Apple announces new tools, features, and more for developers

Wwdc (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has announced new software as well as new developer tools to go with it.
  • This being a developer conference, Apple has outlined new tools for the most important people in the App Store.

Apple announced a ton of new software updates today and they all need new tools to allow developers to do what they need to if they want to make great apps. Apple spent time going into those tools during the WWDC opening event.

Apple announced Object Capture, allowing the creation of a 3D image using a collection of 2D images – something that could be a huge deal for specific developers. You'll be able to take photos on an iPhone or iPad and then generate a real 3D model using your Mac.

RealityKit 2 introduces Object Capture, a simple and powerful API on macOS Monterey that enables developers — like Wayfair, Etsy, and more — to create high-quality, photo-realistic 3D models of real-world objects in minutes by taking photos shot on iPhone, iPad, or DSLR and transforming them into 3D models optimized for AR. These models can be viewed in AR Quick Look or added to AR scenes in Reality Composer or Xcode, making it easier than ever to build amazing AR apps. Developers like Maxon and Unity are using Object Capture to unlock entirely new ways of creating 3D content within some of the leading 3D content creation apps, such as Cinema 4D and Unity MARS.

Apple also announced that the majority of the top 1,000 apps in the App Store are built using Swift. Concurrency improvements mean that apps will work better when in the background and they'll even take full advantage of modern devices with multiple processors and cores. Apple also promises that apps are easier, after, and quicker than ever before.

Apple also took the opportunity to talk about the App Store, saying there are 600 million weekly visitors across 175 countries and regions. App product ages are going to be tailored for different users to ensure the best content for the right person is displayed.

A top-requested feature among developers, Apple is introducing new product page tools that offer developers greater flexibility and new ways to connect with users right in the App Store. Custom Product Pages let developers showcase different features of their app for different users, while Product Page Optimization gives developers the ability to test different screenshots, preview videos, and even app icons. With rich, privacy-friendly analytics in App Store Connect, developers can see what their users like most and make the best decisions for their product pages.

Excitingly, Xcode Cloud will allow apps to be built in the cloud, rather than on local machines. It could be a huge boon for those working in distributed teams, with builds automatically committed to the cloud for testing. TesFlight support is also built-in, all from the cloud. Source cold is only used in a temporary build environment to ensure privacy and security. The whole Xcode Cloud situation will be available in limited beta this year with all developers getting in on the act next year. We don't know anything about price, though.

Xcode Cloud is a new continuous integration and delivery cloud service designed specifically for Apple developers. Built into Xcode 13, Xcode Cloud offers a fast and simple way for developers and teams of all sizes to build, test, and deliver high-quality apps even more efficiently. Xcode Cloud can automatically build apps in the cloud to free up developers' Macs for other tasks. Parallel testing in the cloud means developers can test on a simulated version of every current Apple device, then easily deploy a build of the app for internal testing, or deliver to external beta testers through TestFlight for instant feedback.

TestFlight is coming to the Mac, finally. You'll get the same features of the TestFlight iPhone and iPad apps and it will be easier to ship betas to users than currently the case.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.