We are rounding up WWDC on a platform wise basis, telling you which of our predictions (and rumours) came out to be true. So, this will be a three-part series: Mac OS X, iOS, Developers’ stuff.
The day before yesterday morning (or night if you are on this side of the globe) Apple kicked off its WWDC 2014 event with its keynote.
Along with consumer focussed features for both OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, Apple also announced a bevy of developer-focussed features.
At the 86-minute mark, after discussing all the new consumer and enterprise focussed features, Tim Cook again called on-stage his “Superman,” Craig Federighi to talk about all the Developer focussed features…
Until now, applications on the iTunes App Store and the Mac App Store have been sandboxed and could not talk to each other. With extensions, your application can provide an extension as a service that other applications can tap into.
As shown by Apple in the keynote, the Pinterest application could provide a service to pin an item to your account. The Pinterest pin button could appear in the share sheet of other applications as long as your application advertises this functionality. When the button is tapped, your application will be called to provide a UI for performing this extension task.
PhotoKit and Manual Camera Controls
The AV Foundation has been upgraded to include a lot of new functionality for applications that utilize the Camera and Photo services in iOS.
With PhotoKit, your application can now do direct non-destructive photo edits for photos that are managed by the Photos app, or other photos stored in the user’s iCloud albums without having to import them first, and then save them back out after the edits.
With the Manual Camera Controls, your application can now take control over the lower-level camera applications to tweak things like focus, white balance, and exposure settings.
These two APIs will be great for camera apps that have always wanted better access to the camera and photo album.
Touch ID API
Apple also opened up the Touch ID API to developers allowing third-party apps to use Touch ID instead of a traditional passcode.
Also, Federighi stressed on the fact that the API doesn’t give the app access to the fingerprints rather it gives them access only to the Keychain Data.
Apple also announced the “HealthKit” developer suite to allow developers to send the information from their fitness-focussed devices to the “Health” app’s dashboard in iOS 8.
Basically, with iCloudKit, Apple wants to be both your sync provider and your web backend. This means if you want your app to share files like you would with DropBox, you can use iCloudKit to do so. This includes file sharing with Windows.
They also appear to be working on providing a more web services like infrastructure for you to build web apps that can talk to you mobile apps. iCloudKit will be FREE but with limits, like you get a petabyte of data assets, a 10TB Database, 5 TB per day data transfer and 50 GB per day database transfer limits which can be extended by paying for it!
To reduce the disparity in the communication methods between the iDevice and the intelligent home devices like thermostats, wireless locking systems, lights, etc., Apple has introduced the HomeKit which allows all these smart devices to use the same communication protocol to connect to an iPhone, iPod or iPad to enhance efficiency. It will include Siri, allowing the system to turn off all the lights and lock the doors with a simple “I’m going to bed” command.
One More Thing…
In a surprising move, Apple announced a new dynamic programming language called “Swift.” Craig Federighi described it to be just “like Objective-C but without the C.” Swift represents the future of development across iOS and OS X. To enable developers to keep working on their existing apps, Swift code can live right besides C and Objective-C code in the same app.
That’s not it for developers at the WWDC as Apple released a lot of other features at presentations not open to the public. We will talk about these features as well, but in later posts.