26/07/22

Future of iOS: WWDC’22 Special Event

By Mike Gerasymenko

This post is intended for people who are interested in the new and noteworthy from the latest Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2022, Apple Developers relations, and the future of iOS in general. I will focus on  iOS, and the most relevant changes – specifically curated for Delivery Hero.      

Special thanks

I would like to express my special regards to the people who made my trip to WWDC possible this year. First and foremost, my wife, who was a great support and stayed back home looking after the  kids. As well as her, I would like to thank Delivery Hero for supporting my travel arrangements and attendance at the event. 

The event

For two years, the WWDC conference was held remotely due to COVID-19 travel limitations. This year, a bit last-minute, folks from Apple decided to give some of the engineers the opportunity to meet in person in Cupertino.

Around one thousand engineers from around the world got the chance to meet each other in the Apple Park building for a day, and share their knowledge and experience. 

Developer Center

Apple used this opportunity to showcase their new Developer Center, which was constructed this year, built with the intention of inviting developers,  showcasing new technologies, and helping teams integrate these technologies in the best possible way. Later, it would be possible for us to submit an application for Delivery Hero to participate, potentially getting invited to the center for a learning session.

Keynote

The new Lock Screen

During the keynote, we learned that in iOS 16 it would be possible to place widgets on the lock screen. This feature is available in Beta iOS and in the iOS Simulator.

Why is this the first thing I’m mentioning? This prime real estate is as good as gold: this is the first thing one would see when glancing at their smartphone. For an average app user, it is quite common to forget about the app in a couple of days. This would not be the case any more if one of the first things seen on their device is the app’s lock screen widget.

It was  a great opportunity to think about the possible widgets we could offer to our customers and delivery drivers!

Should we offer a driver a glance over the new order coming their way? Or at the next step of the order delivery? Maybe we could delight our customers by showing real-time delivery updates, and consequently displaying new offers from their favorite restaurants?

I think we have a great opportunity now to have a first-mover advantage. Additionally, it is quite common to feature apps that are delivering the latest experiences on the iOS platform by the store curators. If done on-time, this can offer an additional visibility boost for the app.

As you can see on Apple’s own demo imagery, they are showcasing the order status widget from a coffee shop.

Wallet

Identity verification

Users can use their ID in Wallet for apps requiring identity and age verification. We could use this feature for our drivers, so that they can prove their identity with the app.

Accepting payments (tap to pay)

It would be possible to accept payments with an iPhone with iOS 16. It is not entirely clear yet how apps integrate with this feature, however, for Delivery Hero it could be useful to allow drivers to accept order payment when handing it over to the customer.

Order tracking in the Wallet

Now it is possible to have order tracking integrated with the Wallet. My initial reaction was that it is something that one would expect to use for goods delivery, however, this could be a great feature for our customers, so they can see the status of their orders.

Maps

Apple Maps are adding additional functions, such as more detailed maps and a look around feature that allows for orientation in dense urban areas. Additionally, Apple is adding server-side functions, such as geocoding, reverse geocoding, search and time of arrival calculation.

Platforms State of the Union

Xcode Cloud

Apple’s own cloud CI is now available to everyone. Based on my conversation with Apple engineers from the platform tools team, it might have certain edges over the competition, such as a native Xcode integration. It is free for the moment, so I think it would be worth trying for the mobile teams.

SwiftUI

Swift, SwiftUI and Live previews would replace UIKit and Interface Builder.

I don’t think there’s much to add here. We should deprecate iOS 13 and start moving individual parts to the SwiftUI, as it would get more and more support from the platform vendor.

Swift

SwiftUI

App Intents

Since the SiriKit integration, there is a way to give iOS a better insight into what users are doing on your app. It is possible by publishing intents to the iOS, such as “opened search screen” or “created an order”. Siri is then able to trigger the same action in your app. The common actions are also displayed on the search screen.

This amazing feature now has a second wind with the introduction of app intents.

Passkeys

In collaboration with other big companies, Apple brought a novel private-public key-based authentication to the customer.

DriverKit

It is now possible to develop hardware drivers for iPad. This might be potentially interesting for building a POS terminal.

Weather API

We can use this API in order to fetch the weather conditions for a specific location. Potentially useful for the drivers to know.

Vision Framework

We can interact with text and QR codes in the live video feed and in Quick actions. This might be relevant for delivery services/package scanning.

Other developer news

  • Bitcode is deprecated
  • Xcode view debugger is now working with mixed SwiftUI/UIKit views
  • Simulator supports remote notifications now (on Apple Silicon computers)
  • Linker is 50% faster, Xcode is 20% faster to compile; 20% app startup thanks to linker improvements
  • New build timeline UI showing the build process on the timescale
  • Shorthand syntax for if-let
let foo: String? = ...
if let foo {
  print(foo)
}

General thoughts on the new iOS

From my past experience, it is also crucial to mention how important it is to test on the new iOS 16 before it is released. Ideally on beta 5 – beta 6 stage around the beginning of August.

Conclusion

Every year at WWDC, Apple introduces its vision for the future of mobile platforms. We should carefully listen to it, as the majority of our users are utilizing those platforms to connect to us. Along with the improvements for the developers, it frequently occurs that some of the features are effectively killing other small companies implementing similar features. We should try to use the first-mover advantage and be ready for the platform changes to come in.


Thank you, Mike, for sharing your experience at WWDC’22 with us! Very exciting and insightful!

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