2015 was a very interesting year for iOS developers. So let’s discuss the most important things that happened in iOS development in 2015.
#1: Swift goes open source
At the beginning of December, Apple released Swift as open source. Not only the source code is available, but also a linux compiler, the complete commit history and the possibility to create pull requests. Furthermore, there are already some pull requests that are accepted. That’s very cool.
But what is even more cool is the fact that Swift could become popular on other platforms as well. I do not have any statistics on that, but I think it is very likely that Swift is one of the fastet growing programming languages in the history of computer sciences. So why should Swift stop at Apple’s platforms? I really do believe that other platforms will be conquered as well. And then it will be much easier to learn iOS development, so that there will be many new iOS developers. As a consequence, the platform will grow. And that is good news for all existing iOS developers.
#2: tvOS launch
Well, is the new Apple TV a big thing or not? The future will show, but to simplify it a little bit: tvOS = iOS – WebView + Focus Engine. So on the one hand it is very easy to learn tvOS development, if you are an iOS developer. And on the other hand it is a complete new platform that is very different from the iPhones and iPads. So every iOS developer has the possibility to enter a whole new market without much learning effort. I think thats’s incredible.
There’s of course some uncertainty whether tvOS will be a success on the long term. But there are so much iOS users out there, so that is very obvious to use some apps on your TV that you are using already on your Phone. Of course that doesn’t make sense for all kind of applications, but for some it does.
#3: Swift 2.0 launch
Right from its beginnings Swift has been a very good programming language. But Swift 2.0 introduced a lot of features that made Swift an even better language, like Error Handling, guard and protocol extensions. Of course it was little bit annoying that existing code broke. But on the other hand it is the only way to really improve a language: Either a programming language is backward compatible or a programming language is innovative – especially if the language is still young. So it is okay to have some inconveniences.
And this will not change with Swift 3.0. And as I pointed out already in another blog post, Swift 3.0 will have a lot of changes and code will break again.
#4: iPad Pro launch
The iPad Pro is an iPad with a bigger screen. Well, you could say that, but there is actually a little bit more about it. Let’s say it this way: The iPad Pro is huge – in every aspect. I think that the iPad Pro will change iOS development massively in the long term. Before the iPad Pro, it was not possible to develop apps that can replace professional applications on the Mac. But the iPad Pro does have the potential to do so. Just think about it: Professionals like photographer and designers could favour the iPad over the Mac in a few years because for them a touch device is actually better than a “normal” PC. However, there are no real pro iOS applications on the market yet. So we have the possibility to develop them. That is really huge…