Apple has unveiled new tools, technologies and APIs designed to help developers create ‘rich experiences for their users’.
“We love collaborating with our developer community and providing them with new innovative technologies that enable them to build the next great generation of apps,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. “With powerful new APIs for widgets on the Lock Screen, new services like WeatherKit, the availability of Xcode Cloud to help every Apple developer build apps faster, and new gaming capabilities with Metal 3, developers have more tools than ever to create app experiences that their users will love.”
Xcode Cloud is now available with a range of subscription plans, starting with 25 hours per month free through December 2023 to all members of the Apple Developer Program and topping out at 1,000 hours per month.
The Xcode 14 features new enhancements to further improve developer productivity. According to reports, project builds are up to 25 percent faster, thanks to improved parallelism, and the Xcode application is now 30 percent smaller to download, with downloadable simulator runtimes for watchOS and tvOS. The new multiplatform target creates a single SwiftUI interface for use across iOS, iPadOS, macOS and tvOS. The new App Icon feature in Assets Catalog allows developers to provide a single icon size for all platforms, and Xcode automatically generates all the required assets for the app. Xcode includes language and editing enhancements with smarter autocompletion, and additional dynamic snippets get developers to the code they want to write faster.
Metal 3, the latest version of Apple’s graphics framework, also comes with new features such as MetalFX Upscaling that enables developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less compute-intensive frames, and then apply high-quality spatial upscaling and temporal anti-aliasing. Game developers also benefit from a new Fast Resource Loading API that minimises wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU.
Swift and SwiftUI have added new features that streamline the development process.
With new Package Plugins available in Swift Package Manager, it’s now easier for developers to run custom commands on their projects, and even upload and share the commands with others. SwiftUI has added Custom Layouts to enable developers to go beyond common app layouts and create versions that work best for their app designs.
WeatherKit enables developers to integrate the same world-class global weather forecast that powers Apple Weather directly into their apps. It is available to developers through both native Swift and REST APIs, and comes with 500,000 API calls per month included with an Apple Developer Program membership. With improvements to SKAdNetwork, ad networks and developers can better measure how ads perform while still preserving user privacy. Additionally, the latest APIs available to the developers include Widgets on the Lock Screen, Live Text, Collaboration tools, Passkeys, MapKit, Focus filters, Automatic Shortcuts, watchOS 9, RoomPlan and Live Activities.