Insight Author
Michael Behan
Principal Software Developer

Marino's WWDC 2018 Wishlist

WWDC week is almost here and with the rumour mill unusually quiet we're getting excited for what might be unveiled. Here's what we're hoping for at Marino Software.

June 1, 2018
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The Worldwide Developers Conference will be held this year from June 4-8th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Here's what we're hoping for at Marino Software:

New Capabilities for our Customers

The sort of announcements that excite us the most are when Apple adds new capabilities to its platform, in turn enabling new features for our apps. Last year saw the introduction of CoreML and ARKit, putting advanced augmented reality and machine learning features within reach of any app.

ARKit got a solid mid cycle update in iOS 11.3 adding vertical surfaces and reference image detection. 

It was great to see Apple not waiting for WWDC to add these features, but here's hoping they've even more to show next week, we'll gladly take reference 3D objects and improved surface mapping. 

For CoreML enhancements we'd love to see Apple tackle on device training.

It's probably too much to expect new features on the scale of ARKit and CoreML in iOS 12, but that won't stop us wishing.

Siri

Apple once led the way in voice interfaces with Siri but they're playing catchup to Alexa and Google Assistant now. Every iOS user is hoping for big improvements to Siri and we're hoping for big improvements to SiriKit

At the very least we'd like to see an increase in the number of supported intent domains which currently limit Siri to messaging, calling, payments, lists and notes, photos, workouts, and ride hailing. 

This might be the year for Siri to go a new direction though, perhaps moving SiriKit to the cloud and support for web service based intents more along the lines of Alexa Skills Kit.
 

Developer Tools Improvements

Our relationship with Xcode is always a love/hate affair. We get so much out of our IDE but it comes with frustration at times. Apple is always good to us each WWDC with new Xcode features though and we've gotten plenty out of last year's refactoring and git features. 

This year we're hoping for improved Swift playgrounds stability 

They were a great addition to Xcode but have been unusable in recent times with slow simulator previews and regular force quits required.

Swift 5.0

We already know ABI stability is the focus for Swift 5, and while many developers don't even have to care what that means it's a big deal for us writing Swift frameworks that are used in multiple apps.

 Beyond ABI stability we might start getting a picture of Swift's concurrency model this year. C#'s async/await has been making us jealous for some time and that could be a great addition to the Swift language. Some announcements around the Swift package manager would be great to hear too, it hasn't become the default dependency manager that we expected it would.

The Rest

There's a lot more we'd like to see, here's some things we'll be looking out for at the Keynote and developer sessions:

  • Custom Apple Watch faces or at least support for watch apps providing multiple complications of the same type.
  • Improved audio APIs on Apple Watch and offline podcast playback a la Apple Music. 
  • Picture in picture on iPhone.
  • Hints of a ARM transition for the Mac.
  • Tidying up the MacBook lineup (finally killing off the Air).
  • Improved / bigger TouchBar (some of us actually like it!).
  • Improvements to the Mac App Store.
  • eGPU driver enhancements. 
  • Improved FaceID performance / landscape and upside down portrait orientation support.

Whatever comes, WWDC week is always a big week for the iOS team at Marino Software. I'll be there in San Jose for the week so be sure to keep an eye on our blog and our Twitter feed for updates.

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