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New iOS SDK features for developers

Some of the iOS SDK features that were quickly touched on by Craig Federighi today sound fascinating, although we won't get details on some of them until later. Here are some that I found to be the most interesting:

  • New multitasking APIs -- this should enable apps that you use most often to update themselves in the background.
  • Secure Game Center scores -- as Erica Sadun pointed out, people know how to hack the leaderboards right now; this may eliminate that.
  • MFi game controllers -- this is HUGE for gaming. MFi, of course, means "Made for iPhone / iPad / iPod," and this API should make game controllers that work with our devices become more prevalent.
  • Dynamic type size -- Devs can build in user-directed font scaling so us old folks can read our Helvetica Neue Ultra Light in BIG letters.
  • 60 fps video capture -- want to include slow-mo video in your app? Capture at 60 frames per second.
  • Barcode scanning -- finally, an API for reading barcodes and perhaps those pesky QR codes?
  • Sprite kit -- sprites are a collection of related images grouped into a single image, i.e., frames for an animation or a group of icons. This sounds like it could be something useful for writing side-scrollers or perhaps any game, reducing the number of CPU cycles required to move something across the display.
  • UI dynamics -- the ability to get some of the beautiful transparency and 3D feel we saw in the demos.
  • Peer-to-peer connectivity -- build local WiFi or Bluetooth connections with other iOS devices and Macs(?) into apps easily.
  • Background asset downloads -- automatic updates of app assets that normally take a bit of time upon connection to grab new data.
  • Directions API -- giving developers the capability of building step-by-step directions into their apps.
  • AirDrop from Activity sheet -- so cool, allowing things like photos or videos or artwork you've just created to be sent to another person via AirDrop.
  • Geodesic Polylines -- as Erica points out, this is a "Google Maps" kinda thing you can do right now to show distance lines from a particular point. This could be very helpful in Maps-related apps to show distances from a point.

Any other ideas on what these SDK updates may offer? Let's hear your comments below!

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