Our favourite WWDC 2015 announcements

At Shape we are always out of this world excited for what Apple reveals during its yearly developer conference WWDC. This was actually the first time in 5 years that I wasn't lucky enough to get a ticket and go the conference in San Francisco. But luckily Apple has started live streaming many of the sessions so we could follow it from the office in Copenhagen.

As usual we threw a BBQ party for all the iOS developers and geeks in Copenhagen to celebrate the keynote. Almost 100 people came by the office to drink beer, talk Apple and watch the keynote together. Following the keynote some people might have gone home feeling a little disappointed that Apple did not introduce the Apple Car, the rumoured Apple TV or something equally revolutionary. But we were actually quite happy with most of the things Apple did announce and here is a list of the 6 things that excites us the most.

Swift will be open source
Apple's new programming language already has us pretty excited, but the fact that it's going to be open source and now seems close to production ready, made us all electric. With Swift being open-sourced and the standard library ported to Linux it will just be a matter of time before we see a number of new web frameworks appear on Github. And maybe someone will try to port it to Android?

Automated User Interface Testing
Automated testing has always been hard on iOS and most of the bugs we see in production are related to the UI or integration related and would be really hard to cover with unit tests. Existing UI test platforms were never reliable for iOS and it has been a hassle to write tests, but now it seems like automated UI testing could be as easy as recording a usage flow in the iPhone simulator. We can't wait to start using this new technology in Xcode 7 and include it with our Continous Integration (CI).

Watch apps can now do much more and run way faster
After using the Apple watch daily for more than a month and having developed a few apps for it we have realized how big the impact it can have on the way people use technology, but also how limited the apps developers can make for watchOS 1 are. Now with Apple watchOS 2, apps will run on the actual device and not from the iPhone and this gives a huge advantage. Apps can now also take advantage of hardware features such as the digital crown, the heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and microphone.

The iPad will be able to do multitasking
Watching Netflix while working on the iPad will be huge and running apps side by side with split view will make the iPad so much more useful for real world work. Hopefully many apps will choose to support this feature and it will likely enable a whole breed of new productivity apps.

Apps can integrate with Spotlight search
Finally 3rd party apps can integrate with Spotlight and have its content be indexed. Spotlight can even present search results from apps the user has not installed yet and hence also works as a new way for users to discover apps.

HomeKit is getting serious
Apple introduced HomeKit last year, but IoT products supporting the technology are still not in the hands of consumers. However, it seems like it is just a matter of weeks before we will see that happen and with HomeKit in iOS 9 users will be able to control devices and configure workflows even when away from home. Integrating apps with physical hardware products always excites us so we really welcome the innovation here.

15 Jun 2015