Every summer, the majority of Apple users gauge their excitement about the progress of the Apple ecosystem based on the hardware the company occasionally unveils at its WWDC event — though there was none in 2021 — and the new software features that are announced to power the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and other products.
there’s another subtext to WWDC that often makes larger — albeit quieter — waves across the oceans of Apple platforms.
Every WWDC brings a toolbox of new toys for software developers and app-makers, and these eventually result in more robust apps that eventually make these devices even more useful.
Whatever your favorite apps are — from YouTube to Uber to Cash App to Waze to Zoom; — they often have become invaluable based on new technologies, tools or capabilities that Apple made available to app builders.
And 2021 has brought some huge new developments for coders; — including one that could drive massive efficiencies in the way software and apps are built for Apple devices.
CNET spoke with Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of worldwide developer relations, and Andreas Wendker; Apple’s vice president of tools and frameworks engineering; about the big focus on new tools for developers in 2021.
It’s also important to remember that this comes at a time when Apple has faced a tremendous level of scrutiny over its relationship with developers.
It’s being examined by lawmakers and regulators in the US and abroad.
In Washington, legislators are considering a half-dozen bills that would overhaul antitrust to scrutinize big tech companies, including Apple.
Plus, Apple is still awaiting judgment in the lawsuit brought by Fortnite-maker Epic Games; which argued that Apple holds monopoly power over its App Store and unfairly takes money from developers.
Tools that make app building more approachable continue to be a key focus for Apple; especially related to the advances in Swift Playgrounds.
“Our feeling is every kid should have exposure to learning to code; not because every kid is going to become a coder; but because the world around us is fueled by code,” said Prescott.
“We’re going to help as many people as we can in as many walks of life as possible; from as many communities and cultures as possible, to learn to code.”
At WWDC, Apple announced that Swift Playgrounds will no longer be just for learning how to code; but you’ll be able to build iPhone and iPad apps directly in Swift Playgrounds and deploy them to the App Store.
“All these advances in tools and technologies are the result of a vision that we’ve been executing on for years,” said Wendker.
“They’re really the result of a never-ending focus on our side to build long-lasting platforms that create lots of value for developers and users.”
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