WWDC 2014Monday, June 9, 2014
I wasn’t expecting much this year.
It had become sort of a tradition: The handful of things that were always on everybody’s WWDC wishlist that never arrived. The disappointment was not so much in not getting those things, but in knowing it would be a full year before you even got another chance.
This year, we got what we asked for. Not everything, certainly. I still don’t have a pony. But Apple announced many of the things we’ve been wanting for years. And not because they “finally caved”, but because those things were finally ready.
So here, in more or less the order they showed up in the Keynote, are the things I’m most excited about:
An OS X release named after a Warner Bros. character! How could I not be excited about that?
The design looks nice. I’m not sure about the transparency, because you never know if something like that will be done well, but we’ll see. I’m glad they went with an evolution of the current design, rather than a complete rework. And I’m excited to try the dark theme.
iCloud Drive is unlikely to replace Dropbox for most people, but it will be great to have that kind of access to our iCloud files.
They had an impressive demo for Continuity, but that’s one of those features that has to work near flawlessly for people to use it. If it only works sometimes, or it’s slow, people will go back to their old habits of sending stuff back and forth manually.
Interactive notifications is a great feature. I hope a lot of apps adopt it quickly (looking at you, Due).
Just the week before, I had been thinking about what we were going to do in a few years when our kids are old enough to have their own iOS devices. Family Sharing is a welcome solution. Only thing I haven’t heard yet is whether iTunes Match will be included.
I love that all my photos can be in iCloud, and the new iCloud price tiers. The $0.99 tier is a no brainer, and I wouldn’t hesitate to jump to the next level if I need the space.
I’ve heard some people suggest that app bundles will cause the price of apps to drop even lower. I see it being very useful in a variety of situations. If you can bundle iPhone and iPad apps together then it would be a better solution than universal apps. You would be able to sell, say, the iPhone version for $1.99, the iPad version for $2.99, and the bundle for $3.99. Users will get smaller app downloads and not have to pay extra for platforms they don’t own.
I have mixed feelings about TestFlight. Beta testing based on Apple IDs rather than devices, and distribution through the App Store is fantastic. But having to go through a beta app review could be a deal-breaker. We’ll see.
I’m probably most excited about extensions. There are a lot of ways I could use this with Shoots & Leaves. So many, in fact, I’m not sure where to begin. And I can’t wait to see how some of my favorite apps use it.
Similarly, the new camera APIs and PhotoKit should be useful for me as well. CloudKit too, though I haven’t dug in enough to see if I can use it the way I want.
I’m seeing a lot of people playing with Swift already, and it looks like a great new language. It’ll take some getting used to, but the new tools they introduced with it should make it easy to learn.
I don’t think it was mentioned in the keynote, but that fact that embedded webviews will now be as fast as Safari is a significant change. This will affect my day job quite a bit.
And probably the most important change, is the one that makes it possible for us to discuss all the others: the changes to the NDA. It’s exciting to see people publicly discussing all the new stuff. I think this will have a huge affect on adoption of all the new APIs.
This is going to be a busy summer and an exciting year for all iOS and Mac developers. I can’t wait to see what we do.