WWDC 2017 Recap for iOS Developers

Pierce Boggan

Yesterday, Apple announced several exciting innovations during the WWDC keynote presentation to kick off Apple’s annual developer conference. No matter what Apple platform you’re building apps for today, there are brand new APIs and features to explore!

New Business Chat APIs added in iOS 11.

iOS 11

As we’ve come to expect, Apple revealed iOS 11 to developers during the WWDC keynote. Apple continues to open up APIs and features that have previously been unavailable to developers. Unlocking these features and APIs allows us to integrate our apps more deeply with iOS. The newest APIs provided give us access to new features in Siri, chat, music and files.


Developers can now interact Apple Music and a user’s local music library with the MusicKit APIs. These APIs allow you to access information from Apple Music, such as songs, albums, and playlists. Users can even opt-in to allow your app to access their local music library, where you can access information like recently listened to songs or recommendations and play them with the media player.

Business Chat

Add interactive chat to your app with the new Business Chat feature in iOS 11. These APIs allow you to connect with your customers via the Messages app. This feature is especially useful for apps that need direct B2C communication.

Drag & Drop

The Drag and drop functionality has been added in iOS 11, works automatically systemwide, and can be used both within an app and across multiple apps. Multi-touch functionality allows users to select multiple items at once by tapping them. Integrating these features will be especially useful for apps that are driven by data.

Drag and drop on iPad in iOS 11.

Core NFC

Core NFC has been added to allow developers to automatically detect NFC tags and read NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) messages. These APIs will be a welcome addition for apps that utilize NFC technology, such as NFC-enabled shopping experiences to enhance the retail experience.


Apple has added a new “Files” app for managing files across multiple storage mediums, such as on-device, iCloud, and even external storage providers like OneDrive. Apps that offer a document-centric experience can deeply integrate with iOS features such as Open in Place and iCloud Drive for a native document experience.

App Store Improvements

Apple has completely redesigned the App Store for a brand new experience. A “Today” tab has been added that shows a curated feed from the App Store team to help showcase interesting apps. Developers will notice a new product page with a subtitle, the option to add three autoplay videos to show off your app, as well as promote and sell in-app purchases directly from your app’s landing page. Search has also been expanded with a new UI and algorithm to surface developers, in-app purchases, categories, collections, and more in search results.

New App Store app added in iOS 11.

So much more

SiriKit added new APIs and domains to extend the apps that can take advantage of the Siri voice assistant, ARKit provides APIs for adding augmented reality experiences to your apps, Core ML, a new machine learning framework used across Apple products, allows you to take advantage machine learning in your apps, including APIs for computer vision and natural language processing, and new AirPlay 2 APIs allow you to control home audio systems and multiple speaker configurations. 32-bit apps will no longer be supported in iOS 11, so if you still have some classic Xamarin.iOS apps, it’s time to upgrade to the Unified API.

macOS, watchOS, and tvOS

During the WWDC keynote, Apple prominently displayed new hardware for developing VR apps on the Mac, and macOS High Sierra also prominently features new and improved APIs for developing virtual reality experiences. Metal 2 was released, which allows developers near-direct access to the GPU, including support for VR rendering and external GPUs. Developers can utilize technology such as Unity and Visual Studio to Mac to create immersive VR applications. Apple also added support for the Apple File System to macOS, along with some new APIs for AirPlay 2 and Core ML. macOS will be dropping support for 32-bit architectures just like iOS in 2018.

watchOS 4 adds new APIs for background audio recording, water locking, full screen mode, and updates to Core Bluetooth. tvOS 4 was also introduced and adds new APIs for Core Bluetooth, right-to-left language support, Core ML, Metal 2, and AirPlay 2.

These new features in iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS will be exciting additions to the Apple ecosystem that expand the capabilities we have as developers to build amazing apps. Be sure to keep an eye out on the Xamarin blog for announcements regarding previews for iOS 11 support!


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