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Apple announces new developer tools and APIs for better app experiences

By Mitchell Hageman
Tue 7 Jun 2022

Apple has also announced a variety of new technological innovations to further push forward the app experience.

The new announcement encompasses new tools, technologies and APIs that the company says are designed to help developers create better and more involved experiences for their users.

Xcode Cloud will now be available to users, 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. It acts as a continuous integration and delivery cloud service designed specifically for Apple developers and can deploy tests on a simulated version of every current Apple device.

There are also added improvements to Xcode 14, with project builds now able to be 25% faster, thanks to improved parallelism. The Xcode application is now also 30% smaller to download, with downloadable simulator runtimes for watchOS and tvOS.

Improved gaming capabilities have also been announced, with Metal 3, the latest version of Apple's graphics framework, introduced with new features that enable game developers to tap into the power of Apple silicon for even greater gaming performance.

MetalFX Upscaling also 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. This allows easy access to high-quality textures and geometry needed to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay.

There will also be noticeable enhancements to Swift and SwiftUI, with new regular expression literal support built directly into the language. SwiftUI features an enhanced navigation API to make it easier for developers to control, and new Package Plugins available in Swift Package Manager make it easier for developers to run custom commands and upload and share with others.

WeatherKit will be available to developers through both native Swift and REST APIs. It enables developers to integrate the same world-class global weather forecast that powers Apple Weather directly into their apps, and additional service tiers can be purchased.

A privacy-focused approach to measuring ads is also something that Apple emphasises, with the SKAdNetwork API coming with new features designed to help ad networks and advertisers better measure how ads perform in apps or on the web while still preserving user privacy. 

Various other APIs range from iOS 16 enabling widgets on the iPhone Lock Screen, new Apple Maps Server APIs and Automatic Shortcuts.

"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," says Apple's vice president of worldwide developer relations and enterprise and education marketing Susan Prescott. 

"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."

More information and announcements are coming in an update later this year.

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