Apple Introduces New Frameworks and Tools for Developers, Including Xcode 12
As part of WWDC 2020 this week, Apple has introduced a series of new APIs, frameworks, and tools for developers, ranging from App Clips to Xcode 12 to a new SwiftUI API for making widgets that work across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
- App Clips: New in iOS 14, App Clips surface information from relevant apps without requiring users to download an entire app. Apple describes App Clips as a "small part" of an app designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. Once inside the App Clip, users can easily install the full app with a single tap.
- Widgets: iOS 14 features widgets that can be pinned in different sizes on any home screen page, providing useful information at a glance. For this, Apple has released a new SwiftUI API that allows developers to use the same code to build a widget for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
- Find My network accessory program: In iOS 14, the Find My app is gaining support for finding third-party products and accessories with the new Find My network accessory program. This will allow users to use the Find My app to locate non-Apple devices, complete with end-to-end encryption. A draft specification is available for accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today.
- Xcode 12: Apple's development tool has received a redesign to match macOS Big Sur. Apple says new document tabs make opening multiple files faster, while navigator fonts now match the system size, or can be set to small, medium, or large. In addition, Xcode 12 builds "macOS Universal" apps by default to support upcoming Macs with custom Apple silicon. Apple released the first beta of Xcode 12 today.
- A new StoreKit tool in Xcode lets developers simulate subscription setup, in-app purchases, and refunds directly on a Mac.
- Safari for Mac is adding support for the WebExtensions API used by Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, making it easier for extension developers to work with Safari and distribute through the Mac App Store.
- App Store now supports Family Sharing for subscriptions and in-app purchases.
- HomePod is gaining support for third-party music services.
- Users can set third-party web browser and email apps as default in iOS 14.
- Developers now have the option to detail their app's privacy practices directly in the App Store for users to review, including the types of data the app might collect, whether that data is shared with third parties, and the option for users to opt out.
Apple outlines several other new developer efforts in its press release, including the ability to "challenge" App Store Review Guidelines starting later this summer.
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