DataArt’s iOS 8 Beta Response

18 August 2014
By Anton Garkusha, Senior Software Developer/Software Architect, Yaroslav Vorontsov, Senior Software Engineer and Alexander Sharov, Senior Software Developer/Software Architect

Apple’s iOS8 beta release was highly anticipated all over the world for obvious reasons. DataArt iOS developers decided to share their opinion about the platform, just the way they did after the release of iOS7.

Anton Garkusha, Senior Software Developer/Software Architect

From the view of a regular user, iOS8 is not the most interesting update. The new OS didn’t get any “killer” features from its creators, and as for the rest, sceptics keep saying that they have already been implemented numerous times on other platforms. It is difficult to argue with them this time. Apple has not invented anything revolutionary, more like they took existing solutions, changed them due to match their identity style, and released them under the brand of iOS8. But we have to be fair, this turned out to be rather interesting.

Overall, I’m not expecting a dramatic increase of the number of iPhone or iPads users in connection with the new iOS release. I’ve got the impression that the new iOS8 and OS X Yosemite were meant to keep the existing clients within the ecosystem created by Apple, because now MacBooks, iPhones and existing iPads are even better at interacting with one another than ever before, which users seem to appreciate a lot.

The fact that Apple are now more focused on developing their own ecosystem than on promoting standalone products can be proved by one simple thing: obviously they are now trying to cover new territories that were previously undiscovered. Earlier Apple was either uncompetitive or absent in those areas they are aiming for now. Let’s see: Healthcare & Fitness will be approached by means of Health and HealthKit, whereas HomeKit will help by covering the Smart Home area and iCloud Drive – cloud services. The latter will only now become a realistic competitor to Dropbox and Google Drive.

However, despite the small amount of brand new features, I tend to think that iOS8 is a really “big” release, and its success will mostly rely on the developers. The new API is aimed at highlighting iOS and taking it to a new level not by means of the OS itself, but some quality changes in third-party applications for iOS.

And it is this step that I would call innovative. Hence it seems very logical for Apple to attempt to provide maximum comfort to its current developers and attract new ones by providing updated development tools. A whole third of the main presentation was dedicated to this update, which has never happened before.

And the most remarkable novelty – a new, more up-to-date programming language Swift – should in theory be the basic thing to attract new developers. It is no secret that a lot of developers who were perhaps willing to start working with iOS refused to simply because Objective-C looks outwardly unattractive and old-fashioned monster.

Summing up, I would say that the main difference of the new WWDC is the process of developing for the Apple ecosystem and its plans to involve third-party developers. It will be very interesting to see where it will eventually take Apple, though results can hardly be expected to be seen in the short term, so we’ll follow the trends. “

Yaroslav Vorontsov, Senior Software Engineer

In just a few words – the upcoming system is an “evolutionary” update for users but “revolutionary” for developers.

Apple tends to make their user experience even greater than before – its Continuity paradigm allows connecting their devices “like never before”.

HomeKit was expected to be introduced in iOS 8 since the “Internet of Things’ is trendy now.
The HealthKit and Health apps are great – now you’ll always have your personal health checker nearby and you won’t miss a moment when it’s a good time to visit your doctor.

The Metal and TouchID APIs have proved that Apple is trying to get the maximum from the existing hardware by reducing the number of code layers and using the devices’ capabilities which hadn’t been brought into play before.

Finally, there are lots of small changes which allow us to guess that Apple is preparing a number of new devices. But let’s wait until the fall comes… :)

Alexander Sharov, Senior Software Developer/Software Architect

Does the new iOS mean new innovative apps?
I’m not sure. I’m expecting that most updates in the market will be concentrated around adding widgets to apps and providing users with more ways to communicate with and call the app. Also the introduction of HomeKit gives a lot of opportunities to enter the Home Control market for small companies, especially if Apple provides a huge list of supported devices.

Apple brings more challenges for developers with the introducing of the Swift Programming Language, and I believe it was done not just to make developers happier and simplify iOS coding, but also because Apple still wants to have a monopoly with xCode which should be used as a mandatory development tool, so any third-party IDEs which had great progress in supporting objective-C syntax and interface building last few years will have to be re-worked to support Swift now.

Speaking of HomeKit, DataArt experts already have a solution formed for the adaptation of home automation products to be newly presented together with iOS8 Apple smart home technologies.

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