With over 2 million apps available in the App Store supported by substantial revenue, the challenge for Apple is keeping users interested in the necessity of apps. However, in 2018 that is no small task. It seems the company would rather offer new iPhones and iPads every year, even though Android devices continue to outsell them.
With many tech companies generating their own apps in-house and outside of Apple’s control, not to mention the continuing evolution of Android phones and apps, the landscape for iOS app developers
could use a change. Apple is highly aware of this fact, and that’s probably why the company has given more tools and support to developers than ever before, even to the point of focusing its efforts more fervently on augmented reality apps that can run on iOS devices.
One of the ways Apple is helping to keep interest high with its app offerings is by making better tools available to the iOS app developer community. One of these tools, ARKit, is used in the development of augmented reality elements for apps.
Apple just released its latest version, ARKit 2, this month during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). This release is the precursor to the release of iOS 12, scheduled for a Fall 2018 release. One of the highlights of the new iOS will be its better functionality with AR apps.
Released in 2014 along with Apple’s open source iOS code, Swift has made huge inroads for developers to write better apps. Now with Swift 4
, released in May 2018, Apple claims that iOS app development will become faster, more secure, and more stable. Additionally, Apple purports that Swift is better for developers for the following reasons:
- Swift is easier to learn and faster with its search algorithms.
- It creates a safe environment for writing code.
- Swift comes with a feature called Playgrounds, which allows developers to write their code then execute it immediately, allowing a speedier test environment.
- Swift can now be used on Linux and Android.
- Swift 4 allows apps to be compiled in more compact binary files, which decreases an app’s size, possibly saving as much as 3 MBs of space.
Managed Memory in Swift
With Objective-C, developers had to closely monitor each attribute of their code, specifically memory allocation. With the latest version of Swift, variables, integers, and arrays are all managed automatically. This makes development safer not only for experienced developers but for those who may have little to no development experience.
Swift 4 is now safer and faster is Xcode. Another set of free developer tools for creating apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Xcode together with Swift makes app development simpler. Apple states that Xcode is similar to Visual Studio, which is used to create applications for Windows.
Anyone Can Develop Apps
While Apple prides itself on quality control and supports its experienced developer community, the company is also open to innovation. That is why it freely distributes Swift, Xcode, and keeps its software open source as well. These points are key to how iOS app development can and should change with the company listening to its developers, its users, and its customers.
Despite this approach, there are those who might argue against this viewpoint. Doesn’t this open iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to the potential of being exposed to malicious code? Possibly or possibly not.
Most of the apps new developers write are relatively simple and created independently. No would want to pay a yearly fee to sell an app if his or her only intention was to cause instability in the platform.
The truth is, even experienced developers have to start somewhere, and Apple believes that anyone could have great ideas for apps
, even if they don’t know how to code. Hence, the reason for the company’s backing of newer technologies they see as viable, such as augmented reality for its iOS devices.
Better, faster, and more stable apps can translate to higher amounts of downloaded apps and more revenue for the company. Apple share of each app sale can add-up quickly so it is in the company’s best interest to remain open to ideas from the people who use their devices and software. True innovation doesn’t happen in a box.