To be sat in the room when the new programming language, Swift, was announced was a real privilege. But on reflection over the week this was a small part of the changing environment that Apple actually announced.
IOS8 and Yosemite OS-X are coming closer together. This is across code sharing, notifications, and the new proximity features. If you are writing an email on your phone, and think, maybe I should type this somewhere more sensible, then wander up to your Mac and it opens there and then on the screen in Mail. Saves the whole thing of sending it to yourself, and then copy / pasting into a new email That is just the start as App developers add this across Apps. No more rereading your Facebook posts.
The expansion of iMessage to compete directly with both WhatsApp (video and audio messages), and Snapchat (pictures can have an expiry time), was greeted with annoyance by both Apps, but what did they expect, everyone to stand still. Same with Notifications from Apps, with more control for the developers, and flexibility of response from the user.
Adding plug in keyboards into IOS8 is an excellent move, but the significance of this was a bit lost in the translation. The huge leap here was not in that, but how it is done. The Extensions process is a big step forward, allowing developers to provide plug-ins for Apps not just Apps. Opens up a whole new sub-App market and a lot of flexibility across suites. Extensibility in the right way.
The Universal screen control is another big step in the evolution process. We all assume bigger screens and watches are coming, and this is the way that Apple is protecting developers from the multi-footprint problem that plagues our Android developments, and really allows flexible interfaces to be quickly and safely developed across devices.
Kits – A major enhancement that has been lost in the mass of announcements in terms for future impact.
HeathKit for managing the mass of health / diet / fitness App outputs in one place with the ability to link to your medical supplier (doctor / health clinic / weight watchers / gym instructor ….). Will be a set of Apps around this globally and soon.
HomeKit which was supported by a long list of well known security, lighting, heating, lock manufacturing, automated gates vendors. Control all your home items from your Phone. When your son calls round when you are out, without his keys again, you can open the gate, turn on the lights, turn the alarm off and open the front door. (Obviously with a 15 mins delays to remind him to bring his keys next time). There will be a host of Apps in this space to link you to your house.
SpriteKit and SceneKit giving 2D and 3D access to a whole host of shapes, shades, textures physics and combination properties that let you develop games very quickly Combined with Metal, which lets you talk to the A7 chip directly, games are console speed on an iPhone / iPad and quick to develop. All you need is an idea.
Last but by no means least Swift. A new type safe programming language with a whole host of modern features, fully compatible with the older Objective-C code and libraries. Sounds daunting until you look at the tools that came with it. The Playground feature in particular is superb for learning the language, and then rapidly developing code, with instant feedback on everything you program. With the host of new debugging features, and the inherent safety of the language, developers can quickly build fast, stable, largely crash proof applications within X-Code, and still utilise their old stuff (where stability may fade a little).
Overall a huge set of announcements which I think will shift the landscape in IOS and Mac devices, and will bring a raft of new capabilities to your now SmarterPhone…..