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Posts tagged with "developers"

Apple Announces ‘Meet with Apple Experts’ for Developers

Apple announced a worldwide series of events for developers who want to improve their apps through a combination of online and in-person resources.

The program includes more than 50 workshops, consultations, labs, and other sessions focusing on a broad range of topics, from developing for each of the company’s OSes to business and marketing assistance. For example, Apple’s developer website currently lists one-on-one App Review consultations, an in-person Apple Vision Pro event, and an online session on app discovery and marketing, as well as a wide variety of other topics hosted from several cities around the world. Sessions are offered in multiple languages and incorporate what was previously part of programs like Ask Apple, Meet with App Store experts, and Tech Talks.

The new Meet with Apple Experts events look like they’ll be a fantastic resources for developers. I especially like the blend of in-person and online resources. It’s hard to beat the kind of one-on-one interaction that used to happen in WWDC labs, but in-person events impose a lot of constraints that make them hard to host and attend. With a mix of in-person and online events, Apple should be able to reach a wider developer audience, which is great to see.

Digital Trends Interviews Apple Execs and Developers about Apple Vision Pro

Digital Trends’ Alex Blake interviewed Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of worldwide developer relations and Steve Sinclair, senior director of product marketing for Apple Vision Pro, along with several developers about the ways the company is encouraging development for its upcoming headset.

According to Sinclair:

One of the things that we’ve observed is that when people first put on Vision Pro, they’re so blown away by the new spatial experiences that they see that they oftentimes forget that they’re actually wearing something.

When we’re working with developers,” he continues, “we really try to stress the importance of creating new experiences that take advantage of all those capabilities.” That means building apps that “flex from windows to apps to being able to create fully immersive applications that transport you somewhere else. Because those are the things that customers and users are going to be excited about.”

Developer Ryan McLeod, the creator of the iOS and iPadOS game Blackbox, believes hands-on time with the Vision Pro hardware is key for developer adoption:

“It’s hard for me to imagine being inspired enough to build Blackbox for Vision Pro without having had ample hands-on time,” he notes. “I think it’s going to be critically important that as many developers as possible — especially smaller indie teams — get that opportunity and support for the platform.”

McLeod suggests that to get the Vision Pro in as many developers’ hands as possible:

Apple could help by “continuing to push beyond the traditional yearly WWDC cycle to continuously release more example apps, more API documentation, more sessions, and more opportunities to talk directly with engineers at Apple.”

Mark Gurman of Bloomberg posted on Twitter in early August that he’d heard that the Vision Pro labs were “under-filled with a small number of developers.” As valuable as the labs seem to have been to those who have attended, so far, they’ve only been held in Cupertino and a handful of large cities in a limited number of countries and on relatively short notice. Hopefully, as the weeks pass, Apple can schedule labs further out, expand the number of locations, and offer more developer kits. It’s that sort of hands-on experience that will get developers excited, drive the adoption of visionOS, and ensure there are apps for customers when Vision Pro ships next year.


Apple Publishes Updated Human Interface Guidelines for visionOS

In addition to releasing the visionOS SDK and developer tools today, Apple has updated its Human Interface Guidelines and published additional visionOS documentation for developers. The updated HIG begins with an overview of designing for the Apple Vision Pro, covering topics like Passthrough, Spatial Audio, Focus and Gestures, Ergonomics, and Accessibility, advising developers to:

Embrace the unique features of Apple Vision Pro. Take advantage of space, Spatial Audio, and immersion to bring life to your experiences, while integrating passthrough, focus, and gestures in ways that feel at home on the device.

If you’re interested in Apple’s design philosophy for the Vision Pro, the HIG is an excellent plain-English read. For developers who want to dive deeper into the details of building apps, Apple has also published a lot of additional documentation covering the nuts and bolts of building visionOS apps.


Apple Releases visionOS SDK and Developer Tools

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple announced the visionOS software development kit that will allow developers to start creating apps for the Apple Vision Pro. In addition to the SDK, an update to Xcode is introducing Reality Composer Pro, which lets developers preview 3D models, animations, images, and sounds. There’s also a new visionOS simulator that can be used to test different room configurations and lighting for visionOS apps.

