What Is Xcode And Why Should I Care?

July 16, 2020

If you have ever used a Mac computer or an Apple smart phone, then you have been the recipient of Xcode. Xcode is Apple’s integrated development application platform, and it has a rich history of accomplishments since first released in 2003. The Xcode platform is robust. not only is it used to develop source code for Mac OS, but also the iPhone OS, iPadOS, the Apple Watch, which uses the watchOS, and lastly, the tvOS. So, if you have a Mac computer, an Apple phone, an iPad, an Apple Watch or if you have an Apple Play connected to your smart TV, then you are using applications and source code developed on the Xcode platform.

Apple’s osTV was on a rapid growth trajectory for several years but began to pull back after its peak in 2018. It is still a popular choice for smart TV’s, but according to Statista, in an article posted June 26th, 2020, Amazon’s Fire Stick, Microsoft’s Xbox, and Roku’s streaming player control the majority of the marketplace.

As it relates to software and mobile app development, Apple, on June 22, 2020, announced the release of Xcode 12.0 Beta 1. This is the latest release since 11.0 was first released in September of 2020. Because Apple offers numerous developer tools such as Swift, Webkit and Research Kit, software development firms have access to great set of tools, or “toolbox” as we like to say, to build virtually any type of app needed. For Xcode 12, there are two big benefits we believe will add real value to your app projects when developing an app for your company on the Apple platform.

1) The introduction of “App Clips.” According to CNET, “App Clips” is going to bring about a brand new user experience. In simple terms, an App Clip is like a mini app for your phone, but without the hassle of a heavy download. Currently, if you want to use an app on your iPhone, you have to download the entire app, then decide. With App Clips, you download a smaller ‘clip’ of the app, as decided by the developer, thus allowing you to try it before you buy. For B2c companies, this new functionality will allow you to develop a complete app, but also design a smaller version of your app with a few limited features, allowing consumers to try and then decide. We expect this feature to become a popular component for companies who want to get faster adoption of their apps.

2) The other substantial change we believe will help many of our Arizona, California and other US clients is the ability to set third-party apps as defaults. For many years, iPhone and iPad users have asked for the ability to decide which apps they would like to use as their defaults, something the Android platform has had for years. With the release of the iOS14 in the Fall of 2020, users will be able to do exactly that. If, for example, you wanted to use Firefox as your default browser and Gmail as your email client, you can now make these decisions with the new default controls. Sorry IE fans. Internet Explorer has not been available from Microsoft on the iOS platform since 2006, so although you can change your default browser, IE is not an option. You still have a wide selection though, whether Chrome, Opera Touch, Firefox, or Safari. Stay tuned, we will have more details coming in the Fall.

John Tomblin, CSM
Phoenix Bizz
July 2020

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