Some of the new features in iOS 14 It’s from macOS Big Sur they are not restricted only to the native functions of the system and are also available to developers and their respective apps.
Among these new features is the WidgetKit it’s the App Clips, two features that will allow developers to “create the new generation of apps”. In addition, the company also updated its own tools for creating / integrating applications, such as the Xcode it’s the Mac Catalyst, to take advantage of these features.
Another interesting novelty has to do with changes that Apple intends to make at the heart of App Store, related to app submission and store rules – possibly to restore developers’ confidence, which has been shaking in recent days.
There are several novelties; without further ado, let’s check them out!
WidgetKit is a new framework which allows developers to create and make widgets available on iOS, iPadOS and macOS with the new API that includes new sizes for widgets and a gallery with various models.
There’s still what Apple calls «Smart Stacks», a technology designed to display widgets based on factors such as time, place and activity.
With App Clips, users will have a quick and easy way to discover apps through new visual indicators, NFC tags, shared links and more.
- NFC tags: just tap the iPhone on these tags for specific establishments / locations to launch App Clip directly from the lock screen.
- QR code: with these codes in specific locations, you can scan them with the iPhone to launch an App Clip.
- Safari: it is also possible to launch App Clips from web pages configured with a “Smart App Banner”.
- posts: When sharing an App Clip through the Messages app, the person who receives it will be able to open it directly through iMessage.
- Maps: When an App Clip is associated with a specific location, just register it so that users can open it directly from the app.
- Recently used: Recently used App Clips can be found (and reopened) in the Recents category of the new iOS 14 Apps Library.
According to Apple, App Clips start in a matter of seconds, giving the user a part of the full experience of an application and, at the same time, offering developers a new way to reach customers by highlighting the main functionality of the software. Once inside the App Clip, you can easily install the complete application with a single touch.
Other features of App Clips: notifications can be displayed within eight hours after the user starts it; location verification for App Clips based on NFC or QR code; and, also, multiple experiences for the same application.
With a brand new design, Xcode 12 now features customizable font sizes, simplified code completion and new document guides. The software also has, by default, the option to create universal applications to support Macs with Apple chips – according to Apple, “without changing a single line of code”.
As for customizable font sizes, Xcode now automatically tracks the system configuration used, for example, in the side column of the Finder or Mail. The developer can also choose a unique font size just for Xcode or for specific sections.
Simplified code completion, on the other hand, is a new feature of the Xcode interface that presents only the necessary information, occupying less space on the screen while the code is inserted – in addition, the conclusions are presented more quickly to keep the programming pace.
Finally, the new tab template allows you to open a new tab with a double click or follow the selected file as you click on the browser. You can reorganize the document’s tabs to create a set of files for the current task and configure how the content is shown in each one.
It is also worth remembering that Xcode 12 was developed as a universal app that runs natively on CPUs with Intel processors and, of course, with Apple Silicon.
Debuted in the past, alongside macOS Catalina 10.15, Mac Catalyst made it easy to migrate apps from iPad to Mac. With macOS Big Sur, apps created with Mac Catalyst automatically inherit the new desktop operating system design, offering developers “ powerful new APIs and greater control over the behavior of your applications ”.
This year, however, the feature gained something new that gives developers the chance to choose to keep the Mac app scaled to a resolution to match the iPad app or take full control of the Mac interface to create a “truly personalized experience. ”.
Mac Catalyst also gained support for new frameworks like the HomeKit, whose home automation apps can run alongside the Home app (Home) on macOS Big Sur.
In addition, the addition of the ClassKit framework allows applications to track tasks and share progress with teachers and students. In addition, there are updates for several other frameworks, including Accounts, Contacts, Audio Core, GameKit, MediaPlayer, PassKit and StoreKit.
Subscriptions, App Store rules and transparency
The new StoreKit tool in Xcode 12 allows developers to simulate subscription setup, in-app purchases and even refunds – all now on the Mac. There’s also a new framework which makes it easy to automate important actions, such as subscription renewal and customer refund notifications.
Apple also announced that it will create additional channels for developers to share comments during the new developer forums that will take place going forward. In these forums, everyone will be encouraged to share suggestions so that Apple can “continue to implement changes and improve the App Store experience for the entire developer community” – certainly the controversy surrounding the HEY app had something to do with it.
In addition, two changes will be applied to the App Store app review process in the coming months: first, developers will not only be able to appeal decisions about apps that may or may not have violated a certain company policy, they will also have a mechanism to challenge the rule itself; second, for apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed for violations of the guidelines, except for those related to legal issues – so developers will be able to resolve any issues in the next update or version.
Finally, developers now have the opportunity to detail the privacy practices of their apps directly on the App Store, so that users know what data an app can collect, whether that data is shared with third parties, and whether or not there is an option to disable collecting data completely.
Other developer resources
- ARKit 4: new ways to capture information about the real world using a new depth API designed to work with the LiDAR sensor on the iPad Pro, allowing the creation of new types of applications, such as architecture, design, landscaping, etc.
- Machine learning: Development is easier and more comprehensive, with additional tools in Core ML for deploying and encrypting templates and training resources in Create ML, plus more APIs for vision and natural language.
- PencilKit: With the new Scribble feature, it will be possible to create applications with text input fields where users can write with Apple Pencil. Developers will also have access to the stroke data using PencilKit, to better handle the touch gestures of the system.
- Swift Package Manager: feature support for easily sharing Asset Catalog packages and locations.
- TestFlight: support for up to 100 team members for quick distribution of builds.
- AirPods Motion: new API that provides access to movement data in real time.
- Sign in with Apple: Developers can now allow users to update existing third-party application accounts to Apple’s login feature.
In fact, developers have been well served with Apple’s new features – so we hope that the features announced today will be brought to as many apps as possible on iOS / iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur as soon as the systems are made available to the large public.