One of those areas of dominance is, of course, with apps. Apple has already shown interest in past releases of its Mac OS and its iOS updates in linking the iPhone, iPad and the Mac together. So, in 2018, the question is: what will the next five years hold for iOS app and Mac app development when there are already over a million apps available?
Current State of iOS and Mac App Development
Right now is a great time to be iOS app developer as there are many areas in which a developer can create apps. And those areas aren’t just for the iPhone and iPad but also the Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Still, the primary area where development occurs is with the iPhone, iPad and also apps for the Mac. A developer could easily develop applications for all three areas, and with tools available from Google, he could also create apps for Android.
But that also means a developer becomes responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and upgrading those apps for each device, not to mention the new devices Apple might release.
One App for Them All
The good news for those developers who focus on iOS app development as well as development for the Mac OS is that Apple plans to release a set of developer tools that will allow developers to write a single application that runs on iPhone, iPad and Mac hardware. This is not only great news for those developers who write apps for Apple but also for third-party developers.
These apps would work with a touchscreen, mouse and trackpad. This change will possibly occur sometime this year when Apple rolls its iOS 11 version over to iOS 12 and also upgrades its Mac OS to 10.14. Apple, however, is historically very tight-lipped about these changes. The company usually doesn’t let its user community know about them (if they are going to happen) until the WWDC developer conference, which is slated to take place this year in June 2018.
iOS and Mac Development Tools
It has been proposed that the new Apple SDK will be very iOS-centric. But that isn’t a big surprise. Apple has been gearing up for this change with the last few releases of its iOS and Mac OS in an attempt to make the desktop and laptop operating system feel more like an extension of the iPhone and iPad.
And if you think about how Apple’s messaging and cloud functions currently work with the ability to use those functions on all three devices, you see that this might have been Apple’s long-term plan. But at this point, developers still have to do their iOS app development via UIKit for iOS while they also can use Swift. For the Mac, developers have to use AppKit to create their applications.
Apple may be thinking about introducing a new development framework, perhaps one based on its UXKit that’s been used to develop the Photos app on both iOS and the Mac. All these new iOS app development tools will give developers lots of flexibility regarding screen sizes, resolutions and aspect ratios. On the iPad, consequently, an app could use the full-screen or split view for multitasking.
Facebook-Based Phone and React
The next five years (or even sooner) will bring another major player in the tech world to the forefront that has nothing to do with Apple (iPhone) or Google (Android), and that is Facebook. The social media giant has its own plans to move into the mobile hardware market and increase its presence as well in the software market.
The company plans to achieve this through its own set of developer tools called React. With this tool, developers can bypass the approval times on the App Store and the mess that is Google Play. React will also allow developers to create apps with one-way data flow that will potentially increase performance times independent of Java-based libraries.
What React Does for Developers
React gives a developer more control of the components and libraries he uses by sitting on any platform. A developer who wants to run his apps on iOS and Android may have to rewrite and reuse some code as is usually the case when choosing to run an app on either mobile operating system.
The difference is that React allows a developer to simply save files and refresh the page if writing an app for the web. Facebook hopes to make this process more or less the same when creating mobile apps. In the end, the company hopes to achieve a development environment where apps flow out seamlessly. Android and iOS developers, on the other hand, still have to recompile their apps to see the changes.
Mobile operating systems and the apps that run on them aren’t going away anytime soon. If anything, the process of making them will become faster and more streamlined so that more and more apps will be created. On the Apple side, a single multi-device app means more time for the iOS app developer to engineer new apps. This will need to be the case as competition continues to heat up in the mobile arena.