ICYMI: Highlights from WWDC Day 2

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference! Due to the ongoing health crisis, this year’s event had a unique twist: instead of selling tickets with a hefty price tag, the 2020 edition was broadcasted exclusively online and completely free. 

So, from the comfort of our homes, we prepared five days’ worth of popcorn, grabbed a pen and paper, and got straight to learning.

In case you missed it here is our recap of day 1. And here, we’ll be breaking down our key takeaways from day 2 of WWDC.

 

Introducing: WidgetKit

In previous versions of iOS, widgets were a bit of an afterthought. They were only accessible via the “Today’s Extension” module, and did not offer home screen customization options. Following the launch of iOS 14, though, they’re taking a front seat. 

With WidgetKit, users can spruce up their home screens with widgets that are far more powerful and configurable than ever before. They can be either static or intent-based, and can include scrolling, images, and videos.

That means weather updates, live calendars, music players, and more, right alongside users’ app tiles. Finally!

 

Say hello to App Clips

In a world that prioritizes speed over almost everything else, App Clips are poised to shine. Like a small flavour sample at an ice cream shop, this feature introduces users to a relevant “clip” of a mobile app instead of prompting them to download the whole thing.

Potential use cases include paying for parking, renting a communal bicycle, learning more about a product you just purchased, or ordering food from a Maps location. The feature integrates with Apple Pay so you’ll never have to fumble with your credit card.

App Clips will disappear after a period of inactivity instead of cluttering up the home screen. However, when a user installs the full version of an app, developers can sync the data from the App Clip experience.

How to configure and link an App Clip

For now, you can launch an App Clip via NFC tag, QR code, Siri Nearby Suggestions, Maps location cards, Smart App banners on Safari, and links sent via Messenger. Later this year, Apple is also launching their own dedicated symbol – called an App Clip “code” – that’s similar to QR.

App Clips are built similarly to an app, but they require a parent application (like an action extension). Make sure to submit the necessary info for review along with your app.

 

The latest from App Store Connect

Now that App Clips have stepped onto the scene, App Store Connect will allow you to beta test them: you can add up to 3 “App Clip Invocation” URLs during beta testing. 

The new App Store Connect has a dedicated section to fill in the default metadata for each clip. However, you can also include custom text for specific invocation methods like Maps, NFC, and QR using Advanced App Clip Experiences. 

WWDC isn’t all work and no play, though: updates to the Game Center include the ability to set up “challenges” between players, and new “recurring leaderboards”.

Family sharing for subscriptions has also been enabled for both Auto Renewables and Non Consumables, and the App Store Connect API will include APIs for metadata, power and performance metrics, and diagnostics.

Stay tuned for more updates from us. And if you have ideas on what else we can build, please write to us at hello@signeasy.com!

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