Developer

iOS and OS X development news roundup from Apple's iPad event

Apple Pay APIs, WatchKit APIs, and iOS 8.1 are some of the developer topics covered at Apple's Oct. 16, 2014 event. Here's a brief recap of the key announcements.

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Apple's Craig Federighi talking about OS X Yosemite.
Image: Tim Stevens/CNET

Apple unveiled at its October 16, 2014 event new updates to existing hardware products, and officially released the latest version of OS X. A lot of these announcements have development components, so let's see what's in store for the iOS and OS X developer community.

Apple Pay

Apple announced that its Apple Pay (aka Pay) system would be coming out Monday, October 20, 2014, along with an iOS 8.1 update for all iOS 8 devices, including the new iPads that were unveiled at the event.

When people think about Apple Pay, iOS apps may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it should: Apple has released Apple Pay APIs for building applications that can accept payments through the Apple Pay system.

Find integration documentation about Apple Pay on the developer portal.

SEE: Why Apple Pay will succeed and Why I'm not sold on Apple Pay

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Apple Pay
Image: Apple

WatchKit

WatchKit is a set of APIs and various frameworks that will enable developers to take advantage of the Apple Watch's features, and allow them to create Apple Watch applications. The details aren't clear yet, but everything should come into focus soon: WatchKit will be available in November 2014, giving developers enough time to build their applications for Apple Watch, which is expected to be released in "early 2015."

SEE: Enterprise IT should embrace the Apple Watch and What's missing in the Apple Watch

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WatchKit
Image: Apple

OS X Yosemite

The newest version of OS X Yosemite is on the block, and developers can finally submit their applications to the Mac App Store to take advantage of the Handoff features, the Notification Center widgets, and the brand new user interface.

No new features were announced for the desktop operating system, but Apple is sure to expand OS X and iOS integration with future OS X updates, and developers have a new ecosystem of apps that can be built.

Retina iMacs

One of the biggest announcements was the Retina 5K iMac; this brings a whole new class of Mac desktop computing, and was undoubtedly aimed towards professionals. From developers to professional videographers and photographers, a lot of folks will want to get their hands on this Mac.

From a developer standpoint, this presents a good opportunity to convert your Mac applications to handle Retina displays. The future is clearly written on the wall: Retina Macs are the future, and OS X Yosemite will handle @2x displays. We can definitely expect to see more Macs shipping with Retina displays. While non-Retina Macs are not going away anytime soon, if you're not supporting @2x Mac assets, then now would be a good time to take a serious look at it, providing a better user experience for your apps along the way.

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Apple's Phil Schiller showcasing the new Retina 5K display.
Image: CNET

iOS 8's adoption rate

Apple senior VP Craig Federighi stated that iOS 8 has had an adoption rate of 48%, which means that almost half of the active user base of iOS devices is running iOS 8. This is an important metric, because it means that developers can reach more than 90% of all iOS users by simply targeting iOS 7 and 8. This is excellent compared to more fragmented markets like Android.

Also, new users on iOS 8 means that developers can take advantage of features that are only supported on iOS 8: Touch ID, Extensions, Swift, and Metal (for game development).

What's your take on the news from this Apple event?

Which announcements from Apple's iPad event interest you the most? Do you have any development plans in the works that focus on iOS 8 or iOS 8.1, Apple Pay, WatchKit, or apps that can handle Retina displays? Let us know in the discussion.

Also see

Disclaimer: TechRepublic, ZDNet, and CNET are CBS Interactive properties.

About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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