Apple Finalizes iOS and Tasks Developers to Prep Apps

Apple this week released the Golden Master of iOS 11, watchOS 4.0, and tvOS 11. These penultimate builds mean Apple's yearly platform updates are nearly done. Devs need to be aware of some important changes to the code base. Further, Apple wants to see some ARKIt augmented reality apps ready by September 19.

Apple held its annual iPhone event in Cupertino, Calif., on September 12, during which it showed off lots of new hardware. There's plenty to get excited about with respect to the new iPhones. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus pick up where last year's 7 and 7 Plus left off with new glass backs and wireless charging. The iPhone X, however, garnered the most attention. This brand new handset has a dramatically altered screen size and ratio, and all sorts of fancy features including Face ID biometric security. As much fun as it is to drool over Apple's new gear, developers have everything they need now to wrap up their apps ahead of iOS 11, which Apple will distribute to everyone starting in a week.

First, I must point out that Apple has not updated any of the APIs or SDKs since it first revealed iOS 11 in June. All the tools it released back then still apply, including the MusicKit API, the Core ML API, and the ARKit API. The same goes for watchOS 4.0 and tvOS 11. One of the biggest changes buried within iOS 11 is the upgrade to 64-bit computing. iOS has supported 64-bit computing for years, and until now, it has supported both 32-bit and 64-bit. With iOS 11, however, Apple is making the permanent jump to 64-bit. That means all your apps need to be updated to reflect this change. Apps left in 32-bit configurations will no longer be compatible with the App Store and will find themselves delisted. Definitely get on that if you haven't already. 

Apple made sure to give ARKit plenty of attention during its iPhone event. Several developers were given stage time and showed off some incredible AR-based games that blend reality with animations. The fledgling augmented reality platform promises to push AR far and wide to iPhone users around the world. In fact, Apple goes so far as to claim that iOS will soon become the world's largest AR platform. (Google might have an opinion about that.) 

At least one vendor is prepared to jump into the AR ring with Apple. Progress this week detailed its own NativeScript, which lets developers impement augmented reality and virtual reality whether or not they are native iOS developers. Progress says the goal with NativeScript is to "make it easier for business app develipers to include AR in their apps without any native SDK or 3D moedling skills required." NativeScript targets both iOS 11 and Google's Android 8 Oreo platforms. Progress says NativeScript is an API wrapped for both Apple's ARKIt and Google's ARCore. It hooks into the APIs from Apple and Google via JavaScript and lets developers create AR content that will work on Android and iOS. Developers can suddenly target nearly every phone on the planet with AR. Progress says the NativeScript AR plugin for iOS and Android is open source and available via GitHub.

If you're a registered Apple developer, you should already be able to download the GM seeds of iOS 11, watchOS 4.0, and tvOS 11. Apple is still finalizing macOS Sierra 10.13, which isn't quite ready yet. Apple will make its three mobile platforms available to smartphones, smartwatches, and telvisions boxes on September 19. 
 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.
 

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