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Weather Data Meets Privacy, and More • The Registry

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WWDC Apple this week at its Worldwide Developers Conference delivered software development kits (SDKs) for betas of its iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, tvOS 16, and watchOS 9 platforms.

For developers convinced to ask Apple for permission to distribute their software and pay a portion of the revenue for this privilege, it’s time to celebrate and listen to the message from the mothership.

While consumer-facing features across the company’s various operating systems largely consist of incremental enhancements such as aesthetic and workflow enhancements, development APIs in the underlying code are expected to improve. prove more important because they will allow programmers to create applications and functions that were not possible before. . Many of the new features are covered in Apple’s Platforms State of the Union presentation.

Apple’s Xcode Cloud CI/CD system emerged from beta testing and is now available to members of the Apple Developer Program. It provides a way to create application code, in conjunction with build status, reporting, and automatic build distribution to testers and users.

Eligible developers get 25 hours of free time through December. Thereafter, pricing starts at $14.99/month for 25 hours.

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SwiftUI, Apple’s framework for user interfaces across its various operating systems, has a new stateful navigation API called NavigationStackfor data-driven user interface screen navigation, and a way to insert a TextField in an Alert. It also integrates Swift Charts, a data visualization framework, among other improvements.

Developers may want to review recent changes to Apple’s Swift programming language, including improvements to the Swift Concurrency, Swift Async Algorithms, Swift Regex, and Swift Package plugins.

Apple’s WidgetKit has been extended to allow developers to create complications for watchOS 9 and iOS 16 lock screen widgets for iPhone. And later this year, following a planned iOS 16 update, the Live Activities API should be available for creating real-time widgets.

The App Intents API simplifies the process of integrating third-party apps with Siri. It works with App Shortcuts, a visual scripting app for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS apps.

Then there’s WeatherKit, a framework for fetching data from the new Apple Weather service via Swift or REST API. Apple says the service respects users’ privacy by using location data only for weather forecasts, not associating contact details with personal information, and not tracking requests.

This could be a significant improvement on the data capture status quo. IBM’s The Weather Channel in 2019 was sued by the city of Los Angeles for allegedly tricking users of its mobile app into providing location data that was sold for unrelated commercial purposes. IBM denied the allegations but agreed to settle the matter by telling app users about how it uses location data and voluntarily donated $1 million in technology to city agencies in Los Angeles.

Apple’s MapKit framework, which allows the display of map data or satellite images in applications, has been renovated. There is also a Maps Server API to reduce API calls and conserve power, always a concern on mobile devices.

Metal, Apple’s hardware acceleration framework, has moved to version 3, bringing with it MetalFX Upscaling for faster scaling and anti-aliasing, and a variety of other tricks.

ARKit 6, Apple’s augmented reality framework, now supports 4K video, scene geometry, motion capture, and people occlusion, among others. There’s also a related framework called RoomPlan, a Swift API that lets iPhones and iPads create a quick 3D floor plan of a room using the device’s camera and LiDAR scanner. He sparked a fair amount developer enthusiasm.

SharePlay, the consumer-facing name for the group activity framework, was created for sharing content in FaceTime. It now also works with Messages. There’s also a confusingly similar framework called Shared With You, which can be used with the Collaboration API to integrate app collaboration experiences into FaceTime and Messages.

macOS 13, aka Ventura, gained a capability called Continuity Camera which allows a user’s iPhone to act as a built-in or tethered webcam. The API handles camera input switching, desktop view access and that sort of thing.

Arguably the most significant new API is Passkeys, a way to use the device’s biometric sensors (Touch ID, Face ID) to generate iCloud Keychain public key credentials for authentication, instead of using a password. Although technology adoption may take time, the ability to log in to services securely without worrying about passwords promises to significantly improve online security.

Apple’s in-app purchase APIs (StoreKit 2, App Store Server API, etc.) have been extended to facilitate the transaction process. The Wallet app has also seen improvements in its support for ID card management and order tracking, as well as a deferred payment system called Apple Pay Later.

The Live Text API provides a way to identify text in images. The Focus system – for silencing alerts and notifications – has been supplemented with the Focus filter API, to make the app’s data presentation conform to Focus settings.

There are new Mac Catalyst APIs to make iPadOS 16 features available on macOS 13 apps. Meanwhile, Apple’s Game Center has a redesigned dashboard and supports push notifications for game activity. leaderboard – so players can be notified when they no longer have the best score, for example. And App Clips, a mechanism for providing users with a lightweight preview of an app, has also been tweaked a bit.

Finally, changes have been made to ShazamKit, Accessibility, Enterprise, and Education APIs (Sign in with Apple for Work and School, Roster API), tvOS, and Safari for macOS.

Overall, these changes should keep Apple acolytes busy revising and improving their native platform apps until the scheduled release of the public operating system in a few months. ®