPad Camera hardware for in app software enhancement and hardware led configuration.

Previously all Camera apps on iOS had to use software tweaks to deliver experiences different to the one found on the default Camera app on iOS, the problem with this is they couldn’t access the ISO settings, hardware level exposure settings and focus settings of the Camera … until now!

Through two things Apple are calling CameraKit and PhotoKit, iOS will unlock all capabilities from the iPhone and iPads Camera hardware to developers, which is likely to lead to some incredible Photo apps moving forward.

HEALTHKIT = FITNESS TOOLS

Along with an accompanying app simply branded ‘Health’, Apple have introduced a HealthKit API for Developers, which sounds a lot better than it actually is, but at the same time does offer some unique Health based functionality.

The Health app, along with HealthKit, will integrate all third party apps capable of using Health and Fitness based functions and keep them all together and organised through the Health application, Apple demoed some unique features Nike+ will be doing with HealthKit integration.

Obviously until the iPhone has features similar to the S5 heart rate monitor, hardware enhancements to the Health and Fitness functionality on iOS won’t be much more than an aggregator, but it’s a start.

HOMEKIT = AUTOMATION TOOLS

When rumours began circulating that Apple would be integrating Home Automation in to iOS 8 we were about as excited as anyone to see just what they do with it. Unfortunately the big day wasn’t today, but they did introduce a HomeKit API, which similar to HealthKit, aggregates all your Home Automation applications in to a single place.

Apple did announce that they are working hard with over 50 Home Automation brands to deliver more coming later in the future, but a customised API is ready and waiting in iOS 8 so it’s only a matter of time.

CLOUDKIT = FULL POWER OF iCLOUD

Apple did introduce a list of iCloud features, including iCloud Drive, which will allow iCloud File Viewing and management through not only iOS devices, but through the OS X Finder and the Windows Explorer, to add to that Apple introduced the CloudKit API for Developers.

Thanks to the CloudKit API, Developers can integrate the iCloud File Picker and manager in to all their apps, which will allow opening and saving to the same folder using iCloud. Whilst we continue what we said about Apple increasing the default iCloud size, for now what we’re left with is a very decent growing Cloud solution.

Game Coding

Apple have made major changes to iOS with iOS 8, allowing real time next gen Console graphics possible on iOS devices. Zen Garden shown.

Along with quite possibly the biggest announcement of the day, which we’ll get to after these, Apple introduce more of their ‘Kit’ APIs, essentially making App Development not only more easier, but much more powerful and diverse. We can’t wait to see what Game Developers do with this technology.

We did get a Game demo at WWDC, showing that thanks to the following, iOS devices can actually run Games previously not thought possible on mobile devices, including Game engines actually presently in use on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4, which is just insane!

SPRITEKIT

SpiteKit API allows a much simplified way of creating in Game Spites in not only high end 3D games, but battery efficient 2D games.

Thanks to just the SpriteKit API, you can easier than ever create characters at which can move with natural interaction with their given surroundings, including detecting collisions naturally, force field abilities as well as advanced lighting effects.

SCENEKIT

SceneKit builds on SpriteKit, but instead of focusing on the models and characters within a 2D or 3D game, SceneKit allows you to create an advanced landscape filled surrounding.

SceneKit incorporates advanced features such as a physics engine, particle generator as well as scripting tools for controlling your 3D and 2D objects created using SpriteKit, all in a natural integrated way.

METAL

Other than Swift, which we’ll get to shortly, Metal is quite possibly the second biggest announcement for Developers at this years WWDC.

Metal allows Developers to not only create but execute highly immersive console level powered Games in ways never before thought possible.

Metal API allows further optimisation of Apple’s existing A7 processor, allowing Developers to squeeze maximum performance from the chip than before by allowing both the CPU and GPU to work together to not only achieve more graphics power than ever before, but in a way providing the best optimal performance. Metal is also designed for multithreading, added up with SceneKit and SpriteKit, Developers have more tools than ever before to easily make and produce immersive games.

Your turn now Android.

Swift – Apple replaces programming language Objective-C with Swift

Swift Coding Language

Swift is something that not many people are going to forget very quickly at all, Swift is Apple’s new Programming Language moving forward. Apple actually has entirely replaced their existing Objective-C Programming Language from the programming level, but they’ve done it in an Apple way, making the transition to Swift more natural than ever.

Swift Screenshot

Swift also introduces an entirely new Programming face, the average large level of Programming code can be easily cut in to third on Programming code alone, but still offering the same power possible before using Objective-C.

The transition is also natural, Developers can actually continue to use their existing Objective-C code within XCode, and even use both code types at the same time, allowing them to coexist throughout their source code.

Swift, hence the name, was obviously built to be as fast as possible, but at the same time keeping the best features of both C and Objective-C coding language. Swift keeps low-level primitives such as types, flow controls and operators, as well as keeping object-orientated features such as classes, protocols and generics, giving Cocoa and Cocoa Touch the power and performance it’s always had, but now easier and better than ever.

Now, we’ll admit, we’re no programmers, so if you want more information on the major changes Swift will provide for Developers, you can download ‘The Swift Programming Language’ guide from the iBook Store, available right here!

Summary

So, there you have it, not a lot really … yeah, a heap of stuff announced! The entire 2 hours WWDC 2014 keynote was literally feature-feature-feature every second, which is really great to see.

Whilst no one can possibly say OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 is completely new, and that Apple should be given much credit for a majority of features in the releases, what we do get with both releases is an incredible list of new features, all of which will change the way everyone uses their iOS and Mac devices moving forward.

The biggest news of the day for Developers was of course the new programming language Swift, and some incredibly useful Developer access finally given through iOS 8, including custom keyboards, sharing and more, as well as a range of APIs allowing functionality previously impossible on iOS at all.

What was your favourite announcement from WWDC 2014, no one can deny there’s a lot that was announced, and they’re all good for both OS X and iOS, but will this change your opinion of Apple’s platforms. Will you be switching from Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry to iOS thanks to iOS 8, and likely a larger iPhone? Let us know below.

 

 

 

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