Posted on June 7, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Apple Watch, Dev, iOS, iPadOS, Mac and macOS with 23 Comments

Apple’s WWDC 2022 keynote was notable for only one reason: it featured multiple references to new APIs (application programming interfaces) for developers. That may not sound very surprising—WWDC is, after all, a developer show—but it was unique in the recent history of the conference as Apple has historically used the keynote to market new products and services to consumers, not developers.

“We love collaborating with our developer community and providing them with new innovative technologies that enable them to build the next great generation of apps,” Apple vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing Susan Prescott said. “With powerful new APIs for widgets on the Lock Screen, new services like WeatherKit, the availability of Xcode Cloud to help every Apple developer build apps faster, and new gaming capabilities with Metal 3, developers have more tools than ever to create app experiences that their users will love.”

All that was missing was a high-level Apple executive sweating through their shirt as they ran around on a stage shouting, “APIs! APIs! APIs!” Not that the thin and fit folks that usually appear in Apple’s carefully staged appearances would ever be seen sweating, of course. Or betray an actual emotion. (I really do miss Steve Ballmer.)

New developer features announced at WWDC 2022 include:

Xcode Cloud. Described as the “continuous integration and delivery cloud service designed specifically for Apple developers, Xcode Cloud lets developers and teams build, test, and deliver apps more efficiently by automatically building them in the cloud. This new service is now available via several different plans. You can learn more here.

Xcode 14 improvements. Apple is not upgrading Xcode to a new major version, but it is improving Xcode 14 by adding performance improvements, downloadable simulator runtimes for watchOS and tvOS, SwiftUI multiplatform support across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS, and more.

Swift and SwiftUI. Swift is picking up new string processing capabilities with new regular expression literal support and a new Package Plugins interface in Swift Package Manager so that developers can run custom commands on their projects. And the SwiftUI user interface framework is getting an enhanced navigation API, Custom Layouts, and Swift Charts for improved in-app visualization.

Games. The new MetalFX Upscaling capability in Metal 3 lets game developers upscale complex scenes to create great-looking and fast-moving games on Apple Silicon. There is also a new Fast Resource Loading API that minimizes wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU, further improving the performance of games.

WeatherKit. Based on its Dark Sky acquisition, WeatherKit will provide APIs for Apple’s platforms, of course, but those targeting web or other platforms like Windows and Android will be able to use REST APIs as well, a random cross-platform capability that, frankly, few were probably expecting. Those with an Apple Developer Program membership will get 500,000 API calls per month, but you will also be able to purchase additional tiers of service starting this fall.

Even more APIs. In addition to the APIs that Prescott mentions in the quote above—for widgets on the lock screen and WeatherKit, Apple also announced APIs for Live Text, Collaboration tools in Messages, Passkeys, MapKit, Focus filters, Automatic Shortcuts, watchOS 9, RoomPlan, and Live Activities.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “APIs! APIs! APIs!”

  1. nbplopes

    No Thurrot. That is a common affair ... What is notable is that in macOS Ventura in order to install apps outside the App Store users need to enable a so called Developer Mode. Meaning the regular mode is now an App Store mode.

    Want to install Edge? Only if developer mode is enabled.

    This is a security threat.

  2. arjay

     (I really do miss Steve Ballmer.)

    A sentence I never thought I would read.

  3. bryantmdoyle

    You are missing the bigger picture. Apple is selling the user a system. A system that provides an experience that users like and have become accustomed to. Central to that experience are the APIs that developers use for building software for the Apple system. The APIs are the secret sauce that allow developers to build these new and exciting user experiences. As a developer building on top of the Apple system is far more interesting than any other system out there. This coming from a developer who has been a Microsoft stack developer before we had Visual Studio. Developing for Microsoft has become just building standard web apps. Not that interesting or inspiring.

    • davepete

      You're right. A Windows app developer story does not exist. I wish Microsoft had come up with a consistent app development plan and stuck with it, but instead we got something new every year that was quickly abandoned (same as Google and its messaging apps). I don't see how Microsoft intends Windows to move to ARM if they are no app developers left to recompile them. I suppose apps will just be web apps running on Chrome-based browsers, but at that point, what's the point of Windows?

  4. Stabitha.Christie

    This is perplexing article if for no other reason than most of the stuff on this list wasn't in the keynote. Xcode cloud was announced in the 2021 keynote, you know the keynote that didn't have anything for developers in it.

    • ianbetteridge

      Apple has two keynotes at WWDC: the main one, which is largely intended for consumers and media to find out more about the new releases; and the “State of the Platforms” keynote later the same day which is very developer focused. It’s well worth watching the second if you want to get into the details of new APIs etc.

      • Stabitha.Christie

        I understand that. Here is the first sentence of the article:

        "Apple’s WWDC 2022 keynote was notable for only one reason: it featured multiple references to new APIs (application programming interfaces) for developers."

        It would appear that Paul is talking about the kickoff Keynote not the State of the Union.

    • shameer_mulji

      Other than the gaming & weather, you're right that Apple didn't mention the other stuff during the main keynote event at 10:00am but they did talk about it in the developer-focused State of the Union keynote that came after it. Apple's posted both keynotes on their website so you can watch them if you want to.

      • Stabitha.Christie

        Right, but that is no different than every other year.

        I think what Paul is latching onto isn't that Apple is announcing APIs in the Keynote but that Apple normally introduces new things like the updated lock screen but keeps it to themselves for a year or two and then opens up APIs to developers. This year a lot of the new features in the Keynote were opened to developers right out of the gate.

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