IMAGE: Apple

Monday, Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for the first time virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the years, Apple has used the event to unveil a vast spectrum of new products, updates, and features. Today was no different. There was plenty of speculation about product announcements leading up to the event, and we now have definitive answers and clearer insights into Apple’s vision for the future.

“From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple Silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple Silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac.”

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The Tim Cook announcement marks a momentous occasion for Apple moving forward. By creating a standard architecture traversing the spectrum of Apple products, the company believes the move will empower developers to more readily create and optimize apps across the ecosystem. To assist with the transition, Apple announced the Universal App Quick Start Program.

The program will provide developers with all of the resources, tools, support, and more required to construct, test, and optimize macOS Big Sur Universal apps. Overall, the program will give developers access to forums support, documentation as well as Xcode 12 and macOS Big Sur beta versions. Additionally, developers will have limited access to the Developer Transition Kit (DTK).

The program includes developer labs providing developers with guidance, best practices, and technical insights to enhance their final products. Private forums give users the opportunity to communicate with Apple experts and engineers and pose questions to enhance development. Documentation and video resources provide greater insights associated with Universal app development and testing. Developers can request to have technical support team members troubleshoot their code. Apple notes that the program includes three technical support incidents.

IMAGE: Apple

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The company estimates the transition to Apple silicon products will take about two years with the first product containing these elements to ship before 2021. This Universal Quick Start program will enable developers to proactively design and test Universal apps prior to Apple making Apple Silicon Macs available to the public. Apple is now accepting applications online. Availability is limited and Apple notes that priority will be “given to applicants with an existing macOS application.”