June 6, 2022
Apple is making even more powerful technologies available to developers to power the app experience
New APIs offer deeper platform integration and more possibilities for third-party apps
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today introduced new tools, technologies and APIs designed to help developers create even richer experiences for their users. Lock screen widgets allow developers to display important information from their apps in new ways, while other new APIs across Apple’s platforms help them build more unique features. WeatherKit gives developers the power to integrate Apple weather forecast data directly into their apps, and Xcode Cloud – Apple’s continuous integration and delivery service built into Xcode – is now available to any member of the Apple Developer Program to help them Build higher quality apps faster. Metal 3 empowers gaming developers to create stunning graphics with accelerated performance, and development for Apple’s platforms just got more intuitive with improvements to Swift, SwiftUI, and Xcode. And with improvements to SKAdNetwork, ad networks and developers can better measure ad performance while maintaining user privacy.
“We love collaborating with our developer community and bringing them new innovative technologies that enable them to build the next great generation of apps,” said Susan Prescott, vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing by Apple. “With powerful new APIs for lock screen widgets, new services like WeatherKit, the availability of Xcode Cloud to help every Apple developer build apps faster, and new gameplay features with Metal 3, developers have more tools than ever to create Create app experiences your users will love.”
Xcode cloud now available
Xcode Cloud is now available with a range of subscription plans to best meet the needs of developers, starting with 25 hours per month free for all Apple Developer Program members through December 2023 and up to 1,000 hours per month.
Integrated with Xcode, Xcode Cloud is a continuous integration and delivery cloud service built specifically for Apple developers. It enables developers and teams of all sizes to build, test, and deploy high-quality apps more efficiently by automatically building apps in the cloud to free up their Mac for other tasks. And with parallel testing in the cloud, developers can test on a simulated version of any current Apple device, easily deploy a build for internal testing, or deliver to beta testers via TestFlight.
Developers can learn more about available plans for Xcode Cloud here.
Xcode 14 improvements
Xcode 14 offers new enhancements to further enhance developer productivity. 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 on iOS, iPadOS, macOS and tvOS. Developer code is easier to maintain, yet highly customizable to take advantage of each platform’s unique capabilities. SwiftUI live previews are now interactive by default in Xcode, so changes are live instantly and developers can create variants of any preview without writing code, changing color scheme, text size, device orientation, or accessibility modes. The new app icon feature in the Assets Catalog allows developers to provide a single icon size for all platforms, and Xcode will automatically generate all the necessary assets for the app. Xcode includes language and editing improvements with smarter autocomplete, and additional dynamic snippets get developers faster to the code they want to write.
New gaming features
Metal 3 – the latest version of Apple’s graphics framework – has new features that allow game developers to harness the power of Apple chips for even better gaming performance. MetalFX Upscaling allows developers to quickly render complex scenes using less computationally intensive frames, and then apply high-quality spatial upscaling and temporal anti-aliasing. The result is accelerated performance that makes games feel more responsive and graphics that look stunning. Game developers also benefit from a new API for fast resource loading, which minimizes latency by providing a more direct path from memory to the GPU, allowing games to easily access high-quality textures and geometry needed to create expansive worlds for a realistic and immersive experience gameplay are required.
Game developers integrated with Game Center can now add activity views to the dashboard so their users can see what games their friends are playing and what their high scores are. And with SharePlay support, it’s easier than ever for users to play together in real time.
Improvements to Swift and SwiftUI
Swift and SwiftUI offer the best way to build an app and now have new features that streamline the development process.
Swift adds a powerful string processing capability with new regular expression support built right into the language, allowing developers to quickly check the correctness of their regular expressions and extract information with less code. With new package plugins available in the 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, Apple’s next-generation user interface framework, has an improved navigation API to make it easier for developers to control how their app moves from view to view. Custom layouts allow developers to go beyond common app layouts and create versions that work best for their app designs. And Swift Charts can be customized to fit almost any charting need, so developers can better visualize the data in their apps.
WeatherKit allows developers to bring the same best-in-class global weather forecast that powers Apple Weather right into their apps. Using high-resolution meteorological models combined with machine learning and forecasting algorithms, Apple Weather provides current weather, 10-day hourly forecasts, daily forecasts, and historical weather.1 WeatherKit is available to developers via both native Swift and REST APIs and includes 500,000 API calls per month included with an Apple Developer Program membership. Starting this fall, developers who need more can purchase additional service levels directly in the Apple Developer app.
Developers can find more information about available plans for WeatherKit here.
Privacy-focused approach to ad measurement
The SKAdNetwork API has new features designed to help ad networks and advertisers better measure how ads are performing in apps or across the web, while preserving user privacy. Hierarchical source IDs improve a developer’s ability to optimize their campaigns without increasing the risk of tracking individuals across applications. SKAdNetwork also provides hierarchical conversion metrics to give developers more information about conversions for smaller campaigns, and developers can better calculate return on ad spend by offering multiple conversions in defined time windows.
New APIs for even more powerful apps
Apple developers have more APIs than ever before to build app experiences their users will love. Some of the latest APIs available to developers are:
- Widgets on the lock screen: With iOS 16 enabling widgets on the iPhone lock screen, developers can now seamlessly share the same code between their lock screen widgets and complications on the Apple Watch, based on the same new WidgetKit API.
- live text: Developers can now offer users the ability to pull text directly from photos and videos in their apps or from a live camera feed. Live text is processed on-device to improve user privacy and performance.
- Collaboration tools: The rich collaboration features built into Messages are available to third-party apps. Developers can also highlight content that users have shared from their app in Messages in a new “Shared With You” section of their app, making it easier for recipients to refer back to that content at a later date.
- master key: Passkeys are next-generation credentials that are more secure, easier to use, and designed to work just as easily in apps as they do on the web.
- MapKit: Third-party apps may include the detailed 3D city experience and Look Around for a richer user experience. New Apple Maps Server APIs offer faster and easier Maps integrations.
- focus filter: Developers can customize the content of their apps based on the user’s current focus.
- Automatic shortcuts: Developers can now use app intents to allow their apps to be used with Siri and Shortcuts without requiring user setup.
- watchOS 9: VoIP calls are now supported with CallKit; The Share Sheet allows users to share content from their favorite app directly to iMessage and other popular messaging apps. and third-party apps can now access the Photos app with the photo picker, and even integrate with Apple TV.
- room plan: Powered by ARKit, developers can now use the LiDAR scanner on iPhone and iPad to create a 3D floor plan for a room that includes features such as dimensions and type of furniture.
- live activities: WidgetKit allows developers to keep their users updated with the latest information about an activity or event right on the lock screen.2
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple is the world leader in innovation with the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms – iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS – offer seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with groundbreaking services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are committed to making the best products in the world and leaving the world better than we found it.
- Historical weather data is not available in all regions. For feature availability, see developer.apple.com/weatherkit.
- Live activities will be available to developers later this year.
Katie Clark Alsadder
Apple Media Helpline