The developer labs that Apple announced at WWDC will open soon too:

Next month, Apple will open developer labs in Cupertino, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo to provide developers with hands-on experience to test their apps on Apple Vision Pro hardware and get support from Apple engineers.

Developers can also apply for an Apple Vision Pro developer kit, so they can test apps on the device itself. Anyone who has used Unity’s tools to build 3D apps and games will be able to port them to visionOS next month too.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Among the developers who have tried the visionOS SDK is Algoriddim, whose CEO, Karim Morsey, said:

The djay app on Apple Vision Pro puts a fully featured DJ system right at a user’s fingertips. With a reimagined spatial interface, anyone can mix their favorite music and apply real-time effects using just their eyes and hands. Whether for a beginner or a seasoned professional, djay on Vision Pro transforms the user’s surroundings with stunning environments that automatically react to their mix, enabling them to experience and interact with music in ways never before possible.

It’s great to see Apple getting these tools into the hands of developers so soon after WWDC. Building apps for Apple Vision Pro uses many of the same technologies and tools developers are already familiar with, like Xcode, SwiftUI, RealityKit, ARKit, and TestFlight. However, with excitement for Apple Vision Pro still high, now is the perfect time to get the new visionOS SDK and tools in developers’ hands as they plan for the device’s release next year.

From Conference to Festival: The Evolution of WWDC

WWDC never gets old. There’s the excitement surrounding Apple’s announcements, but it’s far more than that. At its heart, the value of WWDC is in the people you see.

Ten years ago, I attended my first WWDC ever as the parent of what is now called the Swift Student Challenge. At the time, I’d already begun dipping my toe into iOS development and arrived knowing nobody. By the end of the week, I’d met long-time indie developers like Daniel Jalkut, Craig Hockenberry, and Paul Kafasis, plus a couple of baby podcasters named Myke and Stephen.

WWDC 2013.

WWDC 2013.

WWDC was in San Francisco in those days, which had its pluses and minuses. There were great restaurants and a vibrant nightlife, but the city was also crowded and expensive. I’m glad Federico got to experience that version of WWDC in 2016, but I was happy about the switch to San Jose. The city is sleepier than San Francisco, but the big courtyard outside the convention center and the handful of hotels people stayed at made it easier to bump into people than you could in San Francisco.

When WWDC kicked off this year, I could have comfortably sat at home at my desk in my home office, taking in the keynote. If I’d done that, I certainly would have written more and gotten podcast episodes out faster. Still, I would have lost something far more valuable: the chance meetings with MacStories readers, podcast listeners, developers of the apps we cover, and the Apple engineers and other Apple folks who work hard to make WWDC something special every year.

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A Developer’s View of Vision Pro

Excellent developer-focused take on the Vision Pro by David Smith, who also tested one last week at Apple Park. I particularly liked his reasoning for why it’s important to begin understanding a new Apple platform sooner rather than later:

Another reason I want to develop for visionOS from the start is that it is the only way I know for developing what I’ll call “Platform Intuition”.

This year watchOS 10 introduced a variety of structural and design changes. What was fascinating (and quite satisfying) to see was how many of these changes were things that I was already doing in Pedometer++ (and had discussed their rationale in my Design Diary). This “simultaneous invention” was not really all that surprising, as it is the natural result of my spending years and years becoming intimately familiar with watchOS and thus having an intuition about what would work best for it.

That intuition is developed by following a platform’s development from its early stages. You have to have seen and experienced all the attempts and missteps along the way to know where the next logical step is. Waiting until a platform is mature and then starting to work on it then will let you skip all the messy parts in the middle, but also leave you with only answers to the “what” questions, not so much the “why” questions.

I want that “Platform Intuition” for visionOS and the only way I know how to attain it is to begin my journey with it from the start.

As Underscore concludes, Widgetsmith will be on visionOS from day one in 2024.


Apollo To Shut Down June 30th, Leading Many of the Largest Subreddits to Stage a Blackout

By now, most MacStories readers are probably familiar with the story surrounding Reddit’s decision charge exorbitantly high fees for access to its API after years of offering it for free to third-party developers like Christian Selig, the creator of Apollo. Since then, the situation has gone from bad to worse, with Reddit making unsubstantiated allegations of blackmail against Christian. With Reddit unwilling to budge and Apollo facing astronomical costs, Christian made the decision last week to remove Apollo from the App Store on June 30th, eight years after its debut.

If I were in Christian’s shoes, I’m sure I’d make the same hard decision, but that doesn’t make the app’s demise any easier for its users. Apollo is a fantastic app that’s been a favorite of ours and our readers for years. Christian is a genuinely wonderful person too, which makes this even harder to witness. Federico and I had the pleasure of interviewing him on one of the earliest episodes of AppStories, and it was great to finally get to meet him at WWDC in 2022.

But the thing that sets Apollo apart from other apps is the community around it, which is a testament to both Christian and his app. Apollo is a fantastic Reddit client, but it also became a tool for helping others by raising over $80,000 for Christian’s local animal shelter. Apollo has also been a showcase for some of the best icon designers around, helping spread the word about their work through the app’s enormous alternate icon catalog. The upshot of Reddit’s short-sighted business decisions is a loss that transcends the shutdown of a single app, which has been made all the more apparent by the widespread and ongoing Reddit blackout that has seen some of the largest subreddits go dark or read-only, crashing the site earlier today.

The other reality of shutting down an app like Apollo is that it’s expensive because subscribers will be entitled to a pro-rated refund for the remainder of their subscriptions. Christian is working on an Apollo update to allow users to forego their refund, similar to what Tweetbot and Twitterrific did after Twitter cut off their access to its API. Christian has also re-enabled Apollo’s tip jar. If you’d like to help defray the cost of Apollo’s shutdown, you’ll find tip options of $0.99, $5, and $10 in the app’s settings.

Economist Group Concludes Apple’s App Store Ecosystem Is Responsible for Facilitating $1.1 Trillion in Commerce

Today, Apple released the results of an independent study of the App Store economy by the economists at Analysis Group. According to the report, it was supported by Apple, but the conclusions and opinions expressed in it are those of the Analysis Group alone.

If you’re thinking, ‘Wait, I thought Apple just issued a press release about the app economy,’ you’re mostly right. That was the same group of economists reporting specifically on the success of small app developers, whereas this report extends beyond apps to other transactions facilitated by apps.

What the report shows is that the App Store economy is far larger than just apps. Along with app sales and subscriptions, the Analysis Group looked at the sale of physical goods, services, and advertising through apps downloaded from the App Store. What the results of the study show is that this more broadly-defined market accounted for about $1.1 trillion in sales in 2022, an enormous number by any measure.

The study includes some interesting insights into the App Store and the economy surrounding it:

  • The broader App Store ecosystem grew 29%, but digital goods and services, which is a category that includes more than just App Store sales, only grew 2% in 2022
  • Over 90% of billings connected to the App Store occurred outside of it
  • Ride-sharing and travel sales accounted for a big part of the App Store ecosystem’s growth in 2022
  • Other categories that saw big increases are grocery sales, food delivery and pickup services, and general retail sales

It’s worth considering the broader purpose of this study and the results that Apple has highlighted. The message of the report is that the impact of the App Store extends beyond apps, which is accurate. From that broader perspective the fees paid to Apple as a percentage of overall sales are lower, which is an argument the company will surely make to regulators and in antitrust disputes. Whether that perspective is relevant or persuasive in those contexts remains to be seen.

In any event, the App Store drives a remarkably large engine of commerce, the likes of which are reminiscent of the Internet itself. That’s an enormous accomplishment, of which Apple is understandably proud. However, it’s also important to remember that it’s an engine to which just one company holds the keys.

TestFlight’s Inability to Handle Large Beta Collections Needs to Be Fixed

I’ve been thinking about app scalability a lot lately – most recently in the context of TestFlight, which I find is incredibly frustrating to use, at best, and, on the Mac, often unusable. This isn’t a new problem for me, but I haven’t mentioned it much in the past because I’ve suspected that my experience is colored by the fact that I’m an outlier. But, outlier or not, the app deserves more attention than it’s been given.

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