Posted: 11 Sep 2017
September 12th sees the unveiling of the new iPhone. Currently, there is a lot of speculation as to what new features the specification will include, and rumours are flying around on what the new handset will look like. The latest release is also set to see the upgraded version of iOS. iPhone’s software, iOS, is currently in its tenth generation and, over the course of its evolution, has become one of the front runners for mobile software, second only to Android.
The powerful operating system of iOS runs exclusively on Apple hardware, and currently has over 2.2 million applications that written for it. Used on the iPod touch, the iPad, the Apple Watch and the Apple TV, iOS has sold over 1.75 billion units since its conception in 2007. In addition to this, the operating system has also generated over $1 trillion in revenues over the past ten years. With the applications written for iOS collectively downloaded over 130 billion times, it is a crucial piece of software for potential application developers to get to grips with.
Developing and creating iOS applications wasn’t something that was originally going to be enabled. With the release of the first iPhone back in 2007, Steve Jobs, Apple’s then-CEO, had no intention of allowing third party developers to create content for the device. Instead, he proposed that would-be developers create web applications for users, rather than build native apps for the system. Naturally, this caused a backlash amongst the community of developers, forcing Apple to reconsider.
A year after the announcement of the first iPhone, the Software Development Kit for iOS was released as a free download for Mac users. Today, the iOS SDK allows developers to build applications for use on any Apple device running the operating system, although it is still unavailable for use on a computer running Microsoft Windows.
One of the most common pieces of software that is used in collaboration with the iOS SDK is Xcode, an integrated development environment that includes a host of different tools to aid developing apps. When using the two together, they allow the creation of applications using scripting languages, however, Apple’s own coding language, Swift, is recommended.
Although Swift has been developed by Apple, its open source nature means that it is now available on a variety of different systems, such as Linux. Ted Kremenek, Senior Manager, Languages and Runtimes at Apple says: “A big part of doing that [making Swift open-sourced] was not just to shove out a bunch of sources to GitHub, but to create a fully open community that drives the evolution of swift going forward. Swift 3 is the first major update to Swift that is intended to a product of that community.”
The clear syntax of Swift is one of the benefits of using the coding language to create applications. The language requires less script in order to run simple tasks, which means that it is easier for developers to learn to code with. Those with prior experience in other coding languages, such as Java and #C, will find that the interface of Swift is easy to navigate around, but will also recognise that it is similar to Python.
So how do you go about building native apps for iOS? For those who already have experience coding and, for example, are looking for a range of Java jobs in Ireland, then getting stuck into building apps using Xcode and iOS SDK will be met with ease. With guides on the Apple website about how to familiarise yourself with the tool, you can learn how to undertake a variety of tasks, including creating a simple user interface to defining a data model, before discovering how to design app interfaces.
Have you ever developed an app in iOS before? If so, we would love to hear more on our social channels, so reach out and tell us how you found the development process.