5 Things Apple Developers Want to See at WWDC18 [Update]

Update: New input added from Gregorio Zanon.

Over the weekend I reached out to iOS developers to discover their expectations and hopes for WWDC18. I talked to developer and author Erica Sadun, James Thomson of TLA Systems, Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba Software, and Gregorio Zanon of DigiDNA. They shared what they’d like to see in hardware, software, and even a glimpse into the future.

Each developer has done a Background Mode interview with John Martellaro. You can listen to Ms. Sadun’s interview here, Mr. Thomson’s interview here, Mr. Kafasis’s interview here, and Mr. Zanon’s interview here.

1. Unified Apps

When it comes to software rumors, Mr. Thomson commented on the rumor that macOS and iOS will have a unified app framework:

The most interesting thing to me is the rumour of some form of unified framework between iOS and macOS. If, true, quite what it will entail is the real question of the conference. Is it just a quick way to get iOS apps running on the Mac? Or is it something that will ultimately replace AppKit on the Mac? Or bring more of the Mac’s features to iOS? PCalc already shares a lot of code between both versions, so this could make my life a lot easier. Or complicate it even further!


Image of Apple devices, some of which could get updated at WWDC18.

2. Stability

Ms. Sadun wants Apple to focus on stability in its software, as well as improvements to developers tools. She says Xcode is “old and creaky and slow and unstable” and also wants Swift to become more prominent in developer use.

On the other hand, Mr. Kafasis wants changes to macOS updates, saying that macOS is a mature system and doesn’t necessarily need big updates every year:

Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if they slowed this down. MacOS works well, and doesn’t need a mandatory update every single year. Unlike the iPhone, OS updates aren’t likely to be driving Mac sales. As a developer, these annual updates wreak havoc on our schedules, and as a consumer, I don’t see a great deal of benefit from them. I absolutely want Apple to continue advancing MacOS, but if they made a public statement discussing a move away from a major update every single year, I would be delighted.

3. New Software

Expected announcements at WWDC18 will be iOS 12, watchOS 5, and the next versions of macOS and tvOS. But Mr. Kafasis also wonders how much more emphasis Apple will place on AR. Will there be more AR news this year? Or will we see Apple make a push into VR now that powerful Mac hardware is available?

Mr. Zanon notes that—although iMazing is an iTunes alternative—the team approaches WWDC with optimism. iMazing has evolved alongside iOS for 10 years now and they are ready for whatever challenges iOS 12 will bring.

Next: Hardware and Roadmap Expectations for WWDC 2018

2 thoughts on “5 Things Apple Developers Want to See at WWDC18 [Update]

  • Some things I’d like to see at WWDC 2018 (not in any particular order):

    Craig F. deliver no hair jokes and instead devote that time to a massive and sincere apology for the absolutely abysmal software quality Apple has produced during his tenure. That followed by an announcement of the concrete steps Apple is taking to correct course, which could include not doing annual releases of macOS.
    Phil S. to come on stage and announce that after two years of not actually selling a Pro laptop, Apple is re-entering that market. We get a laptop line that has a working keyboard, no useless touch bar, and some real ports … and Magsafe back (or something equivalent).
    Apple to brag about what an awesome machine the iMac Pro is … because it is … and then unveil the new Mac Pro … which makes the iMac Pro look like a Commodore 64!
    My way out on a limb one … Apple to release keyboards, mice, and trackpads in a color other than white! Crazy talk, I know, but one can always dream…

    Old UNIX Guy

  • Roadmap is not really a term that has applied to Apple. Much as we’d like it. Apple doesn’t do it. We know more about Tim Cook’s politics than we do about Apple’s future products and as an Apple customer – both bother me profoundly.

    As for Apple’s development environment. Mac development is long overdue for an overhaul. Swift shows that Apple has a mind to do the big picture if it wants to. iOS development, given its high level of activity, at 10 years could be argued is also due for an overhaul as well.

    A modern development environment that benefits both Mac and iOS would be the best news possible out of WWDC. Marzipan as described did not sound like the answer here. Apple’s efforts to make iWork cross platform do not create confidence either.

    Maybe I’m dreaming that Mac would benefit in any way at all, but development seems to be the ONLY place where Apple even considers Mac these days, so there’s s glimmer of hope.

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