Everything an iOS Developer Should Know About iOS 12
New Apple iOS update was introduced at the WWDC 2018 that took place in San Jones on June 4. The company positions WWDC as an event for software announces, but it was not only so. This year Apple focused only on it's software, announcing the powerful improvements of already existing products and adding new iOS features that can ease the process of mobile development.
The introduction of new Apple operating system is of a great importance for every iOS developer, so we decided to highlight the most important innovations for developers.
List of iOS 12 features
This year the company paid a close attention to enhancing it's already existing products and fixing bugs, so now we get the improved UX. Here we have several innovations.
Earlier the tech giant stated that the stability will be in the spotlight of WWDC 2018. With the arrival of new operating system Apple gadgets, even the old ones, are expected to be more responsive. Using iPhone 6 Plus to demonstrate improvements, Fedherigi stated the following:
- camera opens 70% faster;
- keyboard responds 50% faster;
- apps launch 40% faster.
One of the most long-awaited new iOS update features has finally arrived! Notifications from a single app are now grouped together. To see all notifications from one group, users need to tap on the 'leading' one. By default, they are grouped by app, but you can change it by giving specific notifications thread IDs.
New iOS allows grouping notifications
Also, there's a new mode called Deliver Quietly. It makes notifications appear on the Notification Centre without interrupting user by alerts. It is a reason for you to think carefully through the notification frequency. Make them pop up only in urgent moments and not to be annoying or user will get rid of them.
Apple also announced more interactions with users through notifications. There are two main changes in Notification Content Extension that allow customizing the appearance of notifications by adding different switches or buttons.
Other Apple iOS update features
- iPhone gestures for iPad. Several gestures from iPhone X were added to iPad. So now iPad owners can swipe up on the Dock if they want to get to the Home Screen. To get to the Control Centre, iPad owners now can swipe from the top-right corner.
- Turning Sticker Packs into Effects. With the arrival of iOS 12, you can turn your Sticker Packs and images from iMessage into Effects.
- Automatic Updates. In case you don't want to update your iPhone every time the new Apple operating system is released, you can toggle an option for automatic updates.
- Introduction of Portrait Segmentation API. This API can separate layers in a photo, i.e., foreground and background.
What about iOS 12 security?
Apple is taking steps to protect user's data from being stolen, so they announced a couple of essential security enhancement.
In case your application has two-step authentication, this feature will come in handy. Previously, to log into 2FA-app users had to memorize or copy the code from SMS. With the help of the new authentication feature, security codes from SMS will appear in the Quick Tap bar. ASWebAuthenticationSession class allows sharing passwords between an app and relative site opened in Safari.
Automatic Strong Password
For developers of third-party password managers, there is also good news. Now they can integrate Password Manager API that enables users to fill in their passwords in a single tap. Passwords can also be quickly shared from iOS device to nearby Apple products, including Apple TV and Mac.
Password Autofill in the first iOS 12 developer beta
New iOS software saves all passwords to iCloud Keychain. Users can manage them but only after the authentication via Touch ID or Face ID.
Facebook data scandal made a lot of companies think through enhancing their security system. This year Apple introduced strengthened Intelligent Tracking Prevention for it's browser. Now Safari blocks ad-trackers and Facebook's 'Share' and 'Like' buttons.
Safari gives only simplified data about user's device. It means that from the iOS update, websites cannot collect data about plugins, configurations and other information that can be used to track users' activity.
USB Restricted Mode
One small but useful security measure was added to the beta version for developers. USB Restricted Mode blocks access for USB if your iPhone was locked for an hour. This feature was created to protect users not just from criminals but from police and spies and make devices like Celebritte useless while trying to crack iPhone.
New capabilities for developers
New Apple iOS opens up a wide range of new opportunities and tools for developers. Let's take a look at what was introduced.
The existence of such competitors as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant forces Apple to pay close attention to Siri. At WWDC 2018, Apple introduced a new feature called Siri Shortcuts.
With it's help, Siri carefully analyzes all actions made by a user in your app. After that, it will predict shortcuts and suggest them to a user in Lock Screen and Spotlight search. Also, users can make shortcuts by themselves by using Shortcuts app. Good thing is that Siri can do several tasks with one voice command.
The interface of Siri Shortcuts app
For instance, you have an app that lets users order pizza and get it delivered to your home. Imagine that a customer has installed your application and every Friday at 6 PM they order pizza via it. Siri analyzes this information and the next Friday at 6 PM it will create a notification on Lock Screen suggesting the user ordering pizza with a few taps. If the user really needs this shortcut, they can add a voice command for it. For instance, to order pepperoni pizza on your app, the user can say 'It's time for pepperoni' and Siri will do it.
But before Siri suggests shortcuts for your app to user, there are actions need to be done from your side. Developers should 'donate' shortcuts available for their apps. Siri Shortcut app expects to arrive this fall, so developers should use Workflow app to try out a new function.
The new iOS beta released on June 19 has brought a new function which enables users to turn off Siri Suggestions for a particular app.
The company opens it's Health Records API for software developers. Now it is possible to build a personalized health app tailored to customer's health history.
But what about security? As Apple claims, all information is encrypted on user's iPhone and passcode protected. In case users share their health records with your app, this information is not stored on Apple's servers. It makes it impossible for third-parties to get user's information.
Apple announced the arrival of the second version of ARKit that was first announced at the last year's conference. ARKit 2 is expected to become a powerful tool for developing AR apps and games. The first thing to consider is a multiplayer mode that allows two or more people interact with each other in the same application or game simultaneously using different devices. Shared experience takes AR apps to a whole new level.
ARKit 2.0 brings shared experience
Another latest iOS update feature option is a persistent tracking. It means that all 3D objects you've put to the virtual world will stay there. Other players also have an opportunity to spectacle the game or interact with created objects. The company also added persistent tracking feature. Users can safely quit the game and then resume it from the last point.
The previous version of ARKit has enabled 2D objects detection and the ARKit 2 goes further. Along with an enhanced system of 2D detection, Apple gives an opportunity to detect 3D objects of different shapes and sizes. It helps detect sculptures, furniture, toys and so forth.
The company also introduced USDZ file format. It stands for Universal Scene Description and enables programmes to share their AR objects with each other via multiple platforms. Created together with Pixar, this format will soon be adapted to the number of popular products. Now Apple wants Adobe to add USDZ support to Creative Cloud products.
Measure app is the last but not the least improvement. Users have already tried it out in the iOS 12 developer beta. You can measure objects automatically or manually. First, a user should define the start point and then held a camera to the end point. Measure application will automatically measure the distance between them. Or just put the camera on a rectangular object and the application will automatically recognize the shape of the object and measure it.
On the stage Federighi demonstrated how Measure app works
Core ML 2
Core ML SDK debuted at WWDC 2017, and now we have the Core ML 2. Now developers can try the power of machine learning with better efficiency. What has changed in the last year?
- As it was stated at the WWDC, it works 30% faster because of batch prediction;
- The size of models shrunk up to 75%;
- Core ML 2 supports all level of quantization;
- Models can be easily updated at runtime from cloud services like MS Azure or AWS.
Apple also released Create ML, a new GPU-accelerated tool that makes it easy for developers to create and train their own learning models. After your model is done, you can integrate it to your mobile app using Core ML.
To make creating AI even easier, Apple released Natural Language framework. It deals with a wide range of natural language processing tasks. For instance, tokenization, tagging parts of speech, lemmatization, etc.
The arrival of Google's cross-platform ML Kit may force Apple to make more powerful improvements for their machine learning SDK.
iOS 12 CarPlay
Good news for those who develop map apps! Apple's CarPlay will support third-party navigation apps. CarPlay framework will facilitate the process of integrating navigation apps to CarPlay.
As for music apps that are already supported by CarPlay, Apple improved performance and made animations smoother.
Apple upgraded CarPlay!
A new framework to make porting easy
iOS devices and Macs are getting closer every year. At this year's conference, Apple announced that they are working on a new framework for porting iOS apps to macOS. This framework is still in development but Apple promises to release it in 2019.
From time to time the company adds some APIs to the list of deprecations. It means that the APIs in the list should no longer be used by iOS developers. This year the OpenGL ES was added to this list. It still will run on iOS 12 but developers are told to stop using it. In case you develop graphics-intensive software or games, Apple recommends using Metal.
iOS 12 compatibility and release date
As always, we can expect iOS 12 release in fall. The first developer beta arrived on 4 June. On June 19 Apple introduced the second developer beta. And finally, on June 25 the company introduced the public beta of iOS 12.
But Apple warns you that using beta versions may be risky, so it is recommended to make a backup and not to use it on your main phone. Below we listed all iOS 12 compatible devices.
Since it is only a beta version of iOS 12, we can expect Apple to have more great iOS update features up in it's sleeves. Anyway, if you want to integrate already introduced innovations into your app, contact us and our developers will help you with it. You also can subscribe to our newsletter in order not to miss the latest news from the IT industry.