What Apple's September Announcements Might Mean for Developers
While Apple announcements are exciting, they're more often user focused than dev focused. Still, we'll do our best to peel back that lid and find out what this means for developers.
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Somehow, an Apple event, even one where we knew most of what was due to be announced beforehand, still generates excitement and anticipation like no other. Even I can't resist casting a casual eye to see what rumors they will announce. Mostly because typically someone in Berlin arranges an event where we all drink a lot and laugh at the over the top production of American events. I digress, what did Apple announce, and what does it mean to developers and other tech-minded people.
No Macs, No iPads
Starting with what Apple didn't announce. Despite many rumors or hopes, Apple did not announce a new MacBook Air, or further cement the Mac in a concrete coffin with new iPads. To be honest, I don't remember that many Apple events where they did announce multiple hardware series at the same event, so I'm not sure why people keep expecting it. These devices may come soon, and they might not, only Apple knows.
Phones, So Many Phones
Apple didn't announce an iPhone, but announced three iPhones, with perhaps the strangest series of model names since the dark days of the 90s and models like the "Macintosh Quadra 840AV". We have the following, all with their own configuration options.
The iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS which are updates to last years iPhone X. Between them you can choose capacity up to a whopping 512GB, a screen size up to 6.5", and a wide variety of other hardware features you can read about in more detail.
Alongside these two phones is the iPhone XR, a cheaper alternative to the 'S' range, but with some features that are better than the XS, so it's a bit unclear where it fits into the range.
All this means that for developers, there's now suddenly a lot more devices and specifications to target. While Apple's XCode helps, and it's a far cry from the fragmentation of Android, it's a messier experience than iOS devs are typically used to. And in addition to the new models, the iPhone 7 and 8 are also still available, adding even more models to support.
Most interestingly for developers, the phones include the new A12 Bionic (another great name), that offers a lot for anyone developing machine learning, augmented reality or media-heavy applications.
Alongside the myriad of phone announcements was the Apple Watch Series 4 with new sizes and sensors that offer developers (and health-conscious users) new opportunities. Sitting on top of these sensors is watchOS 5 that brings new enriched complications, interactive notifications, access to the Siri watch face, audio controls, and more. For developers, this release was one of the more exciting announcements, and more details are available in the Apple developer center.
For all newer versions of their operating systems, Apple announced Core ML, a framework that allows developers to introduce trained machine learning models into your apps.
And One Final Note
While it often comes as a surprise to many, Apple is a consumer company, always has been, and always will be. Power users (including developers) weren't given a lot in this announcement, but lurking beneath the surface of the big announcements were a couple of nuggets for developers. In many ways this has always been the way that Apple has done things, often their best features are hidden behind the scenes.
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