6 June 2017
The 5th of June marked Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) and as previous years have demonstrated, it provides Apple with a chance to demo its latest SDK updates, the newest iOS, and update a series of product line ups with spec enhancements. Looking beneath the hood, we think Apple may be onto something with their iOS 11 SDKs. This is why we are excited by what Apple failed to mention at WWDC - and why it is predominantly a developer conference.
The 5th of June marked Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) and as previous years have demonstrated, it provides Apple with a chance to demo its latest SDK updates, the newest iOS, and update a series of product line ups with spec enhancements.
For any one who watched the 2.5 hour event, the “biggest” news is apparently the HomePod – a new home speaker to supposedly rival that of the Echo. However as a developer, I came away from the event more excited by what Apple failed to mention yet released behind the scenes.
Soon after the event, Apple’s websites were updated: and not just their consumer facing shop-front. Over at the developer portal, details of Apple’s newest iOS SDKs were released and this is what is more exciting.
Apple has been criticised by not being innovative enough recently
Firstly, to the embarrassment compared with Android, NFC is finally an interactive hardware input which can be used to read NFC tags with the newest iPhone 7 devices. Having worked on several app projected including ‘Thyngs’ for both iOS and Android, it will be great to bring iOS up to speed with the Android counterpart – offering a consistent user experience and functionality regardless of platform. However this isn’t ground breaking nor is NFC ‘new’.
The real fun comes from three of Apples new SDKs:
So you may be thinking “why are these so important”? So let me break it down. Firstly, Apple’s new Vision SDK allows developers to see more of the world around them thanks to intelligent computer vision libraries that are easily integrated with iOS apps. This will empower developers to build apps that can ‘see’ the world around them in far more detail and clarity than what was previously possible.
When combined with Apple’s machine learning tools, it is possible to train apps to ‘look’ for certain objects in the real world. For example, Shazam could expand its ‘music track recognition’ to now recognise films, TV shows or adverts. Instead of having to search, the Amazon app could bookmark a TV show simply by pointing the camera at a commercial – as it is now able to recognise what is playing. Or a food app could visualise a restaurant meal and build up a shopping list of ingredients for you to go purchase so you can cook the same meal at home.
However the final SDK is where I think things will really kick-off. Augmented reality is a buzz word at the moment, however when empowered by vision and machine learning, the options of what developers could achieve are limitless. During the WWDC event itself, we saw demos of children playing with Lego without any bricks in front of them. We saw a scripted Peter Jackson AR movie in real time allowing you to zoom in, out, and pan around the action as it happens around you. We also saw the ability to place virtual furniture on a table and adjust the lighting.
As was mentioned, think of the possibilities for the likes of IKEA – being able to design your room with intelligent spacial aware AR that now only scales the furniture correctly, but it also recognises your existing furniture to recommend alternative complimentary products from their range.
Apple’s only innovative thanks to their loyal developer following and the apps they create
Apple has been criticised by not being innovative enough recently. However by looking under the hood at their software, as well as looking back at history – Apple’s only innovative thanks to their loyal developer following and the apps they create. And thanks to a new suite of tools at developers disposal, we may actually see some pretty cool apps in the next 6-9 months thanks to a lot of hard work that Apple has done behind the scenes, with little to no thanks by the media or end consumer.