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Apple Releases Xcode Cloud and Updates App Store

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple is rolling out a cloud-based service to help developers create apps and making numerous developer-side updates to its App Store.

Apple released Xcode Cloud and shared the latest version of the App Store with developers building in its iOS mobile operating system, according to the company last week.

Apple also updated Swift, its programming language, and RealityKit, its toolkit of augmented reality (AR) APIs, and introduced new tools for game developers.

Xcode Cloud will be available as a free limited beta in June, with access expanding this summer and fall. The service will be available to all developers next year.

This fall, Apple plans to share pricing details for Xcode Cloud.

Apple's new tools will help the developer community "create even more compelling and higher-quality apps, while engaging with their users in all new ways,” said Susan Prescott, VP of worldwide developer relations, Apple.
The company's platforms "have never been stronger,” Prescott said.

See below for details on Apple’s latest tools and technologies for developers.

Xcode Cloud

  • New continuous integration and delivery service designed for Apple developers
  • Built into Xcode 13, offers ways for developers and teams to build, test and deliver apps
  • Can automatically build apps in the cloud to free up developers’ Macs for other tasks
  • Parallel testing in the cloud 

Xcode Cloud in dark mode running on an Apple MacBook Pro. Photo via Apple.

Xcode Cloud runs in dark mode on an Apple MacBook Pro. Photo via Apple.

App Store

  • Easier for users to discover events in App Store through personalized recommendations, editorial selections, search results and on app product pages 

  • New product page tools that offer developers “greater flexibility and new ways to connect with users” in App Store 

  • Custom Product Pages let developers showcase different features of their app for different users

  • Product Page Optimization gives developers ability to test different screenshots, preview videos and app icons

  • Analytics in App Store Connect to see what users like most and make decisions for product pages

  • Updated guidelines that include support for emerging category of apps that offer creator content experiences 

  • Developer code of conduct expands, including updated guidelines around developer identity requirements, ratings and review manipulation, and excessive customer complaints

  • New avenues for developers to appeal an app rejection on concerns of bias

  • Option to report an app if there is reason to believe an app presents a trust or safety concern or is in violation of the App Store Review Guidelines

Swift

  • Built-in concurrency support 

  • More easily write code that does work in parallel, which is part of building apps that are responsive to user input

  • Write code with fewer mistakes and take advantage of the multi-core silicon across Apple devices

  • Enhancements to SwiftUI for improving list views, search experiences, in-app accessibility features, multi-column tables and more

  • Create the visual design of an app with SwiftUI in Swift Playgrounds 4, coming later this year

Augmented reality

  • RealityKit 2 introduces Object Capture, an API on macOS Monterey that enables developers to create photo-realistic 3D models of real-world objects by taking photos shot on iPhone, iPad or DSLR and transform them into 3D models optimized for AR 

  • Models can be viewed in AR Quick Look or added to AR scenes in Reality Composer or Xcode to build AR apps

  • Create more realistic and complex AR experiences with greater visual, audio and animation control, including custom render passes and dynamic shaders

Games

  • Metal texture compression tool supports all of the latest formats as well as optimized formats for Apple silicon for developers to bring games to all of Apple platforms 

  • Virtual Game Controller on iPhone and iPad to optimize games that build in Game Controller support

Android developer tools

Google offers several tools for developers to help them build apps for the company's Android mobile operating system.

Android Studio features numerous elements: a visual layout editor; simulator; code editor, APK file analyzer; and more.

The company also offers its Play Console to help developers test, monitor and publish their apps in the Play Store.

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TAGS:

Apple, app store, Xcode Cloud