Considering WWDC is a developers conference the keynote seemed more like a advertisement for Apple Music than anything else. We got 30 minutes of Apple Music, 2 minutes of swift and no code. The Platforms presentation was much more interesting and finally included some code.
Below I list my highlights as a Xamarin developer, I’m going to keep these blogs focused on the interesting parts for Xamarin developers.
Multitasking in iOS 9
More specifically designed for iPad Multitasking allows you to view two apps in a Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture. The most interesting part of this is the layout, if you’ve been using auto layout it’s possible that your app might work with this already but if you haven’t then you might have a bit of work on your hands. If you’re using Xamarin.Forms this might be even more of a problem, but we will see once we’ve spent some more time with the new feature, this seems like a good item for some R&D and a blog post.
Search APIs in iOS 9
Apps are now allowed to interface with search in iOS 9, with the ability to deep link into the app. The API is called CoreSpotlight and is not supported by Xamarin yet. If your building website, there’s also the ability to include webmarkup that will appear in users search results. More info in a future blog post.
New game development APIs
Advancements in SceneKit, SpriteKit, and Metal. New APIs including GameplayKit makes it simple to build better quality games that involve complex rules, states, and behaviors. Model I/O gives you powerful control over the rendering of physical object models with materials and realistic lighting. ReplayKit lets users easily record and share great game content.
With iOS 9, the App Store allows users to download apps that are specifically optimized for their device. This means apps will download, install and launch faster while taking up less storage space than before. Build support for slicing, on-demand resources, and bitcode, and give your users smaller, more convenient updates to your apps. At the moment I’m not sure how this will work but stay tuned and you’ll find out soon.
Swift 2.0 and Open Source
The next version of swift has been announced with advanced error-handling, availability checking, and lots of enhancements to syntax. In even bigger news Apple is planning to make swift open source sometime this year, I’m not sure exactly how this relates to Xamarin but it’s still good news for developers.
WatchKit for watchOS 2
Apple announced a updated watch operating named watch OS 2, giving developers a bunch of new APIs and functionality, such as programmatic access to the Digital Crown and animation APIs for more dynamic user interfaces. New APIs for playing audio, video and microphone. Access to the Taptic engine, you can add haptic feedback in your Apple Watch apps. Extensions now run Native on the watch and don’t require a round trip to the phone resulting in a faster and responsive watchapp, developers can also create iPhone not present apps and full networking with NSSession and can work when iPhone is out of range. WatchApps now have a larger API a little similar to the iOS API, but with the extras like Digital Crown, Tapic Engine etc.
watchOS 2 also includes many enhancements to other existing frameworks such as HealthKit, enabling access to the health sensors that access heart rate and health information in real-time. CoreMotion enhancements include the ability to use the accelerometer to create engaging experiences on Apple Watch. Notifications on the watch can now have custom buttons and actions directly from the notification.
ClockKit, Time Travel and Complications
Well we all wanted it but weren’t sure if we would get it, but WE DID. Apps can now have their own data/information on the watch clock face, this information can be live updated via few different methods. And with the new Time Travel feature in watchOS 2, users can turn the Digital Crown to go backward and forward in time to display information in Complications from that time. Users can even enable multiple versions of your app’s Complications on the same clock face to display a variety of information.
Free App Development + $99 for all platforms
It’s now Free for developers to develop apps for all platform and now it’s only $99 if you want a developer account. The developer account is required to distribute and has a range of other features like access to early versions.
OS Upgrade Improvements
Apple noted the problem of ‘free-space’ that many faced when attempting to update to iOS 8, so now iOS 9 will only require 1.4 GB of freespace to update. Apple are committed to pushing users to upgrade their OS.
iOS 9 Improved Battery Life & Low Power Mode
iOS 9 has an extra hour of battery life over iOS 8. iOS 9 now comes with a low power mode which can increase battery life by 3 hours..
App developers are now able to have a single link that opens in safari on the desktop but deep link into a app on the iPhone.
It’s been a long day but I’m very excited about learning more about these new features. I’ve got many more blog posts to come so stay tuned.