Swag Soft attended its first WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference) in June 2016 and the event proved to be an eye-opening experience. Over the span of a week, there were more than 100 sessions available for developers to attend, each introducing new technologies or concepts set to arrive in the near future. We cannot quite possibly cover all the sessions, but have highlighted a few in our blog which we found quite memorable and interesting.
Here is a quick coverage.
Ever since it was introduced as an open source project, Swift has quickly become one of the fastest growing programming languages ever. Now, after listening in to scores of ideas and suggestions by Swift’s vast fan base, Apple came up with Swift 3, the next evolution of the Swift project. However, as a new language, there will definitely be more changes to the APIs over the course of time.
In a big push to get non-programmers as well as children to start learning Swift, Apple has also introduced Swift Playgrounds for iPad, a free app to be released in a few months’ time. One of the key selling point for Playgrounds is having standard lessons integrated into the app, allowing users to view their coding results instantly and hence, making learning much more fun and interactive. Besides being a learning tool, the app also allows third parties to create their own teaching elements in the form of Playground Books.
WatchOS3 not only gets a design overhaul but also a big performance boost. The speeds for launching the app and updating background data have significantly increased. Custom animations can now also be created on the OS.
Xcode 8, to be launched in a few months time, will include new and better developers’ tools to make their life easier when it comes to programming. The Interface Builder now allows interaction with the elements without the need to be at 100% zoom level. Before this was introduced, working with Interface Builder can get challenging over time when more screens are added. This usually requires the developer to zoom in at a closer level to manipulate the assets and the frustration happens when they can’t be interacted with. However, with the new Xcode, this pain is now over.
iOS 10 introduces many new exciting features. Messaging is much more fun now as emojis are larger in size and new features allows for a more expressive way to bring messages across such as having animated messages. Another feature worth mentioning is the SiriKit, that allows developers to access the voice activated functions within the devices to create unique applications.
To stay in line with the Apple TV, iPhone and iWatch platforms known as tvOS, iOS and watchOS respectively, the latest Mac platform has been renamed macOS Sierra. One of the key feature in Sierra is the introduction of Siri that works in a similar fashion as the other platforms. Apple Pay is also integrated to allow for a much smoother experience when it comes to online shopping. The Universal Clipboard is another cool feature for users that own multiple Apple devices. With Universal Clipboard, a user can cut and paste from one device to another seamlessly without any additional steps.
Haben Girma – Disabling Disability
Although Haben Girma suffered from disabilities, that did not stop her from becoming the first deaf and blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. She was also conferred the title of White House Champion of Change, Forbes 30 under 30 leader and BBC Women of Africa Hero. In her presentation, Haben spoke about creating apps for people like herself. Interestingly, she felt that the trick to creating such an app was to not build it to cater especially to the disabled. While this may sound counter-intuitive, she felt that app developers should simply focus on the incorporation of universal access principles and that should transcend any handicap. It was an inspiring moment witnessing somebody like Haben deliver her presentation with confidence and strength. It was clear that her disability will never stop her from achieving whatever she wanted to achieve.
Ginette Hemley – Saving Endangered Animals With Tech
Ginette Hemley is the SVP of Wildlife Conservation at WWF, an organisation known for saving wildlife animals. In her talk, she shared amazing videos of how endangered animals were being saved from the wild to prevent their extinction and to ensure that our future generations can continue to appreciate their existence. Organisations like WWF have started to tap into technologies to help meet the cause of saving animals. This includes coming up with innovative apps to engage communities as well as utilizing high tech drones and cameras to study animal behaviour and catch poachers. A soul-stirring moment happened when the audience was shown a video of the black rhino relocation exercise taking place through airlifting techniques. This incredible process involves carefully sedating the animal before airlifting it in a helicopter that will be flown for miles to a more conducive habitat for black rhinos to live in.
Amit Narayanan – Breaking Down Communication Barriers Amongst Children with Disabilities
Ted Speaker, Ajit Narayanan is an avid inventor. In his speech, he spoke of how one of his inventions called Avaz, has helped to break down communication barriers amongst children with disabilities in India. After rounds of iterations, Avaz evolved into Freespeech, an app that earned Ajit an award from the President of India. It consists of intricate algorithms represented by pictures that can miraculously translate messages across to not only between the disabled and non-disabled but also to people with different language barriers. While Ajit has invented many things, the guiding principles of what he has been trying to do remain the same. He claims that language can be beautiful and hence, he has clearly devoted his time into perfecting it.
Bill Rosemann – With Greater Powers Come Greater Responsibilities
Bill Roseanne, Creative Director of Marvel Games took an interesting approach in his presentation on how he, as a young kid was a comic book fanatic. He introduced a few of his ‘special friends’ that helped made him what he was today. They turned out to be popular Marvel heroes we are all familiar with. He spoke about the significance of these characters and how they were often created to convey a message. Yet, at times, this could result in some controversy. Marvel had always wanted readers to recognize that the controversies did not take away the fact that these characters had great powers. And with their great powers also came great responsibilities. Since most of the audience at the WWDC conference were programmers, Bill’s message to them was similar, “With the great ability to code, a developer has the responsibility to always aim to create meaningful applications that can change the world.”
Swag Soft is a trusted game developer and mobile app developer based in Singapore. We have helped companies such as Toyota, BMW, Caltex, Philips Morris, government bodies and many other SMEs build their mobile apps and games. Please drop us an email at [email protected] to find out how we can help you with your project.