A Summary of WWDC 2023's New Developer APIs
The WWDC 2023 keynote just wrapped up, and Apple announced several new products and updates related to app development for iOS, iPad, macOS, and the rest of the operating systems of the company.
The event began with the unveiling of the new 15-inch MacBook Air, followed by the Mac Studio upgrade featuring the M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips, and concluded with the announcement of the new Mac Pro powered by the M2 Ultra chip. Additionally, they introduced a new product, the Vision Pro, which are augmented reality glasses that will surely give a lot to talk about in the coming weeks.
However, this blog focuses on software, so in this article, I will provide a summary centered on software news for developers, including new APIs and the most notable changes announced that can potentially open new ways to develop new features for your apps.
Posters: visual identities for your contacts
We begin with the new major release of the OS that powers the iPhone: iOS 17. The first new feature announced is the addition of the Posters functionality for the calling app. This feature allows us to customize the interface when we receive a call from a contact. It lets us set the image and adjust the text, similar to how the wallpaper is customized. This configuration is also used in the contacts app, to maintain the same design whether we are viewing a contact's information or initiating a call with them. We can use this feature through the CallKit API, for instance, in a Voice over IP (VoIP) application, by displaying the image previously assigned by the user for a specific contact when they make a call.
With this new feature, users can assign visual identities to their contacts, which will be consistently displayed across system applications and third-party apps alike, enhancing their overall experience.
SharePlay: bring your device closer and share
The next feature is the possibility to share content via the SharePlay API with the simple gesture of bringing your device closer to another. In the presentation, Apple demonstrates how it can be used to quickly share your contact information with another person, or how to send images or videos. With SharePlay, we can implement sharing functions that work simply by bringing one device closer to another. For example, if we want to recommend a YouTube video to a friend, it would be enough to have it open and bring it closer to their phone, or imagine wanting to share an article from a news app or social network with another person. Through this new API, we can carry out any option to share data or content with another user much faster and with fewer actions, with the simple gesture of bringing the devices closer.
The new suggestions API
In this presentation, Apple has announced a new app that we will see from iOS 17: Journal. With this app, we will be able to maintain a personal diary in which we can record anything we want about our lives. What's notable here is that in the presentation, it is mentioned that this app uses the new Suggestions API, which allows for a series of suggestions based on other user data, such as locations or photos, to suggest things to write about. Developers will also have access to this API, and I imagine it can be used in a similar way, I mean: I assume that through this API, we can leverage user-generated content to provide suggestions based on their previous inputs. It's not entirely clear to me how it will be used, and I have my doubts about the privacy that this API will be able to maintain, but we will see all of this as soon as we start working with this new API.
HealthKit for iPad 17
We move on to the operating system that powers the iPads: the new iPadOS 17. One of the innovations introduced is the ability to use the HealthKit API on these tablets. Just like in iOS, through this API we can interact with data related to the user's health and fitness. We can collect, analyze, and process this data, for instance in apps related to weight tracking, step monitoring, health apps, or sports apps.
Create WebApps from Safari
In this presentation, Apple also unveiled the next major release of its desktop operating system: macOS Sonoma. In this section, I will highlight a few new features that caught my attention in the new version of Safari.
Now any user can create WebApps from Safari. In this case, it's not something new that you as a developer can use, since you don't have to make any changes for it. Any user can decide to turn any webpage into an application that will integrate seamlessly with the rest of the applications installed on the Mac. The user can set its name, the image will be the main icon of the website and then it will automatically appear on the Dock. From then on, this website can be used as if it were another application installed on the system.
Another feature worth noting is that Safari finally catches up with other browsers by adding the ability to create profiles. This allows users to separate cookies, bookmarks, history, and other browsing data by creating different profiles. This feature can be very useful, for instance, to separate the accounts that you use for work from the accounts that you use for your personal projects.
Continuity Camera API
To finish this list of news, I'm going to talk about the possibility of using the Continuity Camera API in applications for tvOS. With the help of this API, developers can utilize the iPhone camera within a tvOS app, enabling it to function as a camera. If you happen to be a programmer working on this operating system and have eagerly awaited a solution to incorporate camera functionality, your wait is over. During the Apple presentation, they showcased the seamless integration of the iPhone camera into a FaceTime call using this very API.
So, here you have a super quick rundown of the coolest updates I found for app development on Apple devices. You should check out the whole Keynote to expand on this information and to find out about the rest of the news presented at WWDC 2023.
Until next time!