As most of you will know, Apple introduced iOS 8 to developers on the first day of the WWDC on June 2nd.
The keynote presentation has been made publicly available, so we feel that we can safely discuss some of the main features of iOS 8 without overstepping the limits of the NDA.
Contracts and License Agreement - Family Sharing
First and foremost many of you will have noticed that you had to approve both a new developer license agreement and a new contract.
The license agreement contains a few changes to Apple’s rules about In-App Purchases. At Visiolink, we do not believe that any of these changes will affect any of you. If you are interested in knowing these changes, Apple is opening for the possibility of allowing In-App Purchases of virtual currencies.
The contract changes could be of interest to some of you. Apple is introducing what they call ‘Family Sharing.' This allows you to tie several Apple accounts together so that they may share purchased content.
Today you can already use the same account on multiple devices, but if the account is also being used for private e-mail, etc. then this may not be very practical. With Family Sharing up to six ‘accounts’ may be tied together.
When they are tied together purchases from one account are available on other accounts as well.
Most of you have free apps, so here it will have no direct effect, but we believe that this will affect In-App Purchases as well. We suspect that this will allow one family member to purchase a newspaper subscription and allow another family member to restore that subscription on a device with another account.
In the contract, Apple is asking you whether you want to allow this form of sharing - and whether you will only provide it for the future or also for already purchased apps. It is, of course, entirely up to you what you choose.
Ok, now on to one of the bigger announcements for us developers:
Swift - an entirely new and modern programming language
Apple has for the past four years been working on a new programming language in complete secrecy. The introduction of Swift was a complete surprise - and for us developers this looks extremely promising. The new language has all the constructs one would expect from a modern programming language - and Apple has built the language with their Frameworks and iOS/OSX platforms in mind, so many aspects of the language ties nicely into the platform.
What will this mean for you? Well, not a whole lot. For starters the new language sets a limitation on what version of iOS we can target, so, for example, an app made with Swift would not be available on iOS 5. We are, of course, experimenting to see where it may become of use - and we do have many ideas for how to leverage the features of the language when targeting later versions of iOS. For the app itself, there should not be many changes - but some parts of the code will get a speedup just by using the new language, and the language is also designed to prevent certain types of programming errors.
We look forward to discovering more about the new language, and we are naturally focussing on how we can use it to improve your apps.