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WWDC: Apple ships a new Catalyst app for developers


Apple has introduced its Catalyst port of its Developers App for Mac users for the first time as it prepares for its online WWDC event. The entire event this year is being streamed online directly from Apple Park.

Full stream ahead

On the surface, the Developers app is a fairly basic port to the Mac from iOS. You get access to the video feeds, conference sessions, developer forums and 1-1 appointments on your Mac as well as on your iPad or iPhone.

“Over the last 30 years, developers around the world have been creating amazing apps that entertain, influence culture and change lives,” said Apple when it introduced the app. “The Apple Developer app helps everyone stay current and learn about the newest technologies and techniques to make their apps even better.”

The Apple Developer app will be the primary interface between developers and Apple at WWDC this year. It will provide videos, articles, technical guides and case studies throughout the event. It also lets developers find and favorite content from this year and previous year’s of WWDC.

Apple is promising more “actionable” content will be shared via the app, including information about inspiring engineers and app designers – and has also made a selection of iMessage stickers available,

Catalyst is critical

There have been some criticisms made of the Mac port, chiefly around what appear to be existing shortcomings of Catalyst apps. The lack of multi-window and full-screen support in the Mac app are two such complaints, but it is unlikely Apple is blind to the limitations of the current environment, which it will certainly improve on the road ahead.

Apple knows it must do just that.

While Catalyst is critical to the company in terms of porting iOS apps across to Mac, it is also becoming clear that part of the wider plan remains to migrate Macs to its own ARM-based chips.

In order to make that process as seamless as possible it seems logical to expect the company to make it far easier to port iOS apps to the Mac while supporting a Mac-like user experience. It will be interesting to see how Apple plans to support Mac apps on ARM processors, and I guess we’ll learn more on this at WWDC 2020.

Apple’s attempt to stoke interest in Swift development may also turn out to be part of this strategy. For the first time this year, Apple is offering curated sessions aimed at budding coders and designers, and daily Swift Playgrounds challenges that anyone can participate in and enjoy.

The show begins June 22 at 10am PDT. The company has already despatched invitations to attend the virtual event to media and partners.

What to expect?

We’ve looked at what to expect already, but it seems useful to recap as the list of potential announcements continues to grow. At present, highlights may include the following, listed roughly in order of probability:

  • iOS 14, iPadOS 14.
  • macOS 10.16.
  • watchOS 7, tvOS 14.
  • ARM transition for Mac.
  • A new iPad-inspired iMac (a redesigned iMac icon was recently spotted inside iOS 14 code).
  • AirTags.
  • AirPods Studio.
  • New services and bundles.
  • A new Apple TV.
  • HomePod enhancements.
  • iPad air and or iPad mini.

Interestingly, this year’s Apple Design Awards now won’t take place until June 29, one week after the event.

How to take part

WWDC 2020 begins June 22 and will be hosted in the Apple Developer app and via the Apple Developer website. The keynote will also be made available via apple.com, the Apple TV app, and YouTube, and through the Apple TV events app.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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