Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

WWDC16

In a few days, I’m going to my first ever WWDC. I expect it to be an interesting experience in itself, regardless of what Apple announces.

I’ll use this post as a quick dump of thoughts and things I hope to see / hear from Apple.

Siri API is more or less a lock. There’s even cloaked session name Siri(question: "what is it?") thus I’ll be very surprised this one does not materialize.

Swift takes over as the primary design target for any new APIs coming out of Apple’s kitchen. Objective-C bridging would naturally be possible but the way data flow and process flow works in new APIs will certainly be made with Swift in mind – meaning value types, protocols, behavior composition (instead of relying on inheritance) etc.

First such API will be a brand new UI framework. As rumors have it, OS X will become macOS this year and such name change present itself as opportunity to do something larger – a new unifying iOS/macOS framework would be worthy of the change.

I am very aware this is not small nor simple task but I also don’t expect Apple to have started this work recently. I assume work on this have started shortly after Swift was announced to general public few years ago. I do hope this is the year they are up to 1.0 point. (If not, there’s always next year).

Such framework would be a proper answer by Apple to many concerns raised by long-time developers on its platforms. Opportunity to show there’s serious work being done not only for Swift as language but also Swift as tools/platform driver. One that will fully use modern multi-core devices and render attempts like ReactNative and AsyncDisplayKit irrelevant - meaning UI components will not be exclusively tied to main thread, etc.

In fact - I think that all Apple platforms should be based on one singular UI framework with natural specifics regarding controls and behaviors, as needed.

Next - and the one I have the least hope for - is the watchOS 3 that will drop WatchKit nonsense and adopt that same UI framework as a way to build Apple Watch interfaces. I have little hope for this before next update of the device but then again - good apps take time so if Apple aims for end of year, it makes sense to reveal the changes now. If not – I see another round of Tech Talks early next year.

For other stuff in watchOS 3 - I hope for way smarter complications, with ability to assign multiple apps to particular complication spot with a set of rules and priorities which one should be visible at any given time.

I also long for non-suspending HKWorkout apps, so I can actually publish proper Run 5k for watchOS. See my VoxxedDays Belgrade 2015 talk about Watch app development for more on this topic.

Lastly - I hope Apple will further push HomeKit. They need to more proactively court home device makers and make HomeKit a dominant platform that will unify all their devices. What better way to show what’s possible than making their own devices work better in unison, with Apple TV running tvOS 2 as center of your home. With programmable Siri Everywhere, it would be fun to see what people come up with.

Less than a week, now.

(I gave up hope for any new hardware, at WWDC.)