Last month, Apple revealed a number of highly anticipated products and software updates at this year’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). The 2020 event was unique in that it was streamed exclusively online with no in-person event due to continuing restrictions related to the pandemic. Regardless, the streamed event was very successful and included some exciting announcements. Here are the highlights:
iOS 14 Prioritizes Ease of Use & Personalization
Apple gave a first look at iOS 14, the new update coming to iPhones later this year. Ease of use and personalization are the primary focuses of the update with the introduction of the new App Library. Within this view, apps will be automatically organized into folders based on your most used applications, making it easier to find exactly what you are looking for. Perhaps the most notable update to the home screen, however, are the redesigned widgets that provide highly customizable, data-rich information at a glance.
Picture in picture is another feature coming to iOS 14, allowing you to keep watching videos or continue a FaceTime call while using other apps. Incoming calls will be displayed in an all-new compact design that doesn’t take up the entire screen, and even messages are receiving an update with pinned conversations for easy access.
New Tools for Developers with App Clips and WidgetKit
One of the biggest concerns whenever Apple makes major updates to iOS is how they will affect us as app developers. A number of features coming to iOS 14 this fall will have a large impact on how we can provide value to our clients.
The newly redesigned widgets will allow developers the opportunity to connect even further with end-users. These highly customizable widgets are a great way for users to get a quick look at an app’s information without having to open it. The WidgetKit framework and the new widget API for SwiftUI will allow developers to easily build widgets and make them available not only on iOS but also iPadOS and macOS.
App Clips are another great feature that will allow users to discover an application when they need it most. They are fast and lightweight and give users the ability to start and finish an experience from an app in seconds, after which they will have the opportunity to download the full app. This can be very beneficial to the discovery applications, and it may eliminate the drop-off rate that comes with users needing to visit the App Store in order to download the app.
With the many changes announced at this year’s WWDC, it is clear that Apple’s latest features will be beneficial to both developers and users alike. I am excited to implement these features into our clients’ existing applications and to see firsthand how these updates will provide value to end-users